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. Stephanie, PA

    Every time Sen. Clinton opens her mouth a pack of lies flies out! I find it extremely difficult to believe anything she says or find any sincerity in her words. She may be telling the truth on some of this, but how are we to believe her?

    I voted for Pres. Clinton twice and was prepared to vote for Sen. Clinton in this election until November '07 when I took a closer look at Sen. Obama. I'm so glad I made the choice to support his campaign at that time.

    It's sad to see Sen. Clinton's talent wasted by her egotism, need for control and her need to win at any cost. Very, very unfortunate.

    April 8, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  2. Sugar ~n~ Spice

    I am glad she got rid of him!!! He was killing her slowly. I will continue to support you Hillary.

    April 8, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  3. For the love of this independent

    For once could she have the dignity to take responsibility for her own camp actions without trying to deflect. It makes her sound so childish. I am sorry. It is like being back on the playground. So what you want to about Barack Hussein Obama, but when it comes to these campaign, I would want this country ran like Obama's campaign whether than Hillary's.

    April 8, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  4. What?

    The Canadians stated that it was not Obama's aid that mentioned NAFTA. In fact, the Canadians revealed that it actually was Clinton's aid w/ whom they had the conversation about NAFTA, and they apologized to Obama for the mistake.

    Again, Mrs. Clinton skews the facts, oooops, I mean "misspeaks". What ever comes out of her mouth has proven to be an unequivicol LIE! Watch out for that sniper fire, Hill

    April 8, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  5. Alexandra

    Just like Hillary to blame Obama when she gaffs.
    What does Obama have to do with this?
    You are toast Hillary.

    April 8, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  6. Tim in Arkansas

    Yeah, we are getting pretty used to seeing people leave the Clinton Campaign. Campaign Manager, Top Strategist, various advisors, long term Clinton Supportors, and even Superdelegates are jumping off the Clinton Titanic all the time. Jump before it sinks!!!!

    April 8, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  7. Realistic

    BTW, Hillary, if you wanted Michigan and Florida counted, then why did you agree that they should not be counted? Or was that agreement just another of your many lies?

    April 8, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  8. Fed Up With Her

    Sure she says it's not damagingt. One thing you can count on with Hillary is she will be dismissive of anything or anyone that gets in the way of her quest for power, control, and greed.

    She dismisses small business owners to whom she owes money, small states, red states, caucus states, voters in South Carolina when she felt betrayed by them, Bill Richardson's endorsement of Obama, and if she gets back in the White House she will dismiss the wishes of everyone of us voters.

    There are a lot of open questions on this alliance with Colombia . Further probing showed her Finance Manager had discussions with Colombia as well.

    So, Hillary don't tell me it won't hurt. The problem has not been "vetted" as you would say. The fact that you still have Penn VERY ACTIVE in your campaign speaks volumes. He just got caught making a deal and it will be exposed that Bill Clinton is very invested in getting that free trade deal done to line his pockets. You can cry foul why he does backdoor deals.

    April 8, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  9. SN from MN

    Based on the posts in most blogs I read, the typical Obama blogger must be about twelve.

    April 8, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  10. Eric - Chicago

    What a load of rubbish.

    The situation with Obama's economic advisor is totally different, not to mention Hillary's campaign got busted for actually reaching out to Canada to tell them not to worry about her "tough talk" on NAFTA, whereas Obama's economic advisor made clear that reforms for NAFTA would be in the works that would force more strict environmental and labor standards so all nations stood on equal ground.

    Penn was ACTIVELY LOBBYING for CAFTA... Obama's advisor was doing nothing of the sort.

    April 8, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  11. Paul

    Please, Hillary if you consider armchair moving a kind of action then you better think again. The truth is that Hillary, like George Bush junior, think loyalty is everything. She will sacrifice the interest of the nation and her own intergrity to maintain a loyalty to a friend. Mr. Penn has no business being around your campaign after what he did.

    April 8, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  12. Muruga

    Clintons seem to lie on everything...

    I will attempt to list out the popular ones..

    First it was the the "experience" tale

    Then came the "ready-on-day-one" weave

    Then the "running-under-sniper-fire" story

    And the "woman-without-insurance-died" blame

    Now its "I-dont-have-connections-to-the-columbians" tale..

    Atleast now I can use these as ice-breakers at golf games

    April 8, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  13. FN

    Yes, I agrre with Walt, bill clinton is the worst prsident in history about
    bribe money. That why $15Millions book deal he got advance + lots money behide. Why American still want hillary back to White House. Do not send money to them. They make more than 20Millions on they own, instead send to her all of you should send direct to Charity must better.

    April 8, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  14. Cameron

    Regardless of the truthfullness of her statements, she could really go an interview without blasting Obama. Simmer down, Hillary. Help your party.

    April 8, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  15. Marc in DeKalb, IL

    Oh, and a little update on the polls in Pennsylvania:

    ARG* shows an even score for a poll conducted 04/05 to 04/06.
    Quinnipiac shows Clinton up by 6 points for a poll conducted 04/03 to 04/06.

    I guess Pennsylvania *is* waking up, and they're realizing they had a really bad dream...

    (North Carolina is waking up, too, the latest PPP and Rasmussen polls both indicate he has a more than 20 point lead on Clinton there)

    ... it's OVER.

    Time has shown the longer Obama has to campaign (and the longer Clinton has, too) ... the better Obama does. Given the dead heat in a number of states, and the overwhelming lead in North Carolina, as well as the completely disintegrated double digit lead Clinton lost in PA... she'll need to win more than 80% of the superdelegates remaining to become the nominee.

    ***STEP OUT NOW***

    April 8, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  16. independent

    I am an independent who has been leaning towards voting for the democrats, but the way how Senator Hillary handles these issues is really turning me off. It is unbelievable how she compares her response to Senator Obama. Sometimes you have to face issues straight on and be genuine about them. I don't think I can ever vote for her after seeing her response.

    April 8, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  17. Candace

    curiously, this sounds like something that would come out of Mark Penn's mouth......guess that's why he is still her advisor after a public demotion of title.

    that's it, he no longer has an official title...but he's obviously lurking behind the scenes.

    April 8, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  18. Tom

    Hillary I dont trust I said that in the beginning of your campaign you knew what Penn was doing. I wondering why you saying he resign but he is still working on your campaign as a staff member.

    April 8, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  19. Sunny

    Because she says it is so she truly believes her stories. Come on Hillary the public isn't that stupid. You should be crowned the Queen of Liars.

    April 8, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  20. Mary

    This is more the she said , he said game. I become very frustrated when anyone, that wont take responsibility for their own actions without trying to turn the conversation to someone else.
    She made a statement that she wouldnt have tolerated anyone on her campaign doing what there is no proof of the Obama people doing.
    She is mincing words, and the right thing to do is to release this individual from her campaign, and to move forward, isnt she the one that said refute isnt good enough that you have to renounce and refute.
    Now she is calling to boycott the opening of the olympics, if the American people look inward their treatment of Katrina victims, inner city poverty, racial profiling I am not sure the US is the country to stand up and point fingers. The Clintons did nothing about China when they were in office, now it is th newest political hot potatoe and she is jumping in , she should have jumped into Lousinana if she really cared

    April 8, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  21. Eric-PA

    KY for Obama,

    Where did you get that information from? Hillary's campaign gave the wink-wink to Canadian officials? In your dreams. Never happened. Get the facts straight before you open your mouth.

    April 8, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  22. Chris

    All of you need to start looking at HER record not Bill Clinton's....

    I love the story out of the Washington Post about Hillary's so called flap on the hospital in Ohio... She was pretty accurate come to find out... once again the media should appologize and set the record straight for the next 2 weeks... there is no media bias during this primary season...

    April 8, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  23. MD in GA

    Funny how Hillary can't take a hit without trying to deflect. Everytime her campaign gets caught with their "pants down" she tries to throw a grenade at Barack Obama. No one in their right mind expects Obama to be perfect but, Hillary I can tell you, this kind of mud slinging is not attractive. Not attractive at all and frankly makes me more sure then ever that I am voting for the right person. Here's a hint – it ain't you...

    April 8, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  24. Mike

    Of all the nerve, trying to compare this to a supposed incident with an Obama rep that NEVER happened! AND, to suggest that she moved on this quickly is so disingenuous. Her campaign has know that Penn's conflicts of interest were disasters waiting to happen for over a year. Talk about mismanaging one's campaign!

    As a one time supporter of Clinton's, I have lost all respect for her.

    April 8, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  25. True Independent, MD

    I cannot wait to see how the PA voters vote. It will say a lot about what type of human being they are looking for to be the next President.

    April 8, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
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