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. Patrick, New York, NY

    Wow! THe REPUBLICANS ARE PROBABLY SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW!! THey can not wait for Obama to be nominated so they can beat him!! watchinghillary is a Repeblican right wing website by the way!! THE OBAMA SUPPORTERS ARE GETING PLAYED so bad right now!! 90% of these comments are from Republicans posing to be Obama supporters to DIVIDE the democrats...I REALLY DONT KNOW WHO HATES HILLARY MORE THESE REPUBLICANS OR OBAMA SUPPORTERS!! THE OBAMA SUPPORTERS SEEM TO BE USING THE SAME MUD SLINGING TACTICS THAT THE REPUBLICANS USE!! WAKE UP AND VOTE FOR CLINTON IF YOU WANT TO WIN IN 08!!

    December 14, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  2. Simeon, Illinois


    December 14, 2007 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  3. wanderink, san francisco, ca

    This guy mentioning Obama's drug use is "horrible"? I'm sure sure there have been plenty of people around the country who have speculated with friends or family about whether Obama's admission that he used cocaine among other drugs will hurt him. And they're not horrible–they're just weighing the issues in an interesting political race. Bill Shaheen was just speculating like many others, probably without realizing that certain conversations are fine to have in private but aren't fine when espoused publicly by a representative of a rival campaign. The naivete cost him his job.

    This is a silly flap, really. But it's amazing how it brings out the conspiracy theorists! Paranoia is alive and well in America!

    By the way, I'm no loyalist–I'm content with either Clinton or Obama. Either is vastly better than Bush!

    December 14, 2007 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  4. Sam

    Four more years of this..Ha Ha Ha!

    December 14, 2007 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  5. EE

    Ladies and gentlemen, frankly the issue is not even the comment here or Hilarys honesty but this is what i call a problem

    1.Ist Dirty Obama emails,Hilary didnt know
    2.2nd Dirty Obama emails,Hilary didnt know
    3.Planted questions.Hilary didnt know
    4.Obama drug use comment(from an influential co-chair) Hilary didnt know
    5.Obama Kindergarten comment Hilary didnt know
    etc etc etc

    How on earth can she claim ability to run the greatest world super power if a little campaign is uncontrollable?

    How can she send a message that the "fun part" of the campaign has started only to turn around and claim innocence when the fun erupts?

    Can we now see that Novak wasnt telling lies when he said the Clintons have prepared canon full dirts on Obama which Hilary denied?

    December 14, 2007 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  6. Travis Blosser Fairmont WV

    Well I think that Hillary didnt do anything wrong. For one thing she wouldnt order him say that because she is doing just fine in the race for the nomination she doesnt want to be another Howard Dean. So let Obama have Iowa.

    December 14, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. Mike, Houston, TX

    She didn't really apologize for anything.

    December 14, 2007 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. Joseph, NY, NY

    No one individual can control what another individual can say and if you Obama followers believe otherwise than you’re bigger fools than expected.

    Reminder, Obama and Edwards were the ones who started the negative campaigning because they were so far behind.

    Hilary may have lost some support in Iowa but she was never a front runner in Iowa, but she has always BEEN A NATIONAL front runner and continues to be, that has not changed regardless of all the negative attacks by Obama and the defamation of character of Hilary by Obama supporters or should I say Oprah supporters.

    December 14, 2007 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  9. ted orlando


    HRC and CNN you both can go. I cant wait until caucus day in Iowa and primary day in NH.

    Pretty soon we will see HRC, who i used to at least have a certain amount of respect for.. but after these last fews weeks of her obvious desparation....No more respect for you HRC.
    Hey CNN are you going to do a news cast when HRC begins stomping her feet screaming MINE MINE MINE!!! Bye bye HRC you and your campaign are as phony as a 3 dollar bill.

    Obama 08

    December 14, 2007 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. CalliFORNya Democrat

    I am not surprised that she is trying to milk as much out of this incident as possible. That is the way she is. For those that like her, great. I do not, and to say I dislike her is an understatement. I do not think she is satan and I do not think Obama or Edwards are god but I will never vote for Hillary, even if my life depended on it.

    December 14, 2007 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Hillary has made her share of mistakes but this isn't one of them. She knows this would have been the death of her campaign. However, I still believe she fired Shaheen and rightfully so. Hillary has more you know what than GWB when dealing with staff.

    December 14, 2007 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. Brian Tampa, FL

    Typical Clinton, lie, deflect, redirect blame and continue to do damage. Why would anyone in this country still be considering voting for this scam artist. She is Bill without the charm and intellect. She might be the most unqualified person to ever be seriously considered for President.

    December 14, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. Evan, Roseburg OR

    The only thing sadder than Clinton's blatent attempt to force the issue of Obama's drug usage is the fact that it will probably work to some extent. A lot of us keeping an eye on politics can see how she's needlessly dragging this out, but unfortunately it's not causing the public outrage it deserves. Hopefully she'll try pressing this new campaign strategy long enough for everyone to see through it. My guess is she'll make this the headline for another two or three days. She'll find someone unreputable to try and bash her for the comment tomorrow, the day after she'll claim this as an example of how Obama would fail against a Republican attack, and then finish it off with a speech about how she's going to stick to the issues.

    And John of Des Moines, this is from a Democrat. There are some people out there who hate dirty tricks, regardless of who's doing them.

    December 14, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  14. mopenshaw

    Simple question; has anyone asked her about her drug use? If not, why not?

    December 14, 2007 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  15. Matt, Columbus OH

    Um... I say this as a liberal who believes drugs should be legalized, but isn't coke use an issue for some conservative people? Don't they generally frown upon that? I am a Biden supporter, and have no love for Clinton, but this is ridiculous.

    Person A: I used cocaine in the past.
    Person B: Person A used cocaine in the past, and some conservative people might make that an issue and not vote for him.
    Person A: HOW DARE YOU!!!!

    December 14, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. Nancy, Orlando, FL

    Question to Hillary: What were you doing "drug wise" while Bill was experimenting with Pot?

    December 14, 2007 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. Harry, NY NY

    She is showing herself to be very gullible and easily led astray for someone who touts her "experience".

    Too many campaign mistakes in too short a period of time. Shows how desperate she is.

    Not what we need in office.

    December 14, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. Phil, Arlington VA

    This is a lot like her infamous "vast right wing conspiracy" statement. I can't figure out if she thinks *we're* this stupid... or if *she* really is this stupid. I suspect the former, but don't care for either.

    December 14, 2007 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. Dan, NJ

    Monte Brown wrote:

    "When Hillary becomes president the reactionaries are going into the abyss."

    Well Monte,when Barack Obama becomes president, he will work to bring everyone back into the fold and put the "United" back in United States of America.

    December 14, 2007 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. Earl, Ohio

    What is that god awful smell?

    It must be coming from the Clinton campaign, as the fragrance reminds me of all the other B.S. that has come out of the Clinton camp.

    December 14, 2007 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  21. Phil, Memphis

    Wow. We have a proven criminal liar who desires to be dictator of a fascist USA in power. Our young men have died for a war that we were lied into, whcih is all about oil. citizens are being monitored and spied on, and instead of tearing apart that regime suppposed democrats are tearing apart each other? What a failure to seize the moment. Again, I believe the majority of the posts are from Republicans and Bushies. p.s. I am an independent voting Democratic mainly because of the high crimes of the Bush administration.

    December 14, 2007 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  22. Dalton, Detroit, MI

    C'mon Hillary you are as transparent as a glass window. You authorized the attack on Obama and now that it has backfired you are out trying to convince people you are compassionate and not a participant in dirty politics even though you have called it "the fun part of the campaign".

    Hillary, the world see through you and you will never win the presidency.


    December 14, 2007 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    Said it many times before and it needs said again – Americans have morphed into this public that only believes what they want to believe. It's so ridiculous – what are you basing your beliefs on? What you hear in the news? When a politician that you don't agree with or don't like (for reasons you don't even know) says something – it is simple dismissed as a lie. But, if you happen to like or agree with a certain politician, suddenly you hear truth. Simply amazing.

    December 14, 2007 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  24. mark wilkes barre pa

    Her facial expression in the picture says it all " I'm toast "

    December 14, 2007 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  25. Andrew ,NY

    If the democrats nominate Hillary, they deserve the sound beating they'll get come Novemeber...

    How often does a truly courageous, talented, and capable leader come along- one with genuine vision and the skills necessary to unite a divided country? (ie. Obama)

    Why not vote your heart and mind? Because Hillary is "electable"? Says who? To swing voters in swing states, she's about as electable as a steaming pile of horse waste, and not nearly as likeable nor believable.

    If the democrats nominate Clinton, I'm jumping ship for good. It's bad enough to belong to this coorporate/ unprincipled party... but adding cowardice and plain stupidity are two straws more than any sane voter should have to bear.

    December 14, 2007 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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