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. maria

    OBAMA is NOT DIVISIVE? BS. I have heard from state after state about how well trained supporters from CAMP OBAMA are so arrogant. It is modeled from OBAMA, he is ARROGANT. When is the media going to stop painting him as a saint or should I say pimping him out.


    March 7, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  2. Inez

    Inexcusable as the comments made by Powers are, they actualy go down to the heart of what most Democratic party supporters are feeling at the moment.
    HRC is running such a negative campaign that we have to be concerned about whether or not this kind of person is whom we want to represent our country and furthermore what damage is she doing to the party in terms of the final face off against the Republicans.

    March 7, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  3. TheLeftNut

    How is Obama gonna unite the country if his people can even get along with a fellow democrat.

    Comon guys! Wise up!

    March 7, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  4. Barack 08

    This is the time that Obama needs to show that he can use is authority and fire her... that will show people that more than ever that he has judgment and isn't afraid to act when the time is right...

    Even though i think Hilary is a monster...

    March 7, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  5. Kirk

    Amazing. Now people have to apologize for telling the truth. Political Correctness run wild. This is a political campaign, not a high school debate. Critical issues are at stake here. If you think that rabid partisianship and hard questions are new to American politics, you should go back and read the newspapers from the early 1800's!

    Personally I can't stand any of the remaining three candidates. I fear for my country.

    March 7, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  6. California Independent

    Remember that little 'pledge' Obama made at the beginning of the campaign.... if anyone goes negative, they will be fired.... Ha! Ha! Obama hasn't fired one single person for the garbage they have been doing.

    Yet another example of how he is just like Bush. Do any sleazy thing you want and you will always have job security with Bush/Obama. Being just like Bush is so new.

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

    So....the Clinton campaign is upset that people in the Obama camaign are adopting Hilary's tactics???

    Do as I say and not as I do I suppose.

    March 7, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. memaw

    I would like to know if Clinton will bring back the things her and her husband stole out of the white house when they left why haven't we heard any more of that subject? Bush did not elaborate on that story he just swepted it under the rug

    March 7, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  9. lily

    clinton is pretty low..but leave the name calling for the street gutterers.
    Well done Obama for denouncing the name calling.
    But I'm not running for president , and Im a white chef, so no one will think twice of me if I say this, ' Hilary , You are a monster!"

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

    Go Hillary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 7, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  11. Vince

    Latest Washington Post poll shows Clinton up on McCain by 6%.

    Latest Pennsylvania polls show Clinton up 15% on Obama, and that's an increase of about 7 points from the last poll taken.

    Latest polls show Obama up by 4 or 5% on Clinton in North Carolina and that's about 10 points tighter than previous polls.

    March 7, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  12. Amy in Iowa

    The Clinton campaign is conveniently throwing out these type of distractions to take the news away from their latest blunder. This time it being the Ken Starr reference.

    March 7, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  13. David, Dallas Tx

    Obama decries such comments on the rare occasion his campaign people make them.

    Clinton could never do the same on the many occasions her campaign people made such comments.

    One cares more for ethics than scoring points. The other cares more for scoring points than for ethics.

    March 7, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  14. Bill

    So the great uniter's campaign isn't going to be negative or do politics as it has been done in the past. I guess the change that Obama's camp has brought to politics is going to be name-calling and being sore losers. He instantly went negative after losing Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island. His high-minded policies only last as long as things go his way. If the campaign is this devisive how is he going to change the political scene in Washington. His version of hope is hype.

    March 7, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  15. Harvey

    Chuck Todd is right..both campaigns hate eachother as do supporters of each candiate..McCain will win the general as neither Clintor or Obama suppoters will support their rival."Hillary 08

    March 7, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  16. d-stuff

    I CAN believe that she said this. Obama supporters are more negative than any Hillary supporters I have ever met. They think they deserve the nomination. Nobody deserves anything. Let it play out the way it should. No coronations in this country.

    March 7, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  17. Theresa

    But did he REJECT it ? sorry I couldn't resist....go HILLARY

    March 7, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  18. MIke A

    Here's just another example of how phony Obama and his campaign really are. I thought he was about change but when you have attack ads on tv and the radio that's the "same old politics" that he wants to change. Obama is just like any other politician and thats why he wont win the nominee

    HILLARY '08!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 7, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  19. Jean, Indiana

    I believe Hildebeast is the general term used.

    March 7, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  20. question

    wow...........he is not ready.........this reflects on his experience ....he does not have good judgment picking staff members to represent his vision.....two goofs....and he is not even the president yet?

    March 7, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  21. Laura Long

    Senator Obama apologized – something the Clinton's should learn to do. Let's move on in a positive manner – Clinton camp stop sending photos of Obama in turbans to the press, questioning his religion, questioning his patriotism.

    March 7, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  22. vl

    Question.... If Sen. Obama can't control his own staff now (top foreign policy advisor, and "NAFTA memo maker"), will he be able to handle the job as Commander in Chief? I think not.

    March 7, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  23. Ron

    The slander being thrown at Hillary will go down in flames as she has the momentum and will continue to the end.The people have rallied behind her.And if she can get to will de a done deal and the super delagats should to whats best to end this by supporting her

    March 7, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  24. TS

    I am going to predict what is going to happen in this thread. Since their are no comments potested yet you can see how accurate I am.

    The Clinton supporters will say this is proof that Obama is desperate and that he is a typical politcian. The Obama supports will turn this into proof that Hillary sucks. In the end we will have the two democratic hopefuls beating each other up to win the nomination that they will most likely lose because teh supporters of whoever isn't at the top of the ticket will most likely be so upset that they will either not vote, or vote for McCain out of spite.

    Gratz DNC, way to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.

    March 7, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  25. Edwin Portland

    Rather astute observation, really.

    March 7, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14