March 7th, 2008
11:40 AM ET
15 years ago

Obama adviser apologizes for 'monster' comment

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" An advisor to Obama was quoted calling Clinton a monster."]

(CNN) - One of Barack Obama's top foreign policy advisers apologized late Thursday after a Scottish newspaper quoted her as calling Hillary Clinton a "monster."

"It is wrong for anyone to pursue this campaign in such negative and personal terms," Samantha Power, a professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of government and an adviser to Obama said in a statement. "I apologize to Senator Clinton and to Senator Obama, who has made very clear that these kinds of expressions should have no place in American politics."

Power's apology came shortly after the The Scotsman newspaper published an article in which she makes the characterization (a comment she immediately tried to retract), and suggested the New York senator is trying to deceive voters.

"She is a monster, too – that is off the record – she is stooping to anything," Power was quoted as saying.

"You just look at her and think, 'Ergh,' " Power also said. "But if you are poor and she is telling you some story about how Obama is going to take your job away, maybe it will be more effective. The amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive."

Power also said the Obama campaign "f***** up in Ohio." Clinton beat Obama by 10 percentage points in Ohio on Tuesday.

"In Ohio, they are obsessed and Hillary is going to town on it, because she knows Ohio's the only place they can win," Powers said.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton distanced the campaign from the remarks, saying in a statement that the Illinois senator "decries such characterizations which have no place in this campaign."

The interview came the same day a top Clinton adviser compared Obama's recent actions to independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr, who prosecuted the Clintons while Bill Clinton was in the White House in the 1990s.

"After a campaign in which many of the questions that voters had in the closing days centered on concerns that they had over his state of preparedness to be commander in chief and steward of the economy, he has chosen instead of addressing those issues to attack Senator Clinton," Clinton's communications director Howard Wolfson said on a conference call with reporters Thursday morning. "I for one do not believe that imitating Ken Starr is the way to win a Democratic primary election for president."

Obama's campaign quickly denounced that comment.

UPDATE: On a Friday morning conference call with reporters, the Clinton campaign called on Obama to end Power's role with the campaign. "Personal attacks are not the way to convince voters that you're capable of being president of the United States,” said New York Rep. Nita Lowey, a Clinton supporter. “We're calling on Senator Obama to make it very clear that Samantha Power should not be part of this campaign.”

- CNN's Alexander Mooney and Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (326 Responses)
  1. Mark in Missouri

    As an Obama supporter this is extraordinarily disappointing for such rhetoric to contaminate his message.... but I think a lot of us who are turned off by Hillary Clinton quietly agree with the comments, knowing how on-target, even if politically incorrect, such language is.

    March 7, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  2. columbus

    Obama's got some real winners campaigning for him. What a freak!

    March 7, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  3. m8a6g

    I agree. thats the last thing we need!!!

    March 7, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  4. esther

    Samantha Power, the Irish star, the Harvard professor, shame on you. The Clintons played a undisputable crucial role in Ireland's peace process. Samantha Power is an ungrateful, and disgraceful person.
    It is not so much of what Clinton has or has not done for you, but it is very low of a high profile person with Ivy League education to use a street language. Again, shame on you Samantha Power!

    March 7, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  5. Matt

    How does someone so stupid get to be a professor at Harvard?

    March 7, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  6. ROGER

    What a nice way to describe a fellow American. Shame on Obama campaign for not firing this idiot. Let's see if Sen. Obama practices what he preach. Go Hillary. Hillary 2008!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 7, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. Buddy

    I think Obama has a monster its not Hillary its Tony Rezko.

    March 7, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. Daniel, TX

    Why should anyone apologize? This is the most honest set of statements that I've heard from either campaign in a long time.

    March 7, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. nanci

    yes Obama have to go just as nasty as Hilary, because she is a power hungry woman, and she stops at nothing. You cant expect to win and don't talk about all the secrets, scandals and death that went on in the Clinton's years as president. Talk about what she knew about the guy that worked with her died, and about the land deal she was working on, that fell through. The phone that will ring in the white house will be for her husband because that could be one of his many mistresses. I don't understand why voters cave in on that ad, it was just one of Hilary's many tactics and she won. Obama cant campaign nice and soft with that woman no more, she's a witch and she wants to prove herself more and more. Hilary wants to be the dynasty of America. There's no end to her witchcraft, she just love power, fame and more fame.

    March 7, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. William - North Carolina

    How is it that you so quickly got this on your website, but have yet to discover or report that it was actually a Clinton advisor that made the infamous NAFTA comment to Canada?
    And would you rather be referred to as Rove, Bush and Starr or be called a monster. I have heard no apologies from Hillary The Monster.

    March 7, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. Todd

    Hillary Clinton has torn the dems apart with her Carl Rove /Lee Atwater tactics she should be ashamed. Even if she does manage to steal the nomination she will never win the general election because the energized youth vote currently backing Obama WILL NEVER VOTE FOR HER. Hillary is now on the "dark side", fueling the fires of fear so we can't turn the page, just like George Bush.

    March 7, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  12. Maritza

    Hillary is a monster and that is on the record.

    March 7, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  13. Chris, Washington, D.C.

    I'll call Clinton a political monster too. And I won't apologize for it.

    March 7, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  14. Educated, and for Obama!

    According to the artical, Obama's campaign quickly denounced that comment.

    Should they have "rejected" the comment to satisfy Hillary?

    March 7, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  15. Craig T

    There's no need to apologize for speaking the truth. Calling her a monster was being nice.

    March 7, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  16. nanci

    I look at hilary's face and see a woman that is lacking something, she herself do not know what it is, but she is lacking in love because her husband traded her for many women. Hilary have to make it up by going after other people like Obama and making him look like he's fresh off the block and don't know anything about politics. She have no experience either because she was never a president. She was first lady twice and she enjoyed the power and prestige and she knows what it is like to go even further, that is what Hilary wants, she wants to always be on top. She is one dysfunctional human being , and she used race to win those two states because she painted a picture of Obama as this dark Muslim guy, and made him look mean and evil. Hilary's record throughout the years are those of kicking anyone down that come in her space or close to where she feels comfortable.

    March 7, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  17. Kim, Gaithersburg, MD

    Clinton has definitively destroyed one segment of her base in the past week – African-Americans. She can kiss the black vote goodbye. Her dirty tactics may have worked in Ohio, but Mississippi is going to give Obama the kind of margin he needs to effectively shut her up. They didn't learn their lesson after Bill's South Carolina comments. Hillary is hanging herself with her own rope. If they run Hillary against McCain in November, then McCain will be our next president of blacks have anything to say about it – believe that.

    Stay above the fray, Senator Obama. She keeps harping about foreign policy experience – how much national level experience did her husband have before he left a governorship for the White House? What kind of representative would she be to Muslim nations after demonizing Islam and trying to force a fellow candidate over and over again to prove he is not Muslim?

    March 7, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  18. Karen Charlottesville, VA

    She IS a monster. Maureen Dowd said it well – the Clinton's are slimy and will pull everyone down to their level. Don't you just know that Hillary just loves this mudslinging – she should because she's had a load of EXPERIENCE doing it!

    We had a chance to have the issues discussed in an intelligent, substantive way, and that's just not going to happen now that Hillary is getting her way. Count me one disgusted successful, female, feminist, life-long Democrat who will be voting for McCain if Hillary gets the nomination. I for one am sick to death of the Clintons and their ilk.. Do we really want to see four years of mud wrestling with Hillary in the ring???

    March 7, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  19. Liz

    "In Ohio, they are obsessed and Hillary is going to town on it, because she knows Ohio's the only place they can win," Powers said.

    A Harvard Professor that can't count the number of states Clinton has won? Oh, that's okay, she can read the minds of Mississippi, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and likely Michigan and Florida voters!

    P.S. Has he fired her yet?

    March 7, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  20. VA

    If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck....

    I guess you can add that to the list of things Hillary is being called.

    March 7, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  21. Rightsaid

    No, she's not a monster. She'd just rather have the GOP stay in the white house rather than lose.

    Obama is a better person than she is. Plain and simple. And he'll make a better leader of the free world.

    Obama '08!

    March 7, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  22. jeff, oklahoma

    Is this not consistent with the Obama campaign... say it, then retract it, then state that you are running the positive campaign. Calling someone, anyone willing to run for public office, a monster is just plain disgusting. Senator Obama has proven that he is just another politician willing to do whatever it takes to grab power...
    saying one thing on the war in Iraq when he could not vote then voting the other way once he is able... telling the American people that he is above the negative tone in Washington and saying something else... I am not voting for Hillary Clinton because she is a woman, I am voting for her because she is simply the most intelligent and toughest of the two. ohhhhhbama, going negative, willing to do whatever it takes, willing to say whatever it takes to grab power... YES HE CAN!

    March 7, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  23. jean boozer

    I feel that the men of the United States feel so superior that they will do anything to keep Hillary Clinton from winning because she is a woman

    March 7, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  24. Robyn

    New politics, eh?

    March 7, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  25. John Stevens

    Nothing unusual about this from Obama supporters – just look at a few blogs etc.

    March 7, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
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