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. 27

    And so it turns out that Obama and his staff are just like those he preaches against.......and by the way, if Obama and his camp are sensitive to being attacked on his camander in chief credientials, then perhaps he is in the wrong business. Hillary brings up an excellent question that voters need to consider – and that is, "who is best qualified to be commander in chief". Senator Clinton gets attacked for being "cold and calculated, for crying, for the way she dresses, and for her looks.....the one thing they can not attack is her record at a politician!

    March 7, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. Jim in CT

    Good to see another example of the type of people Senator Obama surrounds himself with! With advisers like these, it's become very clear that there are serious questions regarding his JUDGEMENT.

    March 7, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  3. tj

    that's what I hate about Obama's supporters – they are haters and not Clinton but they are monsters.
    I admire Clinton courage to stand all this hate from those people and from media who 100% support Obama and is happy to write all negattive on Hillary.
    Why you deny her right to continue the fight.
    Believe me there are many supporters of her among Democrats.
    And all those hateful actions from Obamanians and media dause opposite response from real thoughtful people.
    Me personally and all my friends democrats will not vote for Obama if he is nominated but rather for McCain because of this unfair campany

    March 7, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. Greg - New Jersey

    Everyone in Obama's camp needs to take a deep breath and cool out for a while. Knee-jerk reactions like Power's can only serve to pull the Obama campaign into an all out mudslinging fest with Clinton's people. That's not the kind of campaign we want. However, I do think Obama must vigorously defend his position with the courage, conviction and fortitude of a worthy candidate for POTUS and Commander in Chief. Clinton has no legitimate reason to complain if someone requests clarification on her record and all the years of experience she's claiming.

    March 7, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  5. Voter in Georgia

    CNN you have never posted my comments in the past. I hope you are not biased as some say.
    What about Hillary's part in the NAFTA fiasco and Bill Clintons dealings for his foundations? You report on everything else that is going on in the election.

    I will not vote for Hillary Clinton because of her unethical actions. How can she request that FL and MI voters to be seated when they broke the rules, make me feel like my vote does not count because my state played by the rules. I have talked to a lot of people who will not vote democratic. With her actions she has lost the African – American vote. They will not put up with her actions and she cannot win a General Election without them.

    If she steals this election I and many other people will leave the party and vote independent or something else.

    Howard Dean and the DNC had better be forewarned.

    March 7, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  6. kelly

    Clearly an Obamatard tactic to go negative without any substance to her claims. Much like her boss' plan for "change." Empty rhetoric. All this woman has to do is apologize for name calling, but what she should do is retract all of comments if she cannot offer any proof. Obama does not come out smelling sweet from this either.

    March 7, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  7. FL4Obama

    Well, although what the advisor said may have been "politically incorrect" everything she said was true. But what is up with the foreign press getting involved? First the Canadians with their inaccurate information, and now the Scottish? And don't they know what "off the record" means in Scotland? Geesh!

    March 7, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  8. Ron

    WHY is this BIG news if the person IMMEDIATELY apologized and said it was inexcusible. CNN you really need to get a grip and report on the important stories. Like why won't Hillary release her tax statements. This IS important because not everyone can "LOAN" their campaign 4 million dollars. Also if she is so "vetted", why hesitate the first time someone challenges your openess about something as simple as a tax return. You MEDIA guys sometimes just don't get it. The only reason a Presidential candidate would not want to release this information immediately is there is something they don't want the voters to see.

    March 7, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. Ladyleo Atlanta

    It may not have been the appropriate time to say this but it was the appropriate thing to say. Look at all the Clinton Scandals at prorev.com/wwindex.htm, and the Paul Peter case.

    March 7, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  10. Terry

    Well it certainly is true that the Clinton campaign will stoop to any lengths for this nomination...including smear campaigns directed at Obama.

    March 7, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  11. Craig H, Mpls, MN

    I was not involved in politics during the Bill Clinton's presidency. I believe that it is none of my buisness what consenting adults do behind closed doors. I hated when Rush Limbaugh made fun of Chelsea Clinton's looks during her akward early teen years. I never looked at the details closer than that to understand where this hate for the Clintons came from. Now, after following the recent primary process closely, I think that I understand why people hate the Clintons and why people call them cold, calculating, liars.
    I hate Rovian smear politics. I can no longer listen to President Bush because I don't believe a word out of his mouth. I cannot change the channel or station quick enough when I hear GWB's voice on TV or radio. It is now getting to the point that I can no longer stand to hear Hillary's voice either. I wish that Hillary would stop the Rovian smear politics.

    March 7, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  12. Cindy

    More proof of how the people Obama surrounds himself with are just talking the talk but not walking the walk when it comes to changing "politics as usual." Since that seems to be his one big attraction to a lot of people, this doesn't bode well for him. She knew as she was saying it that it was wrong since she tried to retract it at the time and say that it was "off the record." And then proceeded to do some more mudslinging. Niiiiiiiiice.

    March 7, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  13. Gleb

    It is amazing how those new agents of changes resemble vicious uncompromising ideologs of old. Obama has no cloth. Fourtunately, he will never be a king. His non-existence experience in managing economy, working across party lines, his views that linked closely to anti-Semitic position of his church and his pastor who he quotes repeatedly in his book, and his disdain for the working people of this country made him un-electable. In the general election he is guarantee now to loose Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania. California will be a battleground state, and although people don't like to talk about it, he would loose New York. I see that here in New York people distrust him so much that they will hold their noses and vote for the Republican. It would be a first time fo me too, but self-serving elite should know, we won't have a false messiah for the president. It is apperent now that unless Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, we will have for 4 more years of a Republican in the White House (although John McCain is a honorable and progressive public servent, he won't have enough pull in either party to do many things that are urgently needed).

    March 7, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  14. Loose Change

    Ah, the politics of hope. It's a beautiful thing isn't it? What a fraud.

    March 7, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  15. Brian

    This is tabloid "gotcha" journalism at its finest.

    The woman asked to be off the record because she was not speaking on behalf of the Obama campaign. The Scotsman should be ashamed to put forth such low standards of journalism.

    March 7, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  16. JCL, Kentucky

    Obama needs to reel his people in. First he doesn't know what his economic advisor is saying in Canada and now this. If his people can't handle talking to the press of other countries without causing an incident, how well are they going to do when talking with the leaders of other countries?

    March 7, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  17. ABC=Anybody But Clinton

    Monster.....yep.....she got it right.......

    March 7, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  18. Kate

    So if Obama decries such statements by Samantha Power and states "such characterizations have no place in this campaign", is he going to remove her as his top foreign policy advisor?

    If he doesn't his words mean nothing.......We will probably see this glistened over like everything else that even hints about a questionable past, meetings, donations, etc.

    Rove tactics at their best. Hit like a ninja, do damage, then remove the comments, apologize profusely, but cherish in the fact the damage has been done.

    March 7, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  19. david

    Wow. Great people working for you Obama. First your top economic advisor tells them in Canada the truth about how you think, and now your top foreign avisor! Keep up the good work so America can continue to discover your true nature before it's too late.

    Hillary 08!!

    March 7, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  20. Alex

    She needs to resign.

    March 7, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  21. carol

    Oh how ridiculous. Never in my life have I ever heard so much negativity on Hillary Clinton. Mr. Obama and his campaign people can't handle the truth when she tells the truth. If anyone are monsters it's the press and media for putting all this stuff out for the public every single day. I'm sure both candidates are fine people, it's just the one we want to do the best job as President, is Hillary Clinton. She is so much better on all her policies and will get American back where it should be.
    It's about time she stuck up up for herself because the media is so ugly . They should be ashamed ,calling themselves Americans . Shame on You.

    March 7, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  22. chris

    Go Barack, hit back and hit where it hurts.

    The Clintons will do just about anything to win. Without punching hard, they're gonna have a free ride on this.

    Yes you can !!!

    March 7, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  23. Gleb

    It is amazing how those new agents of changes resemble vicious uncompromising ideologs of old. Obama has no cloth. Fourtunately, he will never be a king. His non-existence experience in managing economy, working across party lines, his views that linked closely to anti-Semitic position of his church and his pastor who he quotes repeatedly in his book, and his disdain for the working people of this country made him un-electable. In the general election he is guarantee now to loose Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania. California will be a battleground state, and although people don't like to talk about it, he would loose New York. I see that here in New York people distrust him so much that they will hold their noses and vote for the Republican. It would be a first time fo me too, but self-serving elite should know, we won't have a false messiah for the president. It is apperent now that unless Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, we will have for four more years of a Republican in the White House (although John McCain is a honorable and progressive public servent, he won't have enough pull in either party to do many things that are urgently needed).

    March 7, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  24. Kim

    Um Um Um some kind a change, just like all the other supporters nasty, hateful and divisive, the flock is certainly a mirror of the leader.

    Hillary 08!!

    March 7, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  25. David

    If it's OFF THE RECORD, why is it being reported?

    March 7, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14