December 13th, 2007
04:20 PM ET
15 years ago

Clinton advisor quits over drug comment

An advisor to Clinton resigned Thursday over his comments on Obama.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A top advisor to Hillary Clinton has resigned his position with her campaign after suggesting rival Barack Obama's admission of drug use could hinder his chances of winning a general election matchup.

Bill Shaheen, a co-chairman of Clinton's New Hampshire campaign, said in an issued statement, "I made a mistake and in light of what happened, I have made the personal decision that I will step down as the co-chair of the Hillary for President campaign."

"This election is too important and we must all get back to electing the best qualified candidate who has the record of making change happen in this country," he added. "That candidate is Hillary Clinton.”

Reacting to the news, Obama's chief campaign strategist David Axelrod told CNN's Jessica Yellin he thinks it was a "good decision."

"I think what he did was beyond the pale," Axelrod said. "He injected something into the campaign that didn't belong. We didn't ask for him to resign. I think it was a good idea. Hopefully it will send a signal you can't do these kinds of things."

"We believe the American people can sort out these issues and we weren't lying awake at nights worrying what Bill Shaheen said," Axelrod continued. "Maybe the Clinton campaign was."

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Earlier: Aide: Clinton apologizes to Obama

soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Len, Fallbrook, CA

    Why do I think this whole thing was planned well ahead of time?

    December 13, 2007 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  2. Jeff Sacramento, CA

    It appears the cream is starting to rise to the top. The previous comments were on the mark! If HRC can't surround herself with honorable people to campaign for her. If she can't reign in all of these "rogue" staffers that are making comments she constantly has to appologize for or disavow.
    How will she be better in the White House? How will she suddenly start to exercise better judgment? HRC in office means nothing accomplished for 4 years. Please for the good of our country vote for ANYONE BUT... Hillary or Rudi! Lets get some honesty and character back in office.

    December 13, 2007 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  3. Danny G. Boca Raton, FL

    I see every Obama supporter is out early on this story, the fact is that Sen. Clinton does have the skills to be president and for dems to start critizing one another is just fuel for the other party. you may not like Sen. clinton and I can respect that, but the names you all are using? you are making a mockery of the process. as for Sen. Obama he has plenty of problems to resolve himself and he does not seem to shine very well in many areas, so this is far from over folks.

    December 13, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. Donald Johnson, Irwin, IA

    This is crazy. A candidates cannot be held accountable for their supporters comments. People on here are just dumb. When it was leaked that one of Obama's supporters had derailed the Colbert candidacy in South Carolina, all the Obama supporters came out on here saying that their candidate cannot be held responsible for their supporters' actions. You can't have it both ways! I am an undecided voter leaning towards Biden, but would support Clinton in the general if it came to that. Some people are just Hillary-haters who find something wrong in everything she does but finds nothing wrong in their candidates. Hypocrits.

    December 13, 2007 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  5. Charles

    Personally, I don't find anything wrong with Mr. Shaheen's comments. It's a sad legacy of the 60's generation that drug abuse isn't the political liability that it once was. I, for one, wish that the potheads stayed out of the Oval Office.

    December 13, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  6. Ken, Alexandria, VA

    This is not about the drugs or the question. This is about leadership. Obviously, Hillary lacks the leadership to know or admit to know the information that flows in and out her campaign. How could i trust her as president? Just a question from another independent.

    December 13, 2007 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  7. john williams san diego, ca.

    if the slime attack led by the 'forehead' begala keeps up, her majesty will run out of campaign staff by the end of the year.

    December 13, 2007 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  8. Julie, Atlanta, GA

    Typical Clinton sleeze...If anyone believes this guy resigned on his own accord, well, I just can't believe anyone can actually be that naive.

    Go John Go John Go John – John Edwards is THE most perfect candidate and he is THE ONLY candidate who can and will win. WAKE UP, AMERICA!!!

    December 13, 2007 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  9. NO DEMS'LA.


    December 13, 2007 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  10. Nathan, Melbourne, Victoria

    You can argue about the pros and cons of Hillary Clinton, her experience and her candidacy, but one thing that you can't argue about is that Obama's admitted use of cocaine shows a large character and moral flaw. Audacity of Hope, try the Audacity with Coke.

    December 13, 2007 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  11. jf, ames iowa

    Why is this a negative attack? Obama has admitted to snorting cocaine. Shaheen merely stated the truth. Do you really think the republicans won't make use of his drug history?? Oh wait–all the republicans on this blog–want obama to be the nominee.

    December 13, 2007 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  12. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    I'm kinda hooked on reading this "Political Tickler," but as each day passes, I am discouraged by some of the feedback that doesn't focus on the issues that are important to our country. Too many personal attacks and less focus on what we are concerned about.

    First of all, I should state that I am an Obama supporter. While I've never been for Senator Clinton, I find myself feeling somewhat sorry for her. I know that she entered this race with some high ideals and certainly the goal of winning.

    To date, I've not truly discovered her thoughts about what she will bring to this country as leader of the free world. Her comments sometimes differ from day to day. Her campaign has become very negative. . .not a positive sign to prospective voters, nor to the world at large. It seems to me that she is running scared, and the messages from her campaign are sickening.

    I'll admit that Obama doesn't have all the answers, but I have been led to believe he is an honorable man - an honest man, a smart man and one who could lead other countries throughout the globe to once again hold our country in esteem.

    It is time for a change, but not the one that Senator Clinton talks about. We need a complete turn-about.

    Obama 08!!!

    December 13, 2007 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  13. Gracey Knowle, Dallas, Texas

    Just like Nixon again. What did she know and when did she know it.

    December 14, 2007 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  14. Knoxville, TN

    Go Obama!

    December 14, 2007 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  15. Jon, San Francisco CA

    I am routinely amazed at how blatantly insincere Hillary Clinton is. Keep on chipping away, Mr. Obama. We're long overdue for a little integrity.

    December 14, 2007 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  16. Eyzwidopn, LA,CA

    Abhorrent, vindictive, desperate, shameful, devious, condemnable... and typical for the Clintonian machine. Where was all of this serpentine behavior when HRC was leading in the polls, preparing for her inevitable coronation? This isn't a "revelation," this issue has been known about for years and in the news a few weeks ago when Obama shared the story with high school students. Was there a noticeable, lasting fallout or backlash on his drug usage after he did so? No. What does that suggest? That the story had no legs in the media, despite Romney being the only Republican to condemn Obama's admission. So if it had no legs a few weeks ago, it wasn't for HRC's campaign to try and raise it again. If the Republicans were going to use it then it should have been the Republicans who raised it. Is it a coincidence that everytime there's an issue with HRC's campaign being responsible for airing Obama slurs that the scandal gets regurgitated "unintentionally" in the media, allowing HRC to enjoy the subliminal "hit" on Obama while she gets to claim ignorance, condemns the actions of the culprits and dismisses them? HRC hasn't been falsely painted with "high negatives," it's just a part of who she is after years of battling alongside Bill in the political trenches, rightly or wrongly. For all of you HRC supporters, if you can't see now that a vote for HRC means revisiting and reliving the lies, scandals, divisive, secretive, and retributive nature of the last nearly 16 years, then you have truly allowed feverish passion to trump reason. We've been there and done that with that type of degrading, demoralizing, non-productive politics. How in all that is right and proper can we think that continuing that path in January 2009 is going to be in the best interest of our country?

    December 14, 2007 03:45 am at 3:45 am |
  17. babyboomer middle class America

    "If you are an American who yearns to finally get beyond the symbolic battles of the boomer generation and face today's actual problems, Obama is your man. Who wants to spend the next 8 years refighting the same fights that have been going on for decades?"

    Posted By One America : December 13, 2007 4:32 pm


    Well sonny, if you don't think that "todays actual battles" pertain to "the battles that the boomer generation has been fighting for decades" then you're in for one very rude awakening (if you should be so lucky to live that long)!! Social Security, long-term health care are just the tip of the iceberg. Are you even aware that the awakening of the environmental movement BEGAN in the late 60's? (Gore was obviously paying attention in Ecology 101)

    AND if Senator Obama is running on the premise that he has a vision invoking Dr. Martin Luther King Jrs ringing "I Have A Dream" speech – delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial before a gathering of over 200,000 strong in August of 1963 - just exactly what "symbolic battles" are YOU referring to, pray tell?? Dr. King Jr's greatest DREAM was for a future where blacks and whites and people of ALL race and color could coexist HARMONIOUSLY AS EQUALS. The younger generation seems to be oblivious to what the "boomer generation" actually fought and stood up for...

    And if Bush would have actually FOUGHT in the VietNam war himself, we wouldn't be in Iraq today! And don't give the same trite argument that it's all because HILLARY voted for it – BECAUSE the American public was spoon-fed the same blatant lies as Congress AND hey it seems the majority of our country bought into it. (OMG some people STILL believe that Saddam was responsible for 9/11 and had WMD!!) When the vote on Iraq was taken 10/11/02 EVEN Senators Biden, Dodd, AND Edwards voted for it = SO why is Hillary the only one taking heat?? (Obama was not in Congress yet)

    NOW everyone is jumping down her throat for voting for sanctions on Iran WHICH OBAMA DIDN'T EVEN SHOW UP FOR = cuz what he was too busy stumping in Iowa or was already on paper against it but simply forgot about it or gee nobody told him?! Obama was ONLY one of two Senators who couldn't seem to make it back for the vote?! (Edwards isn't in the Senate now)

    AND GUESS WHAT, "the boomer generation doesn't want to spend ANOTHER 8 years refighting the same old battles either" - simply because the attention span of the AMERICAN VOTERS is shorter than a nanosecond!!

    December 14, 2007 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  18. Alice, TN

    Come on! Hillary was FULLY aware...this woman would be furious to be out of the has ALWAYS been the Clinton MO to attack the character of their opponents. Bill Shaheen was a scapegoat, a sacrificial lamb thrown to the wolves in an attempt to quell the criticism. Some other poster noted if it were Bush's campaign involved, he would be tarred and feathered. What is it with you Clinton apologists? Frankly, I think you suspect they're scumbags, but don't want to admit it.

    December 14, 2007 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  19. JB Boston MA

    Hey Rodney-

    You say at least Hillary will get the job done. Why? What makes you say that? She doesn't take a stand on any issues. She tries to stay in the middle. She has had to fire 3 workers in the past few days. Has any other campaign had to do that? NO!

    She is an immoral unethical politician who will continue her ways.

    Many voters don't want such a person in charge. I find it shocking that her fans would put up with such BS.

    I too am shocked that people would vote for her. She clearly has a hard time hiring good people. WHat makes you think she will do any better when she becomes president and has to hire many more people? Maybe Hsu is looking for a job when he gets out of prison!

    December 14, 2007 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  20. Don, Ft. Worth, Tx

    I find it interesting that the Clinton camp tried to make this a Republican remark. It was uncalled for and shows that she is very much a divider for blaming everyone especially Republicans if the sun rises in the west. Everything is a conspiracy and she is the only person with any grace, knowledge, etc. She has as much or more baggage in this race than any candidate of either party. To see the gushing by her supporters is just humorus. I am an independent taking note. Biden or Obama are the best choices from this group. The others just don't have it.

    December 14, 2007 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  21. Joe, Boston, MA

    It was wrong for this guy to say anything but in a way he has a point. Republicans will take full advantage of Obama's past drug use and will completely lie and distort in order to win.

    December 14, 2007 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  22. Anne America's breadbasket

    Hello JB from Boston –

    quote from above post:
    You say at least Hillary will get the job done. Why? What makes you say that? She doesn't take a stand on any issues. She tries to stay in the middle. She has had to fire 3 workers in the past few days. Has any other campaign had to do that? NO!

    She is an immoral unethical politician who will continue her ways.

    Many voters don't want such a person in charge. I find it shocking that her fans would put up with such BS.

    It probably would have been terribly enlightening for you to have watched the Bill Moyers PBS interview with Dr. Ron Walters last night (12/14) on how race is playing out in the campaign? Dr. Walters is the director of the African American Leadership Center at the University of Maryland. He had some very interesting concerns to say about Senator Obama's campaign strategy. He pointed out that many African Americans just don't feel the connection with Senator Obama nor that he is actually focusing on the major problems which concern them most ie poverty, the fact that 50% of the prison population is black, and the mortgage/foreclosure crisis – which is especially hitting the black community hard.

    In fact Dr. Walters pointed out that Hillary's campaign staff had a much broader base of diversity than Senator Obamas! And she was very focused and in tune with the ISSUES of the black people, which is why the African American Leadership Center decided to support Hillary. (As much as women love Oprah -she just doesn't live in most women's world. AND Dr. Walters actually went further, saying some pretty surprising personal observations!)

    Even the Mayor of Atlanta, Andrew Young has cautioned that Senator Obama does NOT have enough leadership experience yet. And is also supporting Hillary Clinton in her bid for the White House as well. (This is from a black man who was very involved with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and the Civil Right's movement in the South)

    Before you make such accusations about Hillary maybe it would be a good idea to try doing a little research first. You have a right to support the candidate of your choice, but PLEASE be more knowledgeable before stating your opinions about others. Andrew Card is a man of great influence in his community and obviously knows both Hillary (and Bill – sometimes as much of an albatross around her neck as a asset) very well. I take a great deal more credence for a candidate by the support given to Hillary by Dr. Walters and Mayor Card than I ever would from Oprah or Barbara.

    December 15, 2007 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  23. Beth & Jeff Chicago, IL - HILLARY IN 2008


    She's the only one who can actually clean up the mess left by the GOP - NOT dreamer boy!!

    Or vote Biden or Richardson b/c God save our country if the newbie gets elected = who isn't even wise enough to realize what he DOESN'T KNOW yet; let alone play pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey in the Oval Office! He clearly should have waited until 2012 or 2016. He's only 47, but he's such a baby that he's demanding to be King now πŸ™ Sadly the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Senator Obama is certainly NOT!!!! AND Oprah should stick with her own life and hawking her Book Club (which she can't even get right all the time either).


    December 19, 2007 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
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