April 8th, 2008
09:39 AM ET
4 years ago

Clinton says Penn controversy won’t be damaging

CNN

Watch Clinton speak on CNN's American Morning.

(CNN) - Hillary Clinton predicted on Tuesday the recent controversy surrounding her top advisor's meeting with the Colombian government wouldn't prove damaging to her campaign, and suggested she dealt with the matter more definitively than Barack Obama did when he faced a similar situation.

"I don't think [it will hurt], because I think people want to know where I stand," Clinton said on CNN's American Morning, reiterating her opposition to a free trade agreement with the Colombians.

"I find it kind of curious, we took action, and I think it was appropriate," she continued. "Contrast that to Senator Obama's campaign where, as far as I know, nothing was ever done when one of his top economic advisers representing the campaign, unlike Mr. Penn who was not representing the campaign, but Mr. Obama's representative told the Canadian government basically not to pay any attention to what Senator Obama was saying about NAFTA."

The comments are in reference to her campaign's former chief strategist, Mark Penn, who resigned that post over the weekend after news surfaced he had met with the Colombian ambassador in his role as CEO of a P.R. firm to promote a free trade bill Clinton sharply criticizes.

The controversy was reminiscent of that which surrounded Obama shortly before the Ohio primary, when an economic advisor reportedly told a Canadian official Barack Obama wasn't as opposed to NAFTA as he was claiming to be. Clinton sharply criticized the Illinois senator at the time, suggesting he was being disingenuous about his opposition to free trade, and went on to win Ohio by double-digits.

Also in the CNN interview, Clinton made clear she thinks the party's nominee cannot be decided until the votes in Florida and Michigan are factored in.

"We have two major states who are in limbo despite the fact they voted and their votes were certified by their respective secretaries of state, and I was willing to do a re-vote in both states and Senator Obama was not," Clinton said. "I think that if we don't resolve those, then we'll be going forward to the convention."

soundoff (373 Responses)
  1. ghost boy

    Penn tells Hillary to tell people that Penn controversy won't be damaging. nice.

    April 8, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  2. William in California

    Her defense of "What about Obama's rep?" is meaningless. It's a fraudulent logic-less defense which, in debating circles, is referred to as "tu quoque" – you also. It's use indicates that the arguer can't win based on facts or logic and so resorts to mudslinging. Obama, you will notice, never defends his or his reps actions in this manner. That is not to say he never points out Sen Clinton's flaws, but never to say, "Think what I did is bad? Well, what about her?"

    April 8, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. Masiegirl

    She is such scum! All she can do it throw trash at Obama. Can she never take responsibility for her own bad judgements. Obama could be making a big deal of this and saying she is using bad judgement "again", but he is not. Go home Hillary!!!

    April 8, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  4. Gullible in NY

    Hillary is FINISHED. She is unelectable. She has No Experience, No Organization, No Credibility.

    April 8, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. kris, wv

    He may not be the campaign manager, but he is still there, from what I can see all he lost was his title. Again fudging the truth.

    April 8, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  6. JENA from Woodbridge

    Hilary Clinton is a BIG LIAR. Why people have to trust someone likle her tolead the Country? She just want to go back to that white house for another 4 years to make it 12 years. NO WAY. This time, we need CHANGE, not the same old game in Washington.

    Go Obama 08

    April 8, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. voice that matters

    Did she think she can really win Michigan and Florida?

    Why did she challenged the DNC rule before these states even cast their votse?

    Now she makes it look like she is the godmother to thses state fighting for them, but deep in her mind, she needs those votes to get close the nomination.

    Now without these states vote she won't like the nomination process to end, when for a fact she double speak about voters right to choose a candidate.

    Wait I want to make my point, If the pledgedelegates that were elected by voters could be up for grab, why border to fight for mich and flo to revote. Their votes do not matter anyhow. according to Hillary pledge delegate are up for grab, why campaigning spending money on add.

    Hillary should have tell the DNC to form a process where all Pledge delegates and supperdelegate will vote for candidate of their choice.

    It will be more easier then spending lots of money to campaign and later call the result of voters decision none and void. Please make sense Hillary!

    April 8, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. ldk

    "Shame on you" Clinton!

    April 8, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Hillary would Support the Columbian Trade Deal "if". Says the
    bottom of Cnn's TV screen.
    Hillary and Bill tricked Ohio hours before the Primaries with the Canada, Nafta, Obama lie. Bill was in Canada at that time!!!! Something fishy about that. Obama won 14 states then lost Ohio!!!
    Hillary and Bill donated $10 M to their OWN FOUNDATION!!!!! Nothing
    to the poor and unfortunate. And they care about you!!!! They think
    Voters are really stupid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 8, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  10. voice that matters

    Did she think she can really win Michigan and Florida?

    Why didn't she challenged the DNC rule before these states even cast their votse?

    Now she makes it look like she is the godmother to thses state fighting for them, but deep in her mind, she needs those votes to get close the nomination.

    Now without these states vote she won't like the nomination process to end, when for a fact she double speak about voters right to choose a candidate.

    Wait I want to make my point, If the pledgedelegates that were elected by voters could be up for grab, why border to fight for mich and flo to revote. Their votes do not matter anyhow. according to Hillary pledge delegate are up for grab, why campaigning spending money on add.

    Hillary should have tell the DNC to form a process where all Pledge delegates and supperdelegate will vote for candidate of their choice.

    It will be more easier then spending lots of money to campaign and later call the result of voters decision none and void. Please make sense Hillary!

    April 8, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  11. California Voter

    Hillary did not make any changes in her campaign until she was no longer the front runner. McCain didn't make any changes in his campaign until he was running out of money. Folks the sign of a strong leader is to make changes when things are not going in the direction you want. We currently have a President that is unwilling to change the course no matter what.

    Obama has belonged to a racist church with a bigoted pastor for 20 years. His judgment with regard to this church is critical to how he views this country. His wife's statements are a reflection of what the church's pastors preach. He has not supported either Michigan or Florida's voters because this is the way he won his previous campaigns - through legal manipultaion and exposing messy divorce records of his opponents. A typical politician.

    April 8, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    TO: kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama – Maybe you should look a little, just a little, into what the Clinton foundation actually does, and don't be so small minded.

    April 8, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. Shel, SLC UT

    Why hasn't the turth about the Canada-NAFTA issue come out in the MSM??

    Canada did an investigation into this and it came out the the Clinton campaign is the one that said it was just "posturing".

    Goolsbee said Obama would work to change NAFTA, reaffirming his stance on the issue.

    What ever happened to that???

    April 8, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  14. Samuel

    Hilary come on!!. If I cant trust any word that comes out of your mouth now, how do you expect me to trust you as my commander in chief. First it was the snipper issue, then health gaffe, now this?. Penn, please wake up!

    April 8, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. Jason - KY

    Letha, Sioux Falls, SD.

    It's amazing that you could actually fix yourself to type the word idiots in your post and not realize that you made yourself sound like you have been living in a cave without any news from the outside world for the last two weeks. Just amazing!

    April 8, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  16. Union worker in Indiana

    Ok – fact:
    Obama's name wasn't even on the Michigan ballot. Hello?? How can that be a fair election??

    Come on!!

    April 8, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  17. Jamie

    How funny it is to read some of the posts from Hillary supporters.
    Folks, I totally respect your right to support whomever you choose. That is what democracy is about, right?
    Still, it is a little weird to read their posts. How do you guys justify all of these little fibs and flubs she's been caught up in lately? I know that publicly, the Clintons and their supporters have to put the best light on these scandals, as they possibly can. But, seriously, when you folks look at yoursleves in the mirror, you must know that your girl is in big trouble. SHe keeps getting caught in these lies and half-truths. How do you continue to support that???
    It reminds me of the 28% of this country who still supports Bush.

    April 8, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  18. Sarah

    I think it's sort of funny that the guy on Obama's campaign never actually made the comments that were reported...but because so many other things were going on with the campaign, the fact that it wasn't true never made the headlines. Also funny is the fact that she was perfectly fine with not counting Michigan and Florida until she realized she couldn't possibly win without them. So much double talk!

    April 8, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  19. seajon

    Wow! A year ago I would have been thrilled with the prospect of having a woman President of the United States! And while I would still like the idea of a woman president in general, I no longer think that Hillary Clinton is the one. I sense a "win at any cost" attitude that results in her not always being as forthcoming and honest as I would like my president to be and I am now convinced that she would have a severely polarizing effect on this country splitting Democrats and Republicans even further apart than they are now. Obama may not be the super hero some like to say he is but I think he is our best hope to break away from petty divisive Washington we have seen recently and God knows we can not afford McSame!!!

    April 8, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  20. Ron

    It shouldn't be too damaging...my biggest question is...HOW COULD HE THINK HE COULD DO THIS AND NOT HAVE EVERYONE FIND OUT??? I just wonder if he didn't care it would hurt her chances to win. He has been around a while, he knows the game. It just seems a little odd.....

    April 8, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. dodes

    Dear SN in MN,

    You said, "Based on the posts in most blogs I read, the typical Obama blogger must be about twelve." Last I checked, I was 46 and had a PhD from an Ivy League school in economics. I support Obama.

    April 8, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  22. Jack Mpls

    I am not voting for Obama – Here is why.. he has no plans – he is a golden boy and his problems and baggage will soon come out during the general election. He only makes crucial decisions after people tell him what he needs to do – he can't do it on his own. I will vote for McCain and let him take us to war forever before I cast a vote for Obama.

    April 8, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. Sean

    The people who the candidates choose to run their campaigns speaks volumes to what kind of people they'll likely choose to run the country with them. Hillary Clinton has chosen extremely poorly, has had to revamp her campaign staff multiple times, has struggled to find a cohesive campaign theme, her staff has allowed Hillary to blatantly lie about her experiences in Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Kosovo, etc, they've worked privately to push policies Clinton says she's against, they've tried to tear down their opponents, they've given consistant double-speak to the voters about whether or not our votes matter, and they've financially managed the Clinton campaign in a horribly disfunctional way.

    Hillary and some of her supporters may not think this stuff matters, but this is not the type of President I want.

    April 8, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
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