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

Clinton says Penn controversy won’t be damaging

CNN

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. 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 unequovical LIE! Watch out for that sniper fire, Hill.

    April 8, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  2. PAT

    There she goes again. She did not take any action, he still is very much a part of the campaign. We know what is really going on. How dumb does she think we are.

    I am a 60+ year old women and it makes me sick to see how she is trying to use us women to get votes. I for one see through her for what she really is. A cheat . She is dishonest and does not care about any of us but herself. I will wait until a women with real values comes along and then I will cast my vote. PLEASE women,do what is right for the country, yourself, your daughters and granddaughters. She does set a good example for any us us. Don't make us all look like stupid fools.

    April 8, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  3. Pam

    Tipical Hillary. Try to devert from your poor judgment!!
    It will not work. Your campaign has been in shambles from "DAY 1"
    You will not pull on PA what you clearly pulled in Ohio.
    Unlike yourself, "We the People" learn from our mistakes.

    April 8, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  4. JMac, MT

    Every time I hear Hillary speak or read her comments I wonder if she is telling the truth. She is not the type of person who should be President.

    April 8, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  5. P Graber

    This is an example of why Hillary should be President. She will handle situations as they come up and she will make sure the situation is RIGHT.

    April 8, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  6. Dennis

    Blame blame blame
    Time to go home Billary!
    We won't let you steal the election by changing the rules

    April 8, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  7. Black Republican, Philly PA

    This is not the only time a staff member of her campaign has stepped down. Hillary has mismanaged her entire team; therefore, she cannot manage this country.

    April 8, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  8. Dillander

    You really took action. He resigned from his position but is still working for your campaign. Its just another smoke and mirrors tatic. I really don't understand why you would compare yourself to Obama when you know the information is out that this man is in fact still working for you and taking part in morning briefings for your campign days after he supposedly resigned. If your going to take shots at your oppenent havent you learned by now to at least make sure the facts don't contridict what you say?

    April 8, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  9. Debbie,NJ

    Senator Obama's advisor said something. That's the key. He said something. He nor Senator Obama did anything. Hillary's advisor was doing the very thing she claims she is against, she knew it and did nothing about it. Hillary supporters think about this; she has run her entire campaign based on excuses of what somebody else is doing. If she wins the election is she then going to employ some Bush tactics and say well when Bush did it you didn't say anything. THIS woman is dangerous. She has a real credibility problem, a judgment problem and they will have to take her kicking and screaming out of the door. She is a nut case. She can't hold onto the superdelegates votes anymore because she knows they are not going to vote for this lunatic. So now she's playing the Fl and MI card.
    She wants to count their votes. I wish those people could revote just to show her that she has lost most of them with her craziness. Their delegates aren't going to vote for her either. Its one thing to elect a president and then find out he's nuts but its another thing to elect one that is up front. The job itself will only make you worse.

    April 8, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  10. Carlo

    SN from MN, I have news for you-most of the Obama supporters are well educated, so, bad news for you. I would also like to add that, considering Obama has yet to trounce Clinton on her discrepancies, she STILL chooses to try to turn her unfortunate situation around to Obama. Like I've said before, he keeps trying to treat her like a lady-something she is not.

    April 8, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  11. Katie

    Hillary is a liar, and she should never be trusted.

    Hillary is for NAFTA, always has been and always will be.

    America, wake up before it's too late.

    HILLARY, CHILDREN DON'T LIE AS OFTEN AS YOU!

    April 8, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  12. Caroline

    Does she not realize that every time she disses Obama, she diminishes herself and makes herself more and more slimey and disliked (if that is indeed even possible)? Getting rid of this slob at this point shows very bad judgement on her part; it should have been done MONTHS ago. Is this the sort of conflicted, angry, and opportunistic person she will appoint to cabinet positions as well?

    Has anyone else noticed the shifty eyes whenever she is about to spin/lie about something?

    April 8, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  13. Justin

    Unbelievable. I am amazed that Senator Clinton would actually say, "Mr. Obama's representative told the Canadian government basically not to pay any attention to what Senator Obama was saying about NAFTA."

    This story broke just before the Ohio elections, potentially altering the vote of many democrats in the election. Just a FEW DAYS afterwards, it turns out that the story was full of inconsistencies, but many of the early reports about what happened were wrong.

    Evidently, despite the story turning out to be bogus Senator Clinton feels it is okay to continue using it as an attack. Maybe she should have also brought up the story about the pregnant woman in the hospital (that turned out to be false) or some of her "dangerous" situations in war-torn countries... while being read poetry by little children.

    I used to respect her, but now she just makes me sick.

    April 8, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  14. Jane MN

    No matter how Clinton words it, the fact is quite obvious: Obama has run a much successful campaign than Clinton has so far.

    April 8, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  15. Chris11

    PA – we are counting on you! Obama gets away with everything and anything Clinton does is crucified! Look at the candidates... Send Hillary to the top! She is this country's only hope... despite Obama's empty rhetoric!

    Hillary Clinton '08

    April 8, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  16. Letha, Sioux Falls, SD

    I wish the Obamanation idiots could and would get the facts straight. Penn was not working for the campaign or the Clinton's at the time this took place. Read the facts idiots before you post.

    April 8, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  17. SK

    There she goes again lying and covering her tracks. Same way as Bill did which laid to the embracement of a proud nation. The is not what Obama did but what are you doing to build your confidence with the American public.
    Do we need a female Bush in White house? This is what the people have to decide.

    April 8, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  18. 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 unequivocal LIE! Watch out for that sniper fire, Hill.

    April 8, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  19. debbie

    Hillary: Mommy tell Obama to stop winning. That is not fair. I want to win too.

    Obama: Mom I am just doing what you said: "stay focused and do not pay attention to hillary. She will leave you alone soon."

    Child's play.

    April 8, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  20. Roger

    Hillary is such a professional, even when the media and Obama fans are so hard on her. She is going to be a great president. Obama lied until there was a secret memo discovered. Hillary dosn't deny anything.

    Go Hillary!

    April 8, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  21. maya

    EXACTLY.

    Go Hillary go. Rise Hillary rise.

    April 8, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  22. NIkki

    "I don't think [it will hurt], because I think people want to know where I stand,"

    That's the point!! Nobody knows where you stand on a single issue (including yourself, I'd wager).

    Your opinion on key points is dictated by the latest opinion polls.

    We need a leader, not someone who was against the war before she voted for the war, only to oppose it years and 4000 American lives too late.

    April 8, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  23. JJ

    There is nothing more gratifying and entertaining in this election cycle than to see the media daring (from time to time) to treat Dems in the same harsh way that they never hesitate to treat Republicans. No wonder Dems are crying foul so often! Now they know that being in bed with the media doesn't mean they should trust them implicitly. Too bad Dems can't handle such potential unfairness with seemingly as much grace. 🙂

    April 8, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  24. Sue Z

    PA voters...please please please do the right thing. We here in NC are so excited to have our votes count because we are supporting Obama...we want to trust our President.

    April 8, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  25. Ree

    Sorry the question is posed as whether or not Penn's fiasco would be damaging not what BO's guy did. Answer the question as it pertains to your campaign. Double talk is getting OLD!!!!

    April 8, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
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