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. John

    Some people’s fascination with and support of Hilary Clinton, despite all her lies and “mis-spoke” incidents is quite mystifying, bordering on blind acceptance. This is not about gender or some media conspiracy as some people try to make it out to be, but rather, it is about trust and credibility, and the scarcity of truth in Hilary’s statements. I do not wish anyone, including my children, to live under the presidency of someone whose entire presidential campaign is based on the distortion of the facts and sheer deception of the public.

    April 8, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  2. Ren

    Senator Clinton as usual tries to focus on the opposition and not realley address any situation. When she does talk about herself and her experiences, she then claims memeory lapses when proven to be not truthful. Not a good person to lead a country.

    April 8, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. piecrust

    The Obama/NAFTA/Canadian issue was always true and you people refused to accept it! They were so good in downplaying the whole thing, his advisers were so good in "acting" as if it never happened.

    April 8, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. Maxine

    Why is it everything she gets caught in, she has to turn it around and blame Obama for something.

    Take the heat, say yes we had a problem, we took care of it end of story.

    No she has to point the finger at what about Obama. Lady stand up and be accountable on your terms not what someone else did or didn't do.

    That is what a REAL President does on day 1, take accountablility. Geeze this is like George Bush all over again.

    April 8, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  5. Marie

    Let me see, it matters when an Obama advisor makes an offhand comment during a tour, but it doesn't matter that her senior advisor is directly involved in negotiations. How long has she known that Mark Penn was involved in the Columbian Free Trade Agreement? Also, some of her advisors talked with Canadian Government officials before the Obama advisor did. Yes Hillary, it goes directly to your creditability, or should I say lack of. This should matter to the voters in Pennsylvania who have lost jobs. Wake up Democrats!

    April 8, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  6. Kareem from Hampton VA

    Thank you Monica those were my thoughts exactly! We've already had a president that could never admit wrong or accept resonsibility we dont want another! Secondly, CANADA itself cleared the person on Obama's campaign aboutthat mix up! You have no such clearance! GROW UP!! Its hard to believe i was an ADAMANT supporter of hers....

    April 8, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  7. AJ, IL

    Fellow Hope-mongers, do not take foresake the Hillary-supporters. Hillary-supporters are just upset because it is looking ever so real that Hillary will not win the nomination and Bill will not be back in the White house.

    The Hillary Campaign folks are telling Hillary she can still win. Meanwhile Hillary is spending her supporters money to pay off debt and run a campaign where her chance of winning the presidency is at 15%.

    To any disillusioned Hillary-supporters, there is still plenty of room on the Obama train, so please donate and/or volunteer to the Obama campaign.

    April 8, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  8. Phong Nguyen

    There has always been a different standard applied to Hillary Clinton because of her long time public service and her private nature as a woman. S. Obma has charmed people with his message of hope and change without much to show for it because of his relatively short resume and therefore he likes to play down experience in this contest. Hillary has shown her toughness as a fighter which is judged very highly in a man but maybe not in a woman. Hillary has been unfairly judged by most people because they do not look within themselves and try to related themselves to Hillary. S. Obama lies and is forgiven or overlooked but Hillary cannot exaggerate even a little bit without being hollered and jeered.

    April 8, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  9. Gerald F.

    In reading some of these responses, you would think their was a paid organization out there called: 'The Bad Mouthers Against Clinton". I have never read such negatives! Why is that? Are some people out there using hate only as their guide to vote by? So you don't like her as a person. That fine. Its the vileness that is amazing to read. And if she ends up winning and helps clean up the mess left behind by the previous bunch? Oh I am sure these same people will either praise her or say it was all her workers who did it.
    So you didn't like your grade school teacher either. But despite that. You learned how to spell and count anyways?

    April 8, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  10. Wisconsin for Obama

    Thank God Obama had not hit her with that issue. Now he has an opportunity to defend himself by hitting her with it...........LOL . Speak of shooting yourself in the foot. She has no feet left to shoot at.

    April 8, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. piecrust

    Jenn of St. Louis please!

    She sat at the Board for Walmart for her clients not for herself. She's called a member when appointed by a client to attend meetings, she was a corporate lawyer for crying out loud. Try to educate yourselves instead of jumping and accusing, I thought you all are saying that Obama's supporters are bright!

    April 8, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  12. Debbie,NJ

    Patrick like Hillary says, Penn doesn't speak for her, well we don't speak for Obama so stop blaming him for our remarks to her. And likewise, criticize the negative nasty comments made about Obama.
    But like Hillary you see things one sided. That's why you support her I guess.

    April 8, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  13. Felly

    Hillary still owes Mark Penn $2.5M. This is why she has no guts to fire him for fear of being exposed.

    April 8, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  14. Lee WV

    Here she goes again,she screws up and shifts blame over to Obama .I think this is much more serious than the Canadian incident.I only hope the voters in PA see it too.

    April 8, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  15. Peter, Houston Tx

    I have lost every iota of respect for Senator Clinton. Good gracious, that woman is incorrigible! What has Senator Obama got to do with Mark Penn and the Colombians? Why can't Hillary be decent for a moment. Double shame on you mud-slinging Hillary. Your plan is clear to me now "if you can't win the nomination, you'll ruin Obama's chances to be president. You'll never be president. Ever! I regret voting for you. Agghhhh!

    April 8, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. Obama Supporter

    Hillary supporters who actually believe her lies are amazing to me. You blame us Obama supporters for being so mean and ugly when in fact ALL we are doing is commenting on the very things she HAS DONE OR SAID. What a joke.

    You blame the media for being mean to poor Hillary, when in fact all they are doing is reporting what comes out of her mouth and what she does. If all she says or does is negative, well it is negative press that gets reported.

    It is not all about POOR HILLARY. This is the very same strategy that was put in motion right before the Texas and Ohio primaries. Believe me when I say, our allies or foreign enemies will not be saying POOR HILLARY if God forbid she were to win.

    April 8, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  17. Floridian

    Good job Hillary.

    Make sure our votes are counted.

    Go Hillary-stay strong-we believe in YOU.

    April 8, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  18. Kim

    Eric-PA watch the news please. The poster KY for Obama is correct. A very high Canadian official corrected the media and advised them it was a Clinton aide that called not an Obama aide. If you believe this is another fairy tale made up by an Obama drone then do something brave and look it up for yourself on You Tube. You will be able to see broadcasters from MSNBC (because you can't trust CNN since they are only pro-Obama) talking about the story.

    April 8, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  19. Elenadia

    Oh puleeze! Hillary has no problem and I am the tooth fairy. Same amount of accuracy.

    April 8, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  20. DKaylan

    Give me great big ole' break, Hillary. You haven't taken any decisive moves on this particular mess that's become a part of your bigger mess of a campaign. As seems to be your trend, you're playing with words and misstating yourself. You haven't removed Penn from your campaign. He may not have the technical title of chief strategist, but I find it funny...no sad and typical...that you say one thing about your displeasure with him and what he's done, and yet he's still attending your campaign meetings first thing Monday morning. Doubt if his role is really changing...behind the scenes it's "business as usual," and you're hoping we'll be gullible enough to believe that it's not just because you change his title and "demote" him. We're tired of trying to figure out what's a lie and what's the truth where your campaig is concerned. Give us Democrats a break and call it a day, PLEASE! We have better things to do – like elect someone who'll really make an open, honest, positive change in our country and how others around the world view us.

    April 8, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  21. Danny in Pittsburgh

    Once again..."not my fault."

    Not being involved in Northern Ireland peace. "I was there, wasn't I? Even if I had nothing to do with the real peace accord."

    Bosnia. "Gee whillakers, I forgot that we weren't under sniper fire. A mistake ANYone could make."

    Nafta: "I was for it before I was against it." Worked for Kerry, didn't it?

    SCHIP: "I started the SCHIP program...umm...wait...I was around when that happened too...THAT counts for something? Me being in the vecinity of things that meant something?"

    The dead mother story. "Well, that's what I heard. Don't blame me, I was using a rumor to scare up votes, rather than find the time to vette one of a 1000 REAL horror stories." What, you expect me to take time from gettting ready to actually research the BS I'm slinging???

    If you want a President without the character to blame himself or herself when it's obvious where fault lies...then you might as well vote for McCain–Bush has exhibited this kind of nearsightedness throughout his tenure.

    God help us all if she steals this thing. It would give us McCain...or she. Different sides of the same, tired coin.

    April 8, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  22. Frank Esper (Ohio)

    If you dont think what others say around you matter to the voters and that what matters to the voters is what the candidate believes...

    ..Then Obviously you agree that the Voters shouldnt care about what Rev Wright says either, since all that matters is what Obama believes

    ..Thanks Clinton, We finnally agree on something

    April 8, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  23. Lydia

    If she opens her mouth, a lie is coming forth. You can't believe anything she says. Ugh! I have had enough of her and to think I had actually considered voting for her.

    April 8, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |

    i dont trust hillary and i will never will trust her

    April 8, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  25. Kevin - IN

    I used to be a Hillary supporter, although not anymore.

    Honestly, her campaign reminds me of the Bush administration in many regards. People have been chosen by loyalty rather than competence. The whole campaign seems to attack the people with alternate opinions, like Richardson, as if he owes the campaign more loyalty than the American people.

    She's hired the wrong people, and made enemies with the wrong people. And still, she can't admit a mistake.

    When Obama's campaign has a similar incident, it's attacked. Now when it happens to Hillary, it's a non-issue. A little consistency would be nice.

    April 8, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
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