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. NY

    I can't wait for the Obama supporters to spin this. This is possitive politics when he has people in his campaign that talk about this.

    March 7, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  2. Lisa, VA

    Funny thing. It is the truth. Billary is a "monster". A two-faced lieing NAFA conspiracy, rule-breaking, dispacble political "monster"
    The truth cause offense but it is not a sin. Lies, decits, falsehood. How in all that is goodness and DEMOCRATIC that can we democrats support Billary who LOATHES losing to Barack Obama sooo much the SHE ENDORSED Republican nominee McCain, three timess!! How?

    March 7, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. gagall

    Wonder which Obama she's parroting? Michelle, Barack or both? Politics of hope my rear...

    March 7, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  4. Jack

    That advisor should be fired immediately. I'm an Obama supporter and I just simply don't like that tone and I thought his campaign was above that. Please remove her from your campaign. It's childish and coming from a professor at Harvard is really disheartening.

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

    I seriously doubt Obama would say or what something like this said in his campaign, not fair to him.

    I'm a Hillary supporter. Everyone should go to and and read and view the videos of what real people say about them.

    March 7, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  6. Hobs

    Obama's people have now made gaffs in Canada AND Scotland. He is making us look ridiculous. He is clearly not "in charge." Nothing more than a "speech in a suit" ... with overly aggressive "handlers."

    March 7, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  7. Reasonable

    At this point, I'm done with quibbling about who is the better democratic hopeful - I just don't want George W McCain as our next president. Go Hillary, Go Obama, Go Whoever. Just one of you please beat McCain.

    March 7, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  8. anon

    Since Obama has NO foreign policy experience, is this the kind of person he is relying on?

    March 7, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |

    She is a MONSTER, a fear-war mongering monster. AND I AM NOT APOLOGIZING.

    OBAMA '08

    March 7, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  10. bobbi

    My feeling is, Billary is a monster and running a sleeze campaign, unlike Senator McCain, Senator Huckabee, and Senator Obama....I feel Senator Obama has got to get people to see who the Clintons really are....her campaign has thrown out so many false story leads and the press is afraid she will whine again if she doesn't get her way so the press has done her dirty bidding for her.....shameful....I would hate to see she and Bill get anywhere near the White House again...scary.

    March 7, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  11. RM

    I support Obama, but I think that he really has a tough challenge of defending himself and making "contrasts" without mud-slinging and turning negative...It's just been way too negative on both sides, and it only hurts us in November.

    This primary has gotten frustrating to watch because nothing has been decided and they both look petty.

    March 7, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  12. Cindy,

    Can't believe CNN is posting this. This is all part of the OBAMA mania. We are all so tired of the "silly season" of politics.

    March 7, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  13. jenn

    Why is CNN wasting news space with this garbage? Insults from a behind-the-scenes policy wonk? Gee, alert the media!

    It seems like CNN hyperfocuses on the juicy, gossipy bits of political "news" and never touches the really important issue-based stuff....such as the fact that the Canadian government was behind the false "NAFTAGate" accusations against Barack Obama before the Ohio primary.

    A foreign government trying to influence the outcome of American elections? Pretty important. Playground insults? Who CARES?

    In doing this kind of thing, CNN lowers the level of political discourse and leaves big political decisions in the hands of the knee-jerk, low-information voters who can turn to CNN to get fodder for their low-brow habits, rather than information that might cause them to think more deeply about real issues. It's shameful.

    March 7, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  14. smith

    I would have said the same and more..



    but .. then, THAT IS THE OLD WAY ..



    no matter what the expense (in lives and souls)

    USUALLY ..

    it would be so heartening for THAT WAY TO CHANGE

    March 7, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  15. mary c

    If she can't say it , I will. She is a monster.

    March 7, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  16. Lesley

    Wow... you'd think Obama's staff would be smarter than to say something like that. Again, the inexperience shows!

    Hey CNN, can we get some updated National Polls on the main site? I'm curious if anything has changed since February 22!

    March 7, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  17. Independent Voter

    McCain is looking better and better.

    March 7, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  18. A. Harrison

    What a mouth on the Obama people. We may all dip into that linguistically now and again, but if you're serious about getting your candidate elected you need to watch what you say at all times.

    1 more strike for the Obama camp showing an Obama administration would not be ready!

    Hillary 2008!

    March 7, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  19. bob

    She is right

    March 7, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  20. Streetjustiz

    Ummm....but its true. She really is a monster, and she has stooped to an all time low. Its just a fact that people are not willing to say. Wait to go growing a spine obama's backer.

    March 7, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  21. jerome


    Isn't she?

    March 7, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  22. glakegirl

    Well she is a monster. Finally someone called it like it is.

    March 7, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  23. Ali

    Good for her, at least she apologized, which cannot be said for the Clinton campaign people after lying about NAFTA . BTW why is CNN not reporting about that? So much for being neutral...

    March 7, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  24. LostFigs

    This was said to yet another foreign government. What's up with that? Doesn't Obama have control of his people who keep going off to foreign consulates and newspapers to discuss our national matters? Do we really want an overly apologetic President who looks to other governments for approval?

    March 7, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  25. ams40

    Obama is outstanding and deserves better than Powers. Powers words were childish and mean spirited, and, I imagine, damaging to his campaign.
    No one is forced to vote for Clinton or support her. There is simply no justification for such blatantly insulting and cruel comments towards a Senator.

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