March 7th, 2008
11:40 AM ET
6 years ago

Obama adviser apologizes for 'monster' comment

 An advisor to Obama was quoted calling Clinton a monster.
An advisor to Obama was quoted calling Clinton a monster.

(CNN) - One of Barack Obama's top foreign policy advisers apologized late Thursday after a Scottish newspaper quoted her as calling Hillary Clinton a "monster."

"It is wrong for anyone to pursue this campaign in such negative and personal terms," Samantha Power, a professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of government and an adviser to Obama said in a statement. "I apologize to Senator Clinton and to Senator Obama, who has made very clear that these kinds of expressions should have no place in American politics."

Power's apology came shortly after the The Scotsman newspaper published an article in which she makes the characterization (a comment she immediately tried to retract), and suggested the New York senator is trying to deceive voters.

"She is a monster, too – that is off the record – she is stooping to anything," Power was quoted as saying.

"You just look at her and think, 'Ergh,' " Power also said. "But if you are poor and she is telling you some story about how Obama is going to take your job away, maybe it will be more effective. The amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive."

Power also said the Obama campaign "f***** up in Ohio." Clinton beat Obama by 10 percentage points in Ohio on Tuesday.

"In Ohio, they are obsessed and Hillary is going to town on it, because she knows Ohio's the only place they can win," Powers said.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton distanced the campaign from the remarks, saying in a statement that the Illinois senator "decries such characterizations which have no place in this campaign."

The interview came the same day a top Clinton adviser compared Obama's recent actions to independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr, who prosecuted the Clintons while Bill Clinton was in the White House in the 1990s.

"After a campaign in which many of the questions that voters had in the closing days centered on concerns that they had over his state of preparedness to be commander in chief and steward of the economy, he has chosen instead of addressing those issues to attack Senator Clinton," Clinton's communications director Howard Wolfson said on a conference call with reporters Thursday morning. "I for one do not believe that imitating Ken Starr is the way to win a Democratic primary election for president."

Obama's campaign quickly denounced that comment.

UPDATE: On a Friday morning conference call with reporters, the Clinton campaign called on Obama to end Power's role with the campaign. "Personal attacks are not the way to convince voters that you're capable of being president of the United States,” said New York Rep. Nita Lowey, a Clinton supporter. “We're calling on Senator Obama to make it very clear that Samantha Power should not be part of this campaign.”

– CNN's Alexander Mooney and Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (326 Responses)
  1. Scott C

    I personally don't see anything wrong with his staffer saying what she said. She said those things with the expectation of it being off the record, even if it was foolish to think that was the case.

    If an obama tells someone in an informal off the record conversation her true feelings, you can't begrudge her that... it just shouldn't have been said if they were going to be published.

    You think Clinton never bad mouths Obama in private.

    The remarks are also very very accurate.

    printing this information is going to hurt the newspaper for future interviews.

    In short, shouldn't have been said ON THE RECORD, but if she thought she was off the record and said something conversationally to someone with the expectation of it being private, then you can't give her too hard a time for the comments alone. Obama CAN give her a hard time though for being stupid enough to let this happen

    March 7, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
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