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. Pamela

    I would not apologize for Rice comment, because it's true. She is a MONSTER, and a REPULSIVE figure.

    March 7, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  2. Florida for Obama

    Obama you are such a gentleman! the voters can see through the chivalry – hillary will do anything to win. I think the American people realize that now – as if we ever had any doubt before.
    Why isnt CNN covering more of the Clinton connection to NAFTA-gate? The international media is saying that it was the CLINTON campaign who said that her stance on NAFTA was all rhetoric and politics – and then she flipped the script and inserted Obama's name instead of hers. America has too many serious problems to deal with Clinton and her high school bully antics.

    March 7, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  3. joy

    a pity. barack is a sore loser and needs to get a life. HILLARY 08 all the way.
    Yes we need a moster, a bit*ch, a fighter, a doer in the white house and not a punk like obama.
    Atleast a monster will go out and eat the bad guys alive if they try to attack us and not whine like my spinless obama.
    HILLARY 2008

    March 7, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  4. Peter

    Okay, as a Clinton support, I would just say, back to the issues everyone – Afghanistan, Iraq, the Middle East peace process, the economy, immigration, education, health care, infrastructure and those other things that matter more than who called the other candidate what.

    Peter S.
    Georgia

    March 7, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  5. gail

    Samantha Powers was right in calling Killery Clinton a monster. Look into her eyes and what do you see, a cold calculating person almost soulless. She is a blank page when you take a good look at her. Freeze a frame or two of her shots and look carefully. There is nothing there but coldness and I thought that Bill Clinton was the monster.

    March 7, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  6. Lionel

    It's going to get worse for Obama as this campaign goes foward; everyone knows every thing about the Clintons. No one knows nothing about Obama. Except the Republicans will make mince meat of him, if he is the nominee.

    March 7, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  7. Ron

    With all do respect to Senator Obama.But there are some real foul mouth people running his campaign and he needs to clean house

    March 7, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  8. IT AINT NO LIE

    Well she ain't lying! Everytime I see that woman, I wanna dig something in her eye. I will also add that she is a conniving, deceitful, manipulative, tactical, and opportunistic devil! And I DO NOT denounce and reject that statement either!!!

    March 7, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  9. Tom Wittmann

    Obviously, the monster qualification is out of place. Really, it is surprising and outrageous the lack of intelligence of a Harvard professor making such statements !!!

    BUT IT IS EQUALLY SURPRISING AND OUTRAGEOUS THE WILLINGNESS OF THE MEDIA TO CALL HILLARY A "COME BACK" KID, WHEN THERE IS NO COME BACK AT ALL, BUT A CERTAIN
    DEGREE OF DECELARATION OF PROGRESS, OBTAINED BY A DECEPTIVE ADVERTISING, WHICH NOW SHE IS TRYING TO SUPPLEMENT BY ANY TRICK IN THE BOOK, AS THE ABSURD REQUEST OF REVERSE THE RULES IN FLORIDA AND MICHIGAN, TRY TO REVERSE THE VOTERS WILL BY PRESSURING THE SUPERDELEGATES AND BY THROWING VEILED ACCUSATIONS
    OF MALFEASANCE, WHILST REFUSING TO DISCLOSE HER TAX
    RETURNS 2000-2006, USING AS EXCUSE THE TAX FILING TERM, WHICH HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS, AS IT REFERS ONLY TO 2007!

    TOM

    March 7, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  10. Stacy Clarks, Texas

    As an Obama supporter, these comments are very unprofessional and has NO place in politics....I am glad Obama distanced himself from these comments!!!!

    none-the-less:

    STOP THE HATE, VOTE OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!!

    March 7, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  11. Brian

    Hillary's a liar. She lied about NAFTA in Ohio, she lies about Obama's record... THIS WILL ALL COME OUT.

    Hillary is a dirty liar, a political spinmeister and a power hungry tyrant... I don't know how those things DON'T make her a monster.

    Don't fall for her tricks anymore America! Vote for REAL HOPE, vote for REAL CHANGE, vote for BARACK OBAMA for President of the United States of America!

    OBAMA '08!!!

    March 7, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  12. LLL

    What happen to NAFTA investigation. Why haven't it been included with the news stories. And you all was concerned about giving Obama more press time. Oh i'm sorry after all you do pick the president.

    March 7, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  13. Karen, NJ

    She is a monster.

    March 7, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  14. Michael-NYC

    I think this shows how the Obama campaign really is..

    March 7, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  15. LATINA FOR HILLARY,CALIF THE STATE WHO GOT IT RIGHT!!!

    IS THIS NOT THE SAME PERSON WHO SAID WE SHOULD NOT FIGHT,HE IS GETTING PRETTY SHADY.
    WE NEED CHANGE AND EXPERIENCE
    WE WILL TAKE THE DOLLAR, AND THAT'S FOR HILLARY

    GO HILLARY '08
    AND OBAMA FOR VP

    March 7, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  16. Obama's Delegate Problem

    Most watched this week as Hillary Clinton shut down Obama. This has left the Obama campaign in over drive trying to regain its momentum. One minute the Obama is attacking Hillary, the next an apology is issued. This is clear signs of unstable campaign.

    In the comining weeks, we should start the hear Obama speaking to fundamental questions such as what specifically does he mean by "Change" and whats his past record of bringing Democrats and Republicans together.

    Obama has not stood out as a leader and proven to be led by the clinton campaign. For example, he agrees with Hillary, and he has conformed to going negative. Is this original, or is he watching and learning?

    March 7, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  17. Brian

    So let me get this straight.... She apologized for speaking the truth???

    Hillary Clinton, whether you believe is a monster or not, will lose this nomination. And that makes me happy enough.

    March 7, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  18. HD

    The Clintons are stooping to low lows in order to steal this election. There is no debate there. They are willing to rip apart the democratic party and divide us so far that we may not win in November because of the division. If voters felt like they could trust the Clintons and feel that she could get stuff done with her divisive ways, then she would have won states like Virginia, Maryland, Missouri, South Carolina, etc. Most voters do not trust her and do not feel that her way of politics is how we should accomplish our goals in Washington.

    In regard to the trust issue, let's see the 2006 tax returns before April rolls around. They were completed over a year ago. What are they hiding? Donations and support from "terrorist states" that are rich in oil?

    March 7, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  19. Allen

    The truth shall set you free...... Call um like you see um.... Good eye I'd say....

    March 7, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  20. Debby

    CNN this is so trashy who is writing these tickers Cafferty and Borger.????? You are not doing both of these candidates any favors by printing all this negativity. They are both good people who want to help the American people. The media painting them in a bad light is going to sway voters to McCain.

    March 7, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  21. Jim, American in Paris

    55 million dollars raised and he loses. He should apologize to his supporters also.

    You're a professor of government? Hard to believe in stuff like that lady!

    March 7, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  22. A.D.

    Ok, Barack fans. Can you at least see that your candidate is not innocent ? Like Hillary, he is a politician. Politicians do what they can to win, including launching campaigns that aim to sway voters. Hillary campaigns. Barack campaigns. Neither is a saint. Neither is pure. They cannot be - one must work to persuade to live a political life. All candidates are compromised. But ask yourself this: why should one's attempts at persuaion be considered more monstrous than another's? How is Barack's campaigning any purer than anyone else's?
    This, by the way, is not meant to disparage Obama. He's a fine candidate and if he wins, I'll support him. But the screeds launched against Senator Clinton–including these lovely observations from a Harvard Professor–are out of control. Can you see the sexism at work here? This sad Harvard-person commentary reveals submerged attitudes about women: Powerful women are monstrous. Women who seek power are dangerous. Hillary Clinton should–what? Step back and let Barack Obama take control of the campaign? Why? Why shouldn't she use whatever means she has to fight back? If she did any less than fight back, she would be called weak and not tough enough to run the control.
    All of us (and the men who care about women) should be very concerned about the ways that Senator Clinton's is publicly ridiculed. This ridicule does not say much about our attitudes towards women who believe in themselves, who feel that they are as qualified as any man to run the country. Such aspirations should be supported, not denigrated or feared.

    March 7, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  23. Erika from Atlanta

    Apologize!!! GIVE ME A BREAK. It is ok for the Clinton campaign to suggest that Obama is pretending to be a christian when actually he is may be a radical muslim!! That is ok, never heard an apology for that. They say Obama is like Ken Starr and I bet if you asked the Clintons how they felt about Starr, MONSTER might be a word that comes to mind. Seems like a fair comparison to me.

    March 7, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  24. Lydia

    Clinton IS a monster with scaremonger political tactics.

    March 7, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  25. jrzshor

    contrary to the inspiring hype of "change", obama is the same.

    March 7, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
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