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. player9

    HILLARY IS A MONSTER! Ms.Powers is only stating the facts. Hillary is deceiving voters.

    March 7, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  2. Kat

    the stories are coming out that it was the Clinton campaign who instigated the entire Nafta-gate affair........ once more in history, a slick Clinton attempt to gain a win using slimy politics. Lying and corruption is not beyond the scope of this family......... Obama needs to get tough.

    Also, when all is said and done and counted in the Texas caucus, it appears that Obama will have won a higher percentage of voters in that state. That would give him more delegates and a right to proclaim that Texas is a win for HIM. But, just watch the whining that will go on in the Clinton camp if that happens !!!!!

    March 7, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  3. ABG

    This is the second advisor of Obama's group that has shown poor judgement with comments. Does anyone really believe his advisor got on a plane to Canada to talk about NAFTA without his knowledge and approval? If he didn't know, that surely indicates he chose an inner circle that goes their own way. Since he lacks so much in experience, can we really trust he will be able to manage and choose an effective team if elected? If this is any indication, it does not appear he "can". Actions will ALWAYS speak louder than WORDS!

    March 7, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  4. Stephanie - Omaha

    People need to research the candidates before making
    suck remarks.

    If you wonder if Clinton can win, be sure to read
    Carl Bernstein's – A Woman in Charge.


    March 7, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  5. Julie

    I agree with powers 100%

    March 7, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  6. DAK

    Why is this type of thing considered newsworthy? Off-the-record comments, not made by the candidate, immediately retracted – what does this have tyo do with the campaign for president?

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

    Oh wow. This lady needs to be fired. Obama doesn't support this type of negative campaigning and neither do I as one of his supporters. Calling her a monster is not cool. To say she's deceiving matter how true, is up to the voters to decide. I can't believe one in Obama's camp has stooped to her level. Call it offense, call it whatever, but Obama is perfectly capable of playing offense himself and doesn't need help to go on the attack and can do it in a morally correct manner, unlike Bill and Hillary.

    March 7, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  8. John

    Of course as Obama always says, it was taken out of context. Is that
    all they know to do? Lie and smear,call people names. Well what can you expect? They're just doing as Obama does. That's all he knows how to do.He's now having Canadian government lie for him. Kinda makes you wonder what he's PROMISED them, doesn't it
    He now has a raido spot in MIssissippi, telling them that Clinton said al lot of bad things about them when she was in Iowa. If that's true, which I doubt, how come nothing has been said by the media? The y every opportunity to bash her.

    March 7, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  9. Marco

    Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton. Do we really want the same two families running the country for some 30+ years. America wake up!

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

    I think she (SP) was correct the first time....and I can add some other "colorful" adjectives to the mix....starting with, it rhymes with "rich."

    HRC disgusts me...

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


    WOW! OBama is certainly understanding the power of the CLINTONS..

    Damage control?? He cannot win the big states..He has won Red states that are Anti HIllary!!


    March 7, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  12. Caimon

    Is this a meltdown? Obama's campaign leaders/advisors are crumbling after his defeats. How would they withstand the Republican's effective political machinery? They are becoming nasty toward Clinton. These actions are unprofessional.

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

    The were being kind to B I have some choice words to describe Hillary Clinton the Queen of Entitlement but they arent suitable for record (smile).

    March 7, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  14. brenda

    Guess my vote will be for a "monster".

    March 7, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  15. Carl

    Nothing on the Canadian newspaper that said the whole NAFTA spiel wasn't Obama but Clinton? MSNBC at least reported it.

    People are going to say whatever, I don't blame Clinton for comments her advisors make (especially you, Wolfson...), and I won't blame Obama for comments his advisors make, but as this battle between Hillary and Obama has dragged out I find myself losing confidence in and respect for both candidates.

    I don't think I can quite stomach McCain, so I guess I'll be looking closely at who our third party candidates are this year.

    March 7, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  16. M. S. Indiana

    monster or republican... which is worst

    March 7, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  17. Sillyseason?

    Silly Season of polticis is upon us...

    HIllary Clitnon will win!! Fight Hillary Fight!

    March 7, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  18. Louis

    I bet the republicans are just sitting back and watching how the democrats self destroy. This is not about Obama or Hillary but about the America we love. If an agreement is not reached SOON between the Obama Camp and the Hillary Camp there is a huge chance we will again loose the election in November and this time leaving millions of new voters disillusioned and disappointed. The first order of business of the next president is to fix this election mess and make some sense out it and bring it back from the dark ages. SOME REAL OVERHAUL!!!

    To the Obama and Hillary camp please chill out and help to solve the situation with Michigan and Florida disenfranchised voters because of lousy leadership.

    March 7, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  19. slim

    I agree with Mr. Powers’ all those year of experience has made Hillary a political monster. She won’t be answering your calls at 3:am; she will be coming out of your kids closet or under the bed. She’s he character in Monster Incorporated.

    March 7, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  20. Trev

    It is amazing to see on the blogs today how many Obama supporters are happy about this comment.

    If you are an undecided voter, please ask yourself if it is OK to call a wife, mother and a person supported by half the Democratic electorate. Obama had to distance himself from the comment, but we know that Powers is one of the people on the campaign who most accurately represents what Obama thinks. This is the politics of hate, not hope.

    Hillary 08

    March 7, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  21. sky

    It's sad when you have to apologize for the truth

    March 7, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  22. JJ in NY

    What's to apologize for ? Powers spoke the truth and the truth hurts. Everyone who knows hillary knows that she is a power-hungry, self-serving ideologue .

    March 7, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  23. Celina Bean

    I am a registered democrat, who has not decided for whom I will vote. I hope that we are not now getting into the politics of destruction. I like a good and fair debate, however, winning at any cost is a turn off to me and I will most likely vote for the candidate who turns the other cheek and who stays focused on the true issues. The "He Said, She Said" stuff is petty and makes the candidate look like a third grader. I cannot support an adult who acts like a third grader, and trust their judgement in terms of running our country.

    March 7, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  24. Nando, Florida

    what did she say that was not true???

    You go Girl!!!!!!!!

    March 7, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  25. stephane

    She is a monster and it is about time that Barack stop petting a rattle snake.......he will get bitten every time. Hillary is pulling out all the stops with a smile on her face and showing Barack as weak and incapable of strong leadership.........If everyone in his campaign and he, himself cannot see that, then I have misplaced my vote. WAKE UP and come out of that reactive stupor. It is unbecoming of the future president of the most powerful nation in this century.

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