April 8th, 2008
09:39 AM ET
12 years ago

Clinton says Penn controversy won’t be damaging


Watch Clinton speak on CNN's American Morning.

(CNN) - Hillary Clinton predicted on Tuesday the recent controversy surrounding her top advisor's meeting with the Colombian government wouldn't prove damaging to her campaign, and suggested she dealt with the matter more definitively than Barack Obama did when he faced a similar situation.

"I don't think [it will hurt], because I think people want to know where I stand," Clinton said on CNN's American Morning, reiterating her opposition to a free trade agreement with the Colombians.

"I find it kind of curious, we took action, and I think it was appropriate," she continued. "Contrast that to Senator Obama's campaign where, as far as I know, nothing was ever done when one of his top economic advisers representing the campaign, unlike Mr. Penn who was not representing the campaign, but Mr. Obama's representative told the Canadian government basically not to pay any attention to what Senator Obama was saying about NAFTA."

The comments are in reference to her campaign's former chief strategist, Mark Penn, who resigned that post over the weekend after news surfaced he had met with the Colombian ambassador in his role as CEO of a P.R. firm to promote a free trade bill Clinton sharply criticizes.

The controversy was reminiscent of that which surrounded Obama shortly before the Ohio primary, when an economic advisor reportedly told a Canadian official Barack Obama wasn't as opposed to NAFTA as he was claiming to be. Clinton sharply criticized the Illinois senator at the time, suggesting he was being disingenuous about his opposition to free trade, and went on to win Ohio by double-digits.

Also in the CNN interview, Clinton made clear she thinks the party's nominee cannot be decided until the votes in Florida and Michigan are factored in.

"We have two major states who are in limbo despite the fact they voted and their votes were certified by their respective secretaries of state, and I was willing to do a re-vote in both states and Senator Obama was not," Clinton said. "I think that if we don't resolve those, then we'll be going forward to the convention."

soundoff (373 Responses)
  1. Chris in IL

    The bottomline is ALL of the candidates have lobbyists working for them... that means OBAMA as well... when he makes cracks about not taking money from an Oil Company (which no candidate can do) or lobbyists... he is stretching the truth...

    Obama is no different from any of the other candidates... he got in with some shady Chicago politicians and backers... he took their money just like every politician does to run for office... Clinton and McCain have more years in the game so of course they may have some shady people in their past... they all do!!!

    Start looking at the issues and facts... stop looking for reasons to not like either candidate... If you look at their track record... Obama voted the same way Clinton did in the Senate... In IL he really did not do much except vote over 150 times as present... the good thing about this primary all of you are starting to see how little experience Obama has... Bush had very little political experience!!!

    April 8, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  2. Levae

    At the end, Hillary will only have those Wig wearing African American Politically sleep women supporting her. Oh, I forgot, The Clintons Purchased the entire Black Civil Right Leaders and the most of the Black Church Leaders. Those Moors will never wake up.

    April 8, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  3. Vinnie

    ...and ANOTHER Clinton lie. Obama did not oppose a revote. What a sleazeball.

    April 8, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. love2008

    What makes her think this wont affect her in the next primaries? It affected Obama in Ohio, hugely. I think she is leaving in denial. It remains to be seen. Her stance on Michigan and Florida tells me something, this woman actually believes this presidency thing is her birthright. Can somebody please stop her before she wrecks this party and cost the democrats their shot at the whitehouse come nov!

    April 8, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  5. Ilona Proud Canadian

    Walt: "if he was still the bribe disposal unit" Thanks for giving us all a laugh in these days when there is so much stress.

    Dan: I think you are very close to the truth! I think it should be changed a little bit, just substitute these words "her very real universe of greed"

    Carolyn: "Facts are Facts" no one need spin anything!

    Realistic: I understand to a certain extent why women back Hillary,.
    I am however, concerned about the older generation (geezers) backing her.

    This raises a serious question for me. Could it be that these same geezers grew up in those days when the black sanition workers had to ride with the garbage in the trucks even at the cost of their lives? Do you think these people still have this mind set today?

    April 8, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  6. Union worker in Indiana

    Stephen, there is a lot of news and other documentation including the First Lady schedules, that detail Ms. Clinton's support of NAFTA at it's onset. While she is in a campaign now where NAFTA is very unpopular, the fact remains that she overwhelmingly supported it during her husband's administration and campaigned FOR it. Now with her campaign advisor heavily involved in the Columbian Free Trade agreement, I find it hard to believe he was there with no prior knowledge. I more believe that this is spin cast out by the Clinton's now that Penn's involvement was sited. He has been in the Clinton fold personally and professionally since their days in the White House – I find it hard to believe the were surprised. In addition, she did not fire him – Penn is still in the campaign. Not firing him completely will be a big campaign issue, I'm sure.

    This is just another misstatment which can be added to an increasingly long list for Ms. Clinton.

    April 8, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  7. Not sleeping at the switch

    Hilllary did NOTHING to "solve " this problem. She just changed the guys title and it is business as usual. He was on the daily call as always. Who does she think she is fooling? She can't fire him. I will bet she is in so deep into the columbia deal she has no where else to go. As a senator no one investigated her. With all of this coming out about her I will be surprised if she keeps her job in New York. Those New Yorkers don't forget.

    April 8, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  8. Paulinus, Canada

    Poor excuse Madam Clinton. Obama had no knowledge of his advisor's meeting when he was first asked about it. That was why he denied it. That was genuine on his part. You were also accused of talking to the Canadians too. Mr Penn's meeting with the Colombians is proof that you want the NAFTA countries to "Take it with a grain of Salt"

    So it is crap talk to say that you handled it better than Obama. The fact is that Mr Penn exposed you, and that is what that matters to the voters. What goes around comes around – Wink Wink

    April 8, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  9. Gail

    Don't people for Obama have anything better to do than sit on the computer all day and post negative remarks about Hillary? Get a job.

    April 8, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  10. Connie

    To so many Hillary supporters: Please STOP YELLING AT US IN CAPITAL LETTERS! What's up with that? I guess you are mighty defensive...with good reason, I'd say.

    Obama '08

    April 8, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  11. t-bone


    1. The act or process of deluding.

    2. The state of being deluded.

    2. A false belief or opinion: labored under the delusion that success was at hand.

    3. Psychiatry A false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence, especially as a symptom of mental illness: delusions of persecution.

    April 8, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  12. mazola

    I can't beleive this.Billary just lies about everything and and tries to throw dust on Obama.I think we have enough......?? Shame on you Hillary.....

    Obama 08.........

    April 8, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  13. Nelson Colorado Springs, Co

    Sen Obama has nothing to with her top advisor's meeting with the Colombian government ,reiterating her opposition to a free trade agreement with the Colombians. Go Obama

    April 8, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  14. Tammy - KCMO

    She didn't take any action. He's still working for her. She's done nothing but lie and coverup since the beginning of her campaign. You have to wonder what promises she's made and to who, and you sure can't believe anything she says.
    She's in a state of denial if she thinks the things that have happened in the past few weeks aren't going to hurt her.
    NAFTA – Clinton, Hospital story – Clinton, Bosnia – Clinton, Penn – Clinton. How many more things will come out that you've lied about???

    April 8, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  15. Tim

    interesting note:
    Current ticker items for Clinton-7
    Obama & Clinton-1

    April 8, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  16. Mary

    it is true that Obama's representative told the Canadian government basically not to pay any attention to what Obama was saying about NAFTA. the Canadian government has confirm that.

    Obama is phony.

    April 8, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. Dee JAY in miami

    you were 4 nafta lady...you only care about yo self

    repub: for OBAMA

    April 8, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  18. Brad


    How does Hillary's campaign represent? Did Penn's business interests overshadow those of the Clintons' campaign. Lies, lies, lies – all the way from "I did not have sexual relations with that woman..." to NAFTA. Patriots place the interests of their country and citizens FIRST.

    The Clinton dynasty, just like the Bush dynasty, have sold out their country along with the needs and expectations of Americans who believe in America, for their own stupid and precious new world order.

    The Clinton dynasty must end before it begins. If Obama gets the nomination he gets my vote, if Hillary gets the nomination, McCain gets my vote, and if it's McCain, my reason is simple – I am willing to sacrifice 4 more years with another idiot in hopes that Americans may wake up.

    My only hope is that we do not wake up to find our country the newest Third World Nation.

    April 8, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  19. H.R.

    "Clinton says Penn controversy won’t be damaging"

    When you wish upon a star...........

    April 8, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  20. sky

    I think it is very important how a person runs their organization in terms of how they will run the country. You have to ask yourself, unemotionally, critically and objectively; how has her campaign run. Are her people working together as a team, does she inspire teamwork and a united front. Are they all on the same page or all they all going off in different directions. does she know what the people in her team are doing.

    Ask yourself this. Is the way her campaign has been run the way you would like to see our country run.

    Do you want people fighting, leaving, argueing amonst themselves, backstabbing, saying one thing and doing another.

    Ask yourself does she inspire people to work with her on a united front. It is a simple question and if you take the emotion out of it...you will see a very obvious answer.

    She has the man responsible for her entire campaign....going off...while he is running her entire campaign....to support something she supposedly does not want.....would this sort of thing work is he were part of her cabinet. This is the sort of helper she collects...the sort of inspiration and loyalty she garners. How will that work for us if she were running or country. she cannot run her family and she cannot run her campaign....why would you give her our country.

    April 8, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  21. jay

    she is just devil and lying machine. that's it.. that's she.

    April 8, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  22. Jean, CANADA

    I am an avid fan of CNN but IF YOU DO NOT GET THE STORY STRAIGHT OF CLINTONS CAMPAIGN ACTUALLY BEING THE ONES THAT SPOKE TO OUR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS I WILL START A PETITION TO BOYCOTT YOUR NEWS CHANNELS!!!!! This story is outrageous!!!! How can you let an UNTRUE story get airtime??? Especially from a chronic LIAR like Hillary??

    OBAMA 08, 12

    April 8, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  23. Doug, DC

    Hey, Get a life, Obama people! April 8th, 2008 10:06 am ET:

    Do you want to know what I didn't like about the Clintons last presidency??

    I didn't like that because of the lies and betrayals, they gave us a republican congress and more importantly, 8 years of the worse preseident EVER!!

    For that, I cannot not forgive them!!

    OBAMA 2008!!

    April 8, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  24. Isaac

    Here she goes again. She knows that it will be very difficult or even impossible so now she is trying to throw Barack under the Straight Talk Express. I think she is making an attempt to soften him up and set up a democratic loss in order for her to say, " look he had his chance and he failed" so vote for me in 2012.

    April 8, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  25. rj

    Penn is still employed by Clinton. Who is she kidding? The news should be reporting that.

    April 8, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
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