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. Mr. C.

    Great she apologised, but I still beleive Senator Hillary Clinton is a MONSTER. She will stoop to anything to get in the white House. And i'm not an Obama supporter nor clinton supporter.

    March 7, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  2. Joe

    She should be fired....period. I'm sick of the Obama campaign getting away with whatever they want to say about Hillary. Obama calls her polarizing and devisive and gets away with it...those are PERSONAL attacks. They don't belong in the campaign. Hillary or her campaign say one negative thing and either she is told to drop out or fire her advisor. It's getting ridiculous. This guy is getting away with everything and just because he's black people are afraid to admit it. And one last thing before the freaky Obama fans chime in, Hillary's campaign did not say Obama was like Ken Starr but that his CAMPAIGN was like Ken Starr...there's a big difference. I read so many on other websites that she said he was like Starr...that is simply not true.

    March 7, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  3. gary

    It will all come out in the wash at the end with Obama.Playing to dirty with Hillary could backfire on him.The super deligates will go for who they believe would make our best Leader.Thats the way it should be. I hope they go to Hillary ,for she is the most qualified canadate. Obama speaks he's better in Judgment. Well you have to have experience ,and good know how to give good judgement. HRC knows more about our countries problems and has good solutions to solve them. Obama needs to train eight more years before hes ready.I dont think America wants an on the job training leader in the hands of our country. Uniting America's people dont make him anymore qualified.Hitler also was good at uniting his people,you see what that did. concerned vet.

    March 7, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  4. sabine

    Im glad to know that they are at least feeling the same way I do about her and her tactics. I understand Obama's need to have his campaign staff stay above her 'moster-ish' antics and also know that their negative comments (the few that there are publicly said of her) will be seen as GIGANTIC compared to her campaign's nurmerous negative tactics and lies against Senator Obama. The only comfort I have is knowing that the truth is going to come back to haunt her and she will have no where to turn and no other lies to come up with.

    Obama '08

    March 7, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. allen goldberg

    Excepot that ....she is a monster...and will and has stooped to anything...35 years of public display to verify this remark...there was no apology necessary!!!

    March 7, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  6. Jim FL


    So much for Obama and his campaign running on a "New Kind of Politics"

    Sounds like same Obama and his supporters true colors are coming out. Unless they are winning everything, they get nasty... I feel bad for all those supporters of Obama who have believed in a message that was just words. The campaigns actions are really starting to show!

    Vote Hillary '08 - The ONLY candidate that WILL give us positive change!!

    March 7, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  7. Doc Jerome

    Hillary can't manage her campaign, nor the country for that matter. Now she sees merit in destroying her party for the nomination. All the spin in the world can't erase the reality of the delegate math.

    "The democrats never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

    March 7, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  8. Anonymouse

    Any action by Obama to fire his advisors that mess up like this to show what an upstanding, clean guy he is???

    Didn't think so.... Cronyism in it's many forms is alive and well.
    Guess it is Chicago politics as usual, where everyone else is dirty, and bad and mean except for Obama.

    What a pack of hypocrites....

    March 7, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  9. korn

    Why do you repeatedly print, and thereby magnify, everything Howard Wolfson says?

    Is there bias when you make his statement the basis of articles and headlines?

    March 7, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. tx

    The lady is right!!!

    March 7, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  11. Lana

    I have no respect for the Obama team. They have no clue on Foreign Policy. I trust Hillary!

    Hillary 08

    March 7, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  12. Alek P

    So much for "hope and change" and being a "new politician"....what a JOKE. He's made his whole campaign strategy null and void.

    And before you Obama people start saying "Clinton went negative too", you're right she did. The difference is she never claimed to be a saint and above it all. She had the experience to know how naive that was. To succeed in politics you have to be a fighter and willing to stand up and dust yourself off after a keep your strategy no matter what. Clinton has proven over and over again she can do that – even when being unfairly targeted or hammered in a debate. Will this "monster" comment hurt her? No way. Will it hurt Obama? Yes, only because it's further proof he's NOT WHAT HE CLAIMED TO BE. I wonder what else he's lying about?

    March 7, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  13. CeeJay

    Unfortunately for both candidates, it is impossible to control what comes out of other people's mouth's. However, it is possible and relevant to the campaign what comes out of the candidate's mouth's. That is what we should be paying attention to!

    March 7, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  14. Debra

    Ron Paul is still in the race. I'd appreciate it if you would stop giving out false information. Do some research before you have the talking heads spurt out blatant lies on television!

    March 7, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  15. bruce patras

    those remarks are in poor taste.
    i would prefer barack remain on the high road .the fact that all the remarks are true are besides the point .
    barack can speak for him self .
    we are not stupid .the world see's HRC's slime bucket tactic's .


    March 7, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  16. Katherine Doan

    She is a monster who will do and say anything to get elected. If she steals the nomination, the only history she'll make is the second Democrat to be swept by a Republican President like Reagan swept Carter in 1980.

    March 7, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  17. OneAmerica

    So what! What about reporting on NAFTA? Turns out it was the Clinton campaign that really gave a wink for Canada not to worry. The Canadian government has launched an investigation to find out why it was leaked that the Obama campaign contacted the goverment official instead of the TRUTHfully saying the Clinton campaign contacted Canada!

    March 7, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  18. Ryan

    The Obama aide was simply telling it like it is. Hillary is only telling people what they want to hear so she can get elected. I don't know why all Clinton backers can't see that Hillary only got to where she is today by riding the coattails of her husband. She doesn't have all this "vast experience" that she claims. Plus, she is flat out rude, mocking Obama at every chance she gets like when she mocked his speeches by saying, "the clouds are going to suddenly open and change is going to happen", or stealing his "yes we can" phrase and changing it to "yes we will" in her speech. She's a ruthless monster.

    March 7, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  19. Stephen

    Obama claims he is ready to hit the ground running on day one yet he cant even control what his advisors are saying behind his back. First the NAFTA issue and now this. Obama needs to take control of his people.

    Hillary '08

    March 7, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  20. Jessica

    She is a monster.

    March 7, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  21. Amy in Iowa

    Maybe she should have chosen for Hillary the term Larry David called her today: "SYBIL."

    March 7, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  22. bill pike

    If it is true that the clintons are not monsters, how come they have 2 heads in hillary and "i never had sex with that little girl" billy. Am i the only one who remembers that billy ball lied under oath-doesn't that make him a monster. if you doubt this look up monster in webster. all the scandals and "not a monster". able to loan their campaign $5,000,000 that was saved up on a salary??? good financial planner someplace.

    March 7, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  23. Paul

    Senator Obama doesn't want to go negative like the Clinton campaign is more than will to. But that does not mean the media should not report on happenings like Rezko, "I haven't been really proud", and the Canadian NAFTA ordeal that turned out to be falsely focused on Obama rather than Clinton costing Obama votes in Ohio, Texas, Vermont, and Rhode Island. So where is the coverage of the Peter Paul election fraud case being successfully delayed until November after the elections wil be over. This a media responsibility to put it out there.

    Look it up, PETERPAUL.COM. If the media won't report on it do your own research. This is just one of many cases the media should be reporting but chooses not to for whatever reasons. Clinton is a monster and is more than will to throw the kichen sink with the garbage disposal fully functioning.

    March 7, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  24. Phil

    All of a sudden the Obama camp is having to retract just about everything they say; and the explanation always is that the coments were not approved by Obama. I seem to recall a lot of posts on CNN from Obama supporters earlier in the campaign to the effect of "if Clinton can't control her advisers, how can she be President?" Maybe now the Obama camp and supporters will retract those comments too?

    March 7, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  25. It's A Race Race, Stupid

    Samantha Powers sounds like the moron she is. Was she hired at Harvard to fill a quota? Undoubtedly.

    March 7, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
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