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. A Voter in N.Y.

    HRC throws another sacrificial lamb on the fire. Typical tactic, smear the word out there then let someone go, hire them back somewhere else.

    be a good solider, take a hit for the HRC team, spread the disinformation then we will take care of you via Hillary.

    December 14, 2007 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  2. Jessica M., El Paso, TX

    Obama's staffers were caught, not only circulating, but creating emails against Clinton. One of Obama's lackeys were caught secretly asking a reporter about when he was going to start looking into any possible Bill Clinton sex scandals after he left the White House. Obama was just caught the other day dropping oppo pieces in Iowa that pretty much were full of cheap shots against Edwards. Has Obama ever apologized? No. It seems like more and more, there is a different standard for Clinton than for Obama.

    December 14, 2007 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  3. Jerome A.

    Barack Obama is becoming a disgrace to the Democratic Party.

    He needs to fire the staff member who put out the Hillary/Punjab memo. Obama is a liar and a hypocrite and he is anything but a Democrat.

    God help our Party and our country.

    December 14, 2007 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  4. James Kunzler, South Bend, Indiana

    to paraphrase Shakespeare: "she doth apologize too much" ... methinks it's her perverse strategy of doublespeak.

    December 14, 2007 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  5. Roxanna, Houston, Texas

    I hope America wakes up and backs away from Hillary. If for no other reason, that the same TWO FAMILIES have held the presidency since 1988. It's time we found some new blood.

    December 14, 2007 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  6. Jodi, Rosemary Beach Florida

    All this negativity & hatred, predominantly from men, how ridiculous.

    December 14, 2007 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  7. Paul, Sacramento, CA

    I was born and raised a Lincoln Republican. My fellow Republicans are so afraid of HRC they will go to no end to prevent her winning the DNC nomination. Sickened by the division that is going on in our beloved country. I refuse to sit still and not taking a shot at doing something about it. GO BACK AND RE-READ THE TICKERS ON THIS ISSUE..... MOST OF THEM ARE WRITTEN BY republicans. THATS SMALL MINDED ONE YA'ALL. Little peckerwoods who aren't nearly as Holy as their schools and training have led them to believe.

    December 15, 2007 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  8. Jose Card

    As a recent event, I just have trust issues with Hillary after she planted questions in Iowa and denied it later.

    If it weren't trust issues, it might be Hillary's lack of executive experience, which is causing her campaign disarray.

    December 15, 2007 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  9. Bullofmizzou, MO

    Well Well Well! Ol Hillery better retract and apoligise for those campaign generated remarks about an opponant's past drug use ! Has anyone ever known an old time left wing Hippie who didnt smoke Dope herself?? Oh what the heck! Bill did too, but , ooops he didnt "Inhale", and he got elected!

    December 15, 2007 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  10. Stephen Igherio,--- beltsville maryland

    Please want reporters/press to inter
    view Hillary Clinton's former top adviser
    who resigned for the remark he made about
    Barack Obama.

    December 15, 2007 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
  11. mark wilkes barre pa

    this is a typical win with any means clinton campaign. Do we really want 4 to 8 more years of this ?

    December 15, 2007 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  12. JAMES, Ft. Thomas, KY

    Notice how Clinton and Giuliani seem to be surrounded by turmoil? These are the big media darlings. It is an underhanded attempt to keep Americans from voting due to all of the negativity. Most Americans will simply tune out in disgust. Then, the rich and powerful elect these darlings while the middle class and poor continue to suffer. It's all a game. Your votes are probably not even counted anyway. (Their tv ratings go up either way)

    December 15, 2007 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  13. Lisa, Tn

    This time when you fire one up, inhale....then take a chill pill.

    December 15, 2007 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  14. fred/tn

    Go Obama/Edwards or Edwards/Obama
    either way is ok. Stop the War!Let's discuss the real issues.

    December 15, 2007 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  15. J. McKinney SW MO

    I can't believe the people out there who are putting their own spin on Obama. He hasn't done anything to back up the wonderous claims being made for him by people who can wax poetic but don't seem to be paying attention to facts. For instance, I just picked this one comment up to use–I'm not picking on this poster. There are so many comments similiar.

    >>>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)>>>

    Notice how many posts similiar to this we see. Does this person know anything about Obama except what he reads, mostly on these pages? Of course not. And has Obama done anything much to deserve this blind devotion? Of course not. He misses most votes in senate, or votes present at the ones he makes. Give me something he has actually accomplished, please.

    This blind worship of Obama is pathetic. We need someone who is capable of actually accomplishing something. We need Hillary!

    December 15, 2007 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  16. Michael, Houston, TX

    Once again Clinton is getting a free pass by having everyone focus on this issue rather than on her position on the pressing issues of the day.

    As Chris Matthews of Hardball said so well: If you beleive that the war in Iraq should continue but the war strategy was executed wrong, then vote for Hillary. If you believe that the war in Iraq is wrong, then vote for Obama.

    Rather than try and defeat Hillary by attacking her campaign mistakes, Obama should force Hillary to outline her positions to the democrats. Then we will see that Hillary is a continuation of the Bush doctrine.

    December 15, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  17. Bethany, St. Louis MO

    Go home Hillary!

    You are a liar!

    December 15, 2007 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  18. Mark, Seattle, Wa

    My God! Everytime Hillary opens her mouth, all you Republican jump down her throat and overload this site with hate messages. It's not as if we don't know you are following your Republican party talking points. Don't forget, we saw how you messed up the last election with your smears and swift-boating; this is just same song, second verse. You guys are scared to death, aren't you? You know if Hillary becomes the candidate she'll wipe up the earth with your guy. She's smart, experienced, and savvy enough to handle herself against any Republican you can come up with. I gotta' say, too, some of these blogs are so driven by hate that they sound absolutely illiterate. Many really have no point, are filled with lies (of course), and make no sense at all. You must think posting ANY message, no matter how ignorant-sounding, is better than posting none. Pathetic!

    December 15, 2007 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  19. Fr. Bryan Marabanian, Hampton, Virginia

    I failed to see how anyone could have been offended by the former NH Campaign Chair's comments regarding Obama's drug use. Why would anyone vote for a person who has a serious record of drug abuse? I believe Hillary's former campaign chair in NH is "dead-on". As a Clinton supporter, I'm quite concerned that she would dismiss Shaheen (spelling??) for speaking the truth.

    December 15, 2007 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  20. Roxanne, New York

    So let's ignore this and just pass it over as Campaine dirty tricks. I say it ought to be checked out. Even if it is only to reassure ourselves, that Obama is in fact not harboring some drug-selling shadows in his past that would cause the Republicans to beat us like their daddy's old horse.

    I say we check it out anyway! Anythng else, we're just a bunch of people who continue to take everything at face value.

    Vet Obama now! If he's got nothing to hide, then fine. If he's got, we Democrats have a right to know before its too late!

    December 15, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. dfw-tx

    I can't seem to find my way around when I hear all these excuses against former first lady Hillary Clinton...for example,she's doing these things because she was a former first lady.
    I wander if we would be saying the same for male.
    Does that prove that there are still a lot of insecure men ?
    Those women who have first ladies and indeed many mistresses are not coattails of their misters and that they are beautiful human being with their own uniqueness.
    I am very much aware of the fact that there are quite a number of accomplished women.
    The present ladies in the white house and the vice presidents' are also very accomplished women who qualify for any oofice they feel to and we can not just write them off because we might disagree with their spouse's position.
    Let's respect these women.They deserve better and has got nothing to do with party.
    amyn.

    December 15, 2007 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. John Adkisson, Sacramento, California

    If she wasn't behind it why has she brought it up five times since her campaign first floated it?! What a phoney.

    This is a Clinton classic creating five separate negative news stories– (1) have a top staffer make the charge– (2) have the candidate express disapproval - (3) have the staffer resign, bringin up the same charges again; (4) having the cadidate apologize - bring up the charges again– (5) and claiming not to have a any connection to the charges– bringing the em up again!

    Americans have come to hate poliics not just because of the negativity –but because of the dishonest manipulation. Watch in the next six months - Shaheen, the so-called lone-smearer - will back on the Hillary payroll.

    Phoney, awful, dangerous– par for the Clinton course.

    December 15, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. Richard, Madison, WI

    Hillary's running on experience obvious does not include the experience of hiring competent employees -That is what her orgasm of intellectual anarchy tells us about her deficiency in judgement.

    December 15, 2007 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  24. Jerry, Denver, CO

    She obviously authorized this statement, and then told the guy that once he said it, to step down so that she could deny any knowledge or involvement. She is clearly a product of the same school of politics as other attack strategists like Karl Rove. She says she's the best at fighting them, maybe it's because she has quite alot in common with them. Obama has my vote, I only hope the rest of the country sees his potential. After re-electing the worst president in U.S. history, i'm not so sure. Please surprise me AMERICA (and save our country from further authoritarian rule)!

    December 15, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. TrueDemocratsAgainstClintonLeadership(TDACL)

    Hey Jerome, what's this you say about Obama being a disgrace to the democratic party?!?! You are a misguided fool sir, and you should really do your homework before running your mouth off. Barack Obama is the best thing to happen to the democratic party since John F. Kennedy. Hillary is a snoozefest, and a bully. You clearly are blinded by Hillary's array of pantsuits, maybe it's time you admitted it. Obama '08!!!!!!!

    December 15, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
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