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."

Full story 

Earlier: Aide: Clinton apologizes to Obama

soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Steve, Portland, OR

    No mud slinging on Hillary's part. Just use others in the campaign, then the blame goes to them. I expect Hillary thinks people will sympathize with her on this? Not a chance. This disorganized campaign organization needs to tell her to start talking straight to the American public. Americans are sick and tired of dishonest wiffle/waffle politicians who are out for themselves. That is why your numbers are dropping.

    December 13, 2007 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. Jennifer, Evergree, CO

    Gosh it's nice of Sheehan to resign but he should have been fired for his irresponsible and borderline slanderous remarks. At least he had the good sense to walk away. Maybe Mrs. Clinton will now have the good sense to refocus her campaign on the issues instead of these ridiculous personal attacks.

    December 13, 2007 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. Ron, TX

    How on earth can Clinton be "ready to lead on day one" when she has trouble keeping her own campaign together? They're all sending out rediculous emails about Obama being a muslim, claiming that his past with drugs is some big deal, planting questions all over the place...

    Every time, Clinton claims not to have known anything. To me, it sure doesn't sound like she's ready to lead...

    December 13, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. Justin Time

    Note to CNN: you are not helping your candidate by bringing up this story, even though the guy is talking good about her, he is a crony, who will say and do anything to get Clinton elected. Similar to the campaign in general, "say and do anything to get elected: Clinton 08"

    December 13, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  5. JK Ashburn, VA

    In 1994, when Mitt Romney was running for the Senate against Ted Kennedy, one of Kennedy's staff said something inappropriate related to Romney being Mormon. Kennedy made a big public deal about firing the guy and the aftermath itself created more awareness of Romney's religion than the original comment. Romney lost about 5-10 points in the polls almost immediately thereafter as a result of bigoted Massachusetts voters suddenly being aware of his religion.

    This is a standard tactic of campaigns that are not doing as well as they'd hoped. Certainly a technique the Clintons have practiced from time to time.

    December 13, 2007 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. Diamond, Bradenton, FL

    The "ready to lead" candidate hasn't even been elected yet and she's already had at least FOUR resignations.

    You can't do these kinds of things and get aay with it.

    Serves him right!

    Hopefully, it should be a sound warning to all.

    December 13, 2007 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  7. Brian, Tampa, Florida

    A serious loss for Hillary's campaign. Mr.Shaheen should have given more thought before issuing his statement. After all we have a President that used cocaine, loved to party,has a DUI,and lies to America. Anything is possible.

    December 13, 2007 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. RightyTighty

    You mean Hillary doesn't fire people for that kind of political mud slinging??

    December 13, 2007 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  9. Dan, NJ

    Is there any doubt he will be rewarded for his loyalty if Hil gets elected? Same old politics.

    December 13, 2007 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  10. dmw. roeland park,ks

    The Clinto Advisor should quite.

    But, this is politics. People are so naive, yet, claim to be pragmatic and realistic.

    I hear all of the news media, who is suppose to be subjective, rant on and on about how Horrible Hillary is. Yet, did not say a word when Obama and Edwards attacked Hillary.

    If Obama wants to play with the big boys (girl), then play. He seems to be using this to his advantage as well. I did notice that his campaign has put out a fund raiser over this very issue.

    Imagne that.

    December 13, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  11. ABH USA

    Great – glad you stepped down Bill. I certainly hope the voters see the bigger pattern from Hillary Clinton's campaign: attack, attack, attack, play victim.

    It's time to tell political stragists (Clinton, Rove, etc) that voters reject the campaign of smear and embrace candidates that share their vision and personal honesty (Obama).

    December 13, 2007 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  12. RealityKing

    Big whoop, Hillary has as many as she has nasty political attacks. This came from her campaign chairman. Hello in there...

    December 13, 2007 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Shaheen's comment that he was only pointing out what Republicans would, is like saying "the Devil made me do it". That came short of taking responsibility for himself. Who really believes Hillary doesn't approve what her advisors say on the record, I don't.

    December 13, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  14. Hank Morgan

    Hilary was disappointingly ineffectual with each of the assignments she received during her husband's terms in office. Her work on medical insurance, health care, and social security were all defeated. Katic Couric asked HRC how she expected to be successful when she was such a failure in the 80's. HRC did not give much of a response. The Clinton presidency was wrought with indiscretions, scandal, and secrecy. We do not want to repeat that horror. Bill Clinton rode on the wave Reagan left but managed to drown, and almost was impeached in the end.

    December 13, 2007 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  15. Corbett, Seattle WA

    It was a dirty trick and not what you would expect from a Clinton (did not inhale) supporter. However, as a Obama fan I have to admit that there is a strong argument that once you write about doing Cocaine you lose your right to be President of the U.S.

    I would say that Obama is the exception but I think I am in the minority.

    December 13, 2007 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  16. Dan, TX

    If this is who she choses to lead her presidential campaigns, how can we trust her judgment in who she'll pick to help her run the country. Unbelievable.

    Who can support Clinton. It is Obama or Edwards now.

    December 13, 2007 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  17. Rodney Dallas TX

    Her aide was saying that the Republicans would be asking questions like "When was the last time he used drugs?" and if he is "still using drugs". As a democrat, I want to know those answers myself. I do not believe this guy should have stepped down for saying what others are thinking. He knows the Repubs are going to attack that and he's right.

    December 13, 2007 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  18. michael, grand prairie tx.

    I have no doubt in my mind that they were behind it, the e-mail scandal, this one, the novak story, she's a snake that even Slick Billy has to get away from every now and then.

    December 13, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  19. Rodney Dallas TX

    Claude, Mesa AZ

    Did the sun in Arizona bake too deep into your skull. How dare you come on here and begin to call people fools for voting for whom they believe is right. Hillary may not be the best candidate but at least she'll get the job done. All the other candidates are telling you what you want to hear. Come on, you voted for John McCain, what does that say about you?

    December 13, 2007 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  20. Mike. NJ

    I wouldn't be surprised if Clinton was behind the comment and is letting Shaheen take the bullet. Was it a calculated risk to put a question mark on Obama? The Clinton's will say just about anything to get in the Whitehouse and chalk it up to knowing how the 'system' works....not the type of 'experienced' politician we need now.

    December 13, 2007 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  21. Michelle D. - Atlanta, GA

    It was her advisor's comments...not Hillary's. He did the right thing. Don't let the door hit you on the rear on your way out.

    Still, this sounds like a deeper problem and I'm sure there is going to be an internal shake-up after this fiasco.

    December 13, 2007 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  22. Chrsitine NJ

    How great leadership Senator Hillary Clinton, she is just, brave enough to face and shoulder as she made the staff information is wrong and caused her responsibility.

    December 13, 2007 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  23. Walt, Belton, TX

    Wonder how much money went under the table to thank him for both making the comment, which she obviously wanted him to do, and then graciously stepping down and exiting stage left...

    December 13, 2007 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  24. stclaire, San Diego

    Title: Sacrifice of The Lamb


    December 13, 2007 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  25. xtina - chicago il

    Why not discuss the qualifications of these candidates instead of dwelling on the soap opera stuff? Anyone care to name a few moments of leadership Barack or Hillary have had that didn't involve sitting in Senate chambers voting on some bill? Or didn't involve taking more taxpayer money?

    December 13, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
1 2 3