December 14th, 2007
04:35 PM ET
8 years ago

Clinton: I wasn't behind drugs remark

Clinton said Friday she did not authorize an advisor to raise Obama's drug use.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democrat Hillary Clinton publicly denounced a former top advisor's comments on Barack Obama's admission of past drug use Friday, the New York senator's first public remarks on the matter since the advisor announced he was resigning from the campaign.

"As soon as I found out that one of my supporters and co-chairs in New Hampshire made a statement, asked a series of questions, I made it clear it was not authorized, it was in no way condoned, I didn't know about it, and he stepped down," Clinton said while campaigning in Iowa.

Clinton was referring to her campaign’s New Hampshire co-chairman, Bill Shaheen, who told a Washington Post reporter Wednesday that Obama's chances of winning a general election would likely be hindered by his use of drugs as a young man.

An Obama spokesman immediately called the comments "desperate," and Clinton's campaign soon issued a statement saying they had not authorized, and did not condone, the remarks. On Thursday afternoon, Shaheen announced he was resigning his post.

Speaking Friday on Iowa Public Television, Clinton noted she personally apologized to Obama for the remarks, and said the "gentleman in question has stepped down."

Clinton also emphasized that she did not intend to make Obama's onetime use of drugs an issue in the campaign.

"There are a lot of differences between us, and those are the contrasts that should be drawn," she said. "I'm running a campaign about who I am, what I've done and that's what I'm going to stay focused on."

Related video: Clinton aide resigns

Earlier: Clinton adviser steps down after drug use comments

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (210 Responses)
  1. Joseph W. Mathews, Manchester, VT

    Much as I'd like to give HRC a pass, I can't. The best I can say is her campaign has a leadership problem and too many loose cannons. Let's examine all this.

    First, three Iowa Clinton staffers "resign" because of a proven false "Obama As A Muslim Manchurian Canadidate" e-mail. Next, two posters, also Clinton campaign workers, resign in New Hampshire because they're caught posting some campaign propaganda on "Blue Hampshire" and did not identify themselves as Clinton staffers. The site then deleted their postings and blocked further access.

    The icing on the cake is Billy Shaheen's attack that bombed yesterday about possible drug pushing that is patently false and Mark Penn later bringing it up on MSNBC, I believe.

    Shaheen's wife, Jeanne, is running for the Senate and why make thousands of Obama supports madder than a wet hen at him and put her campaign in jeapordy? This is dumb, dumb, dumb. Now, Billy's out on his backside as Clinton NH Co-Chair.

    I'm sorry, but you'll fool me once, possible fool me twice, but the three strikes and you're out. Rumors persist about Bill Clinton's anger at how the campaign is being run and I don't blame him. Iowa's slipping away and her campaign leaders sit on the backsides in Arlington, VA. Get your butts on a plane and get to Des Moines! Is this rocket science?

    If Obama uses these incidents as a fund raising opportunity, so be it. Further nonsense out in the past hour on the "Huffington Post" that, so far, has not a Clinton "tag" on it is that Senator Obama may have wet his bed as a toddler.

    Is it just me or is this getting a bit more than ridiculous. Compare all this to Obama's support of Biden yesterday in Des Moines when Biden was asked, in the debate, about his "gaffes" including one regarding Obama. I'll not bash Clinton here, but just offer one question. Who out of these two leading candidates showed the most character, "class", leadership and ability to bridge differences? I'll give you a hint! It wasn't Hillary Rodham Clinton, apology or not.

    December 14, 2007 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. Chuck Norris, Tucson, AZ

    A president is only as good as the people they surround themself with.

    That means whatever they do reflects on yourself whether you like it or not. Look at how the Bush administration is working, it proves my point.

    If Clinton picks such horrible indivduals to get her elected, she will do the same horrible picks to fill her cabinet.

    No matter how much apologizing she does, it can't undo something said when it comes to exposing dirt or rumors. It is how politics work.

    December 14, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. Jeff Sacramento, CA

    Mr. Shaheen was just the sacrificial lamb. I still question HRC's judgement and leadership. If she can't control her campaign, how can she control a nation? How can she rally support in the House, the Senate, Republicans as well as Democrats? SHE CAN'T!

    She is to devicive to unite enough people to accomplish anything! Now, there won't just be vendetta's for people disliking HRC, but for people that have scores to settle w/ Bill as well. Those people will fight any cause she champion's, just as the Dem's fight anything Bush wants to accomplish.

    For "dmw" asking about Obama's Senate records. What about the records from the Clinton White House? Lets see those as well!!

    December 14, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. Phil, Memphis

    So you all think that this "top advisor" (a co-chair for the state of New Hampshire campaign is now a top adviser?) did this at hillary's request, said he did it without direction, and then resigned in shame, without ever even trying to point a finger elsewhere? Pleeeeaaassseee. BTW, I will vote for whichever of the top 3 Democrats are nominated, and i won't be voting for Hilary in the primaries, but PLEASE lets get real. Most of the comments on here must be from Bushies.

    December 14, 2007 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Mike, Chicago IL

    I mean no disrespect in any way by this and don't consider myself a part of this group, but do you think the greater american public is going to elect a woman president? There is no way. I am for Hillary I just think when push comes to shove she can't win.

    December 14, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. Kade, Phoenix, Arizona

    Not once does Clinton say that she disagrees with the statements made. She just said they were unauthorized and were "not condoned". So, without reading into it too much, does she really agree with said "gentleman in question"?

    December 14, 2007 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  7. Dan, NJ

    I consider this classic HRC politics. She wasn't behind this like she wasn't behind the "Obama is a terrorist" email or the Novak column about hidden dirt on Obama.

    Even if, as one poster put it, you give Hillary the benefit of the doubt, that means that she is incapable of leading her own campaign.

    December 14, 2007 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  8. Joe Ossai, Bedford,N H

    I recently volunteered for a campaign and while I was in their office, something about talking to the Press came up. What I found was that it is impossible for a high ranking member of a campaign team to make such a remark without approval from higher ups.

    Here again this lady is a bold face liar. Even yesterday one of the team members went on Hardball and repeated the nonsense.


    December 14, 2007 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  9. Chip Celina OH

    Does anyone posting here or about to post actually believe this? A show of hands please.

    Have a great weekend!

    December 14, 2007 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  10. Gary, Charlottesville, VA

    Why is it that every pro-Clinton post lists talking points and trys to convince us she will "work hard for American families." That's not how real people discuss things, that's how campaign staffers talk. I don't believe a single post in favor of HRC was written by an objective person.

    December 14, 2007 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  11. Steve Pinkston, GA

    MMm I wonder when CNN or someone else is going to ask Hillary if she EVER inhaled or took drugs!

    She gets passed on ALL the hardballs...

    but alas she is a woman.

    December 14, 2007 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  12. demwit

    Maybe if she keeps repeating the slander as she apologizes we will focus on the personal destruction within her question instead of her reasons behind asking it..

    December 14, 2007 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  13. R K Martin, New York, NY

    she continues to bring up this topic... it's a disgusting ploy by a sneaky and desperate candidate. It's not news anymore. The offending party resigned. Apology was granted and accepted.

    So why bring it up again?? Because she wants to keep beating the drum. She's desperate and 9 pts behind in Iowa now.

    December 14, 2007 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  14. Jenny, Baltimore, MD

    I'm tired of politicians that try to excuse their illegal behavior. Explaining that you have learned from your mistakes is simply not good enough. If Obama knew since kindergarten that he wanted to become President, what was he thinking when he took is first line of cocaine, "I want to be president but let's hope I don't get caught". I want a president that knows what's right and what's wrong, and one that didn't have to learn those lessons the hard way. Does that mean that when he's president he'll try the same trial and error? Perhaps with the lives of our soldiers? I don't have much faith in that.

    December 14, 2007 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  15. Walt, Belton, TX

    Must have been dem far right wing conspirators at it agin!!!

    Nice try Hillarity..............

    December 14, 2007 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  16. JT Wilmette, IL

    In article on Tuesday, the day before Sheehan's comments, a column appeared on MSNBC's First Read indicating that the Clinton campaign was shopping the drug story.

    So this idea that these comments were unauthorized is ludicrous. (after all, let's remember Sheehan isn't some college volunteer but rather National Co-Chair of her campaign.)

    December 14, 2007 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  17. anita ruggirello delray beach, fl

    Whats all the calamity about??? So a democrat exposed Obama's past before the Republicans got to him. Doesn't the American public have a right to know about the unsavory past of a candidate for President? If Obama or anyone else took or sold drugs at any point in their live, I want to know about it. To hear the pundits say that what he did in the past doesn't matter is ridiculous. Of course it tells us about the core character of a person seeking the most powerful position in the world. Just think, if the drugging and drinking exploits of George Bush had been taken more seriously and was more closely examined, the country would not be in such a shambles today. The American public has a right to know EVERYTHING about ALL the candidates

    December 14, 2007 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  18. Brokespender2, Lagrange, OH.

    Bill Shaheen, a national co-chairman for Clinton and a prominent New Hampshire political figure was the sacrificial lamb on the latest desperation attack on Barack.

    A flurry of internet responses, some opening very sore wounds that took lifetimes to bury, forced Clinton to ante up the response from a simple apology to dismissal of Shaheen.

    That Bill came out and practically conceded IA. confirms turmoil in the camp. Her follies having been exposed, insincerity, elusiveness, conniving and polarizing policies and sexism, she is left with her ace only; Bill.

    Not even her 88 year old mother, who she dragged, through the deadly storms this past weekend has been able to rekindle her dimming campaign.

    Obama is on a role; his honesty and demeanor, coupled with his "change we can believe in" dogma, has made believers out of the doubters. The Oprah endorsement also helped to solidify his lead in IA. and bridge the gap in NH.

    See the real Clintons:

    December 14, 2007 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  19. Psbro

    At least she took responsibilty for it. Obama has NEVER taken responsibility for ANYTHING. The double standard that has been established by the Hillary haters is disgusting. Hate her all you want but she will still rise as she has always done.
    Obma has made money off of it, so upset was he anyway?
    He will be a lonely man when he returns to the Senate (he might need directions). I hear behind the scenes he's more unpopular than Hillary with the rank & file

    December 14, 2007 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    How could one vote for someone, who so blatently insults your intelligence.

    December 14, 2007 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  21. I love my Country

    Always an excuse, what happened to the buck stops here??? Who is in control of her campaign if she is not. Can you imagine the kind of Cabinent she might have. No way no how.

    December 14, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  22. mike, brooklyn ny

    how about that witch-like cackle last night? LOL

    December 14, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. manupop

    I think there are so many men out there who hate women so much, they'll do anything in their power to destroy their path and chances of success. I personally still believe 100% that she is the best democrat candidate out there. However its i unfortunate that America cannot pass over the sexism issues and elect a woman president. People say all sorts of stupid things. Obama and his wife said so many stupid things. However I truely believe that in thsi country to be able to suceed as a woman it is one of the hardest thing ever. The men at the top will make your life miserable enough to give up on success.

    December 14, 2007 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. Amanda Orlando, FL

    Obama hasn't had to apologize to anyone yet, nor have any of his staff. That says something about his character and his campaign.

    I don't care what Hilary knew or didn't know. The rats that have scurried out of the woodwork of her dull and messy campaign aren't the exception, they represent the kind of people who support and work for Hilary. And that relects poorly on her.

    She shouldn't just apologize for the comments, she should apologize for hiring all of these loose cannons that keep going off when the polls are not in her favor. And I sincerely doubt that she is truly sorry that remark got out there. She's glad someone planted this little seed of doubt in public opinion.

    If this is Hilary's best political strategy, she's in for a big disappointment come nomination time. She needs to stop prosecuting Obama and start selling her candidacy to the American people.

    December 14, 2007 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  25. rose cathy, Bufallo, NY

    Polls, polls, polls...these medias talk to 379 people and come convince us that this is what millions people think??? Please give me a break. This is the same thing they did in 2000 and 2004 that gave us Bush twice.

    I am BLACK and I can't stand Obama with his rhetoric and empty promises. Every time he speaks, I only hear Geroge W Bush in 2000 & 2004. His is charming and good looking, but this doesn't balance budget, bring peace in the world or run a country.

    When America will wake up and see the light??? When are we coming out of this hollywood state of mind.

    Hillary is by far the best thing that can happen to America in the next 5 years at least.

    The stakes are so high for America now, that I can't possibly imagine that anybody in a right mind would want to let a ROOKIE handle this situation after we just had 7 years of Bush another rookie who said all the right words for people to feel good or like him. And then here we are

    December 14, 2007 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
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