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. Ashish, Atlanta, GA

    Can we just acknowledge that this woman is the most deceitful "human" being of all time. No one can possibly believe her excuses. Her campaign and her presidency will have no correlation. She will make us the laughingstock of the world.

    December 14, 2007 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  2. mel, gainesville fl

    I'm not saying Hilary Clinton's experience is based mostly on knowing a guy who was President. I'm NOT saying that. I am in no way affiliated with people who claim that her experience is second-hand. Saying Hilary Clinton's experience stems from banking on Bill's popularity and accomplishments is NOT something I'd ever authorize saying. Let me repeat: CLINTON=KNOWS A GUY (not something I would say).

    I wonder if the Clinton camp is going to mention OBAMA=DRUGS again today, or wait until the weekend passes.

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

    Hillary didn't have to apologize to this jerk. Everybody is obsessed scrutinizing Hillary for every little thing, while holding very low standards for Obama. He is allowed to speak of her the way he likes, but one of her staff was immediately attacked for an opinion. Yes, drug addiction is not a good sign for a candidate to presidency. This is common sense!

    What other qualities he has? Obama is not even so smart, he is just smarter than you expected.. Don't you see? its all about standards here.

    December 14, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. sb, Rural Utah

    I have just found another reason not to vote for Obama. Senator Clinton acted honorably. He didnt.

    December 14, 2007 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. Monte Brown, New York, NY

    I believe Hillary Clinton. She is not beat for that bull crap. With all the scrutiny, lies, sensational demagoguery she already receives, why would she pile on more? Now, you’re going to get a lot of the right wing haters to say things like “her poll numbers are going down” or “she’s a liar” and other stupid petty stuff. Then the Obaman and Edwards camp will add salt to the wounds with their petty attacks and follow-ups. The American people should look heavily into this. Why is Hillary the most scrutinized? What are they afraid of? I'll tell you. When Hillary becomes president the reactionaries are going into the abyss. The American people certainly should not be afraid of that.

    We need to close our ears to the nonsense because we are losing focus. Hillary should be way ahead of her rivals in the polls. I believe that Hillary will overcome this minor set back and come out the strongest candidate in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. There is no way the American people are going to be bought and sold again. This is our country and we will take it back from the reactionaries with Hillary.

    December 14, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Chris, Baltimore, MD

    Hillary's credibility is gone. Common sense and conventional wisdom is that she's behind it, just like the article regarding Obama's kindergarten essay. Unfortunately, Hillary's campaign is desperate, grabbing onto anything they can. Big mistake. The internal fighting within her staff is a reflection of a crumbled campaign. Americans are seeking hope, honesty and unity. Hillary is playing destructive politics and we do not need that after eight years of Bush.

    December 14, 2007 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. John Medrano, Austin, Texas

    Obama and his campaign can just get over it!! He is always crying 'foul' at every turn. You would think he was a child. As a Democrat, I will NEVER vote for him should he indeed win the nomination. I hate his style of politics – he is so "holier than thou" that it absolutely makes me sick. I may just sit that particular race out or vote for the Republican. Hillary just needs to stick to her message which is far better than those of Obama and Edwards combined!

    December 14, 2007 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  8. Trollmaster, CA

    Good for Hillary to condemn this sort of lame attack. She did the right thing to kick this idiot Bill Shaheen to the curb.

    We need way more honesty from our leaders these days.

    December 14, 2007 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. Ken, San Diego, CA

    If ANY of you think Hillary had anything to do with this, you're either incredibly biased against Hillary or strongly support another candidate. Why in the world would Hillary want to bring up this type of negative? It doesn't make ANY sense. When Hillary goes negative, all of the haters say "see. She's horible." Of course, the golden boys Obama and Edwards (but Obama especially), when they go negative and literally attach someones character, it's "he wasn't going negative, just pointing out differences". Give me a break. Hillary knows that her best shot is NOT to show her toughness and intelligence (which we can all agree on - love her or hate her), but rather her "kindness" and "authenticity".

    I will say this, however, Obama is best to let this beast die. There are a lot of drugs in the news today and it's not pretty. Stop the stupid fundraising based on this and stop continually bringing back to the news cycle - unless, of course, you want Edwards to win Iowa...

    December 14, 2007 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    I do hope everyone is noticing–that there is no "verbal tallywagging" like this coming from the Edwards campaign. Unlike Hillary and Obama...and all the GOP, he only challenges candidates on the issues–and let's everyone else make up their own opinion...of the competitors character (or lack thereof).

    December 14, 2007 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  11. James springfield mo

    I Know a lot of men and women and we all say sen clinton will get our vote and what has sen obama done in ill? but we know the clintons have done!oh ya 800 million dollers and what did they find out about hillary SHE IS A WOMEN THAT DOES NOT BACK DOWN.

    December 14, 2007 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  12. Jim - Tucson

    The only reason she's making this statement is so she can keep Obama's drug use in the public eye as long as possible. She'll probably still be talking about it next week and into next year.

    December 14, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. Glenn,Birmingham,Al

    Ya Right! She just isn't a leader. Its clear to anyone that it would be good if she was what her followers said she was. If you cant kept your staff in order (or your husband for that matter) why pretend you can run a country?

    December 14, 2007 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  14. Mark Columbus, Ohio

    Hillary knew about this. This is just another lie. She's a crook.

    December 14, 2007 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  15. Kevin, Chicago IL

    It's the same mindset and strategy of our current administration. Having staff members run amuck and then claim uninvolvement or ignorance is a little too similar for me. I want integrity in my leadership, not blindness.

    December 14, 2007 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  16. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    You Clintonista's are called sheep by MANY groups and not just "Bushies".

    This is the same crap we dealt with in the 90's and it seems like every week in her campaign, and in typical sheep fashion, you hammer the person that THEY smeared, blame the media for making it a story, say that the top advisor does NOT speak for her and somehow Hillary is the "victim".

    Monte, IF Hillarity makes it to the general election, I will take great pleasure in cancelling out your vote as I consider it my duty.


    December 14, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  17. Fred, Washington, dc

    Hey Medrano, you are so full of it.........Who is the candidate who when Obama simply voiced a policy disagreement wirth Billary brought up "whatever happened to the politics of hope".....a Clinton campaign official puts forth the hypothetical that Obama was a drug dealer and he responds to this much more serious charge and you cry are a joke and a Hypocrite!

    December 14, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  18. Tim, Los Angeles, CA

    Hey "Monte Brown, New York, NY," you are really deceived. Hillary is the most untruthful person in the Presidential race.

    The more people see her, the more they are convinced she is not a capable leader.

    As to all the negative things that are said about her and Bill, they are TRULY EARNED over their years in the public eye (and on the public dole).

    December 14, 2007 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. Donna, Saratoga Springs, NY

    Look, one may believe Hillary is being less than truthful about the motivations behind her apology but the real relevation here is this: She fired the guy. We as a nation have become perverted to believe that when one does something wrong in our administration, it's okay. But it's not. Whether she knew or whether this is a political ploy, I don't care. I'd rather have someone in office who says, "you screw up-you're out." And that is what Hillary does. It's about time.

    December 14, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  20. Steve, Portland, OR

    Well Hillary, This gives us voters a good idea of the quality of help you'll be bringing to the White House if elected. We are TIRED of the lies and disinformation, side stepping issues etc. from politicians and it seems that your not interested in trying to change things. Try the truth once in a while, before and not after as a last minute effort to repair damages to others.

    December 14, 2007 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. Joey Davidson, San Diego, CA


    December 14, 2007 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. Bots, Seattle

    Yeah, I bet he "stepped down." Knowing the Clintons and their history, he was "stepped on" by the Cat's Paw and scrunched into the dirt. Face it, he was doing what he was hired to do, in this case a bit too aggressively, and was lifted up by this necktie and flung out the door. The Clintons then fed the press that he "stepped down." Give me a break.

    December 14, 2007 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. John, Des Moines, Iowa

    I get the impression that most of these anti-Hillary comments are from the Republicans. The democrats won't be fooled. I will vote for Hillary no matter what, and everyone I know seems to have decided to vote for her as well.

    December 14, 2007 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. Jerry Springer, Chicago IL

    I wanna see cat fights between Hilary and Oprah.

    December 14, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  25. Bill, Washington DC

    I did not have relations with that woman.

    December 14, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
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