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. Apple Pie

    A lot of people work in political campaigns. They all have opinions that their candidate disagrees with.

    I like Obama and I could work for his campaign, but I believe that we need to stay in Iraq to protect the Iraqis that worked with us and for us. If I expressed that opinion to the press, does that say anything at all about Obama's opinion on the same subject? Of course not.

    I like Clinton and I could work for her campaign. I believe that the US should withdraw from NAFTA. Does that mean Clinton believes the same way? Of course not.

    April 8, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  2. Ed, Santa Fe NM

    Like Bush, Hillary has absolutely no grasp on reality. Every disaster within her campaign is brushed off as being unimportant. Didn't she hire these people? She has lied over and over again about her experience and then brushed off the lies after being caught.

    Nothing about millionnaire Hillary (who claims to be blue collar) is true or trustworthy. She simply yaps and yaps (like Bush) as though the act of SAYING makes something true.

    Hillary is NOT presidential material.

    April 8, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  3. Natalie

    Hillary, if your idea of ready on Day ONE is getting Penn to manage your conflicts of interest- you are in REAL trouble...

    April 8, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  4. PJ, New York Independent

    Patrick, I SO agree with you about the nasty comments from the Obama supporters. I think they are forgetting thought that a HUGE percentage of the Clinton supporters are going to be needed in order for Obama to pull it off in November. The fact is, there will be quite a few million of those Clinton supporters that will vote for McCain in the general election.

    April 8, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  5. Rich

    Hillary has to keep Penn on her staff, cause she owes him 12 million dollars ($12,000,000) from the campaign contributions. She also has to attack Barack with old allegations to move attention away from her own staff's proven actions. What is also disturbing is her blind followers believe there really isn't any conflict of interest here. SAD

    April 8, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  6. R.

    Hillary never concedes anything.

    April 8, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  7. ltd1974

    Hillary! You think you can do what ever you wish, and expect the public to ride the Clinton's wave. Heck No, I'm voting for Obama. Obama ran a better campaign then you and also managed the financial matters better. So many lies in this campaign,. NO TRUST for Hillary

    April 8, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  8. April in Texas

    More lies and such as why is Penn in any way shape form or fashion still involved in your campaign period. The Canada thing was explained by the canadians and that it was the Clinton camp that originally set that up. Hillary will be no better for our country than Bush is now. No words that you speak can convience me as you have lied way to many times. Obama is a better man than you are a woman. You insult our inteligence and can not only accept responsibility but lie trying to cover it up and blame others for your faults and blunders. You are destroying morals and beliefs in many children around the world. You are no kind of leader I want for my children..

    Obama 08

    April 8, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  9. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    I have always liked what Gergen had to say, but not last night. I think
    the facts on the Canadian Nafta deal are wrong. Wasn't Bill in Canada
    two nights before the Ohio Primaries stirring thepot??Gergen needs tto admit the Clintons are skunks!!!!!!!!!

    April 8, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  10. jim

    Pennsylvania voters wont be lied to like OHIO was.
    Pennsylvania blue collar workers will not vote for HIl–BIL in Pennsylvania
    Every day lies come out of the Clinton campaign...
    How much longer do the Pennsylvania voters have to listen to her spill out garbage every day???????
    Lies-lies-- lies-–
    HOW LOW WILL SHE GO????????????

    April 8, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  11. Ed, Santa Fe NM

    and SHUT HER UP about Michigan and Florida.... The states broke the party rules and Hillary agreed to NOT count their votes (as per DNC rulings)...until she started plummeting in the polls. Hillary is dishonest and not trustworthy.

    April 8, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  12. Terry Williams

    I think CNN needs to broadcast the truth to the Obama supporters out there that NO ONE from Clinton's campaign spoke with the Canadian govt. When that was revealed, CNN was hush hush about it that she wasn't involved. HOwever, there was proof that Obama's Austan Goolsbee did talk to the Canadian government when a memo about the contents of the conversation surfaced and Obama just siad taht the Canadians misinterpreted what Goolsbee said.

    It was Obama, not Clinton. Obama supporters, get the facts straight!

    April 8, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  13. Larry from LA

    What is Hillary kidding about Mr. Penn not be damaging to her campaign. What ever she is on I want some of that.

    April 8, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  14. we wanh hillary, not mccain...screw him.

    Way to go Hillary, good job. You're such an honest person. LOL

    April 8, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  15. jon

    very poor management of this campaign just like obama's but it's hillary or mccain in 2008 for me. obama change gig is all show and a farce.

    April 8, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  16. Think - FL

    It already did?

    She sucks. Spin it Hillary... Spin it!

    April 8, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  17. Allison, NH

    At some point, us Democrats will have to make amends and vote for either Obama or Clinton in the general election....whomever comes out as the winner in June.

    It is so sad reading these posts and knowing our party is completely divided. Espeically since, on most critical issues, Clinton and Obama are in line with eachother.

    Do I wish Obama would finally secure the nomination – ABSOLUTELY. But one thing for sure...as much as I distrust Clinton and wish she was being more honest with the American people....I'd take her over McCain and another 100 years in Iraq any day!!


    April 8, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  18. Adam

    Penn does speak for her, Bill doesn't speak for her, she herself misspoke; so who should we beleive then? who should speak for her?

    She hired a guy and now pretend she doesn't know who else this guy is advising? on other hand asking Obama to fire someone who didn't even commit any sin.

    Get a life and let McCain and Obama fight it out for the Whitehouse to restore US image around the world.

    Otherwise, you are going to extend "W" 8 years of lies for an other term, which will be disasterous for the US.

    April 8, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  19. Roger

    AJ, Obama isn't going to be able to clinch the nomination. Hillary has more super-delegates for her so far. I think that Hillary has just as much chance to win this as Obama. So all of the Obama supporters that wake up from this fantasy of angels singing in the heavens, please donate and/or volunteer to the Clinton campaign.

    April 8, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  20. True Independent, MD

    How anyone could think that Sen Clinton will not be trounced by Sen McCain beats me. The woman comes from a planet where honesty and integrity were obviously in very short supply.

    April 8, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  21. IH In PA

    These are some of the must-have traits that a person should possess to be a good leader.

    1) Good communication skills (check for both Hillary and Obama)
    2) Honesty (check Obama)
    3) Visionary Outlook (okay, both Obama and Hillary)
    4)Selecting a good team (check Obama)
    5)Action speaks louder than words (check Hillary)
    6)Ability to motivate people (check Obama)
    7)Consistency (check Obama)
    8)Ability to stand against critics(check Obama and Hillary)

    Obama wins this round 7-4.

    April 8, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  22. FloridianforHillary

    I agree with you PJ, They call these voters educated ????

    Trashy is a better word.

    April 8, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  23. jon

    also, with divisions like these between the camps. obama better start kissing the b*tts of hillary supporters if he gets the nomination, because we dont believe in him or his demi-god bs. period!

    April 8, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  24. cc for obama

    First of all, Mark Penn can't damage her campaign anymore that she already has with all of her lies!

    Mark Penn admitted speaking with the Columbian government, it's not a made up story. If anyone really believes that Hillary didn't know that this was happening, then they need to question the choices she has made for her campaign staff. She must have checked their credentials just liked she checked the facts of the Ohio hospital story!

    What actions has she taken?? He's still actively involved in her campaign.

    It wasn't Obama's advisers that spoke with the Canadian government regarding NAFTA, it was Hillary's, just check out youtube for some interesting videos.

    Hillary, before you open your mouth, check the facts! You have lied so much, that no one will ever believe another thing you say.

    I hope the states that have upcoming primaries open their eyes, and see through the Clinton smoke-screen.

    April 8, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  25. Cox

    I have never seen this woman own up to anything! Amazing!

    April 8, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
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