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. Get a life, Obama people!

    As Gov. Rendell recently said about the Clinton presidency, "Which part didn't you like - the peace or the prosperity?" The Clintons are proven winners, Obama is a flash in the pan.

    April 8, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  2. molly

    GO HILLARY!!! – Stop all the pro-obama trash Clinton.
    CNN did a story on Senator Clinton yesterday that was FALSE
    The mother/baby did die – she was asked for $100 and she did have to change hospitals – Per The Aunt!
    I expect CNN to do a corrected story today – you really should check out your FACTS before you air a story that is not true about a United States Senator.
    I am sure if this was done to glory-boy obama – Jessie Jackson would be all over you. Treat ALL the candidates with respect and report fair facts!

    April 8, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  3. Matt NY

    Obama's advisor was not the CEO of a conflicting lobbyist company, nor was he the head partner in a political advisement organization.

    Stop trying to spin and change the rules whenever it suits you, Hillary! Be the strong woman you claim to be and realize that your campaign has run its course. we dem's want to move on the the general election.

    If we (dems) lose this election because you(HRC) polarized the left, your career in polotics will be over and we will get 4 more years of BUSH!

    Stop it Hillary, stop it.

    PS... Hillary joked that she could win the election by bowling. Guess she should have practiced before she went on Ellen's show. More empty rhetoric from the Clinton camp again.

    April 8, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  4. Hicks, Fort Myers

    Why should she be concerned. This guy is just a minor issue compared to the major problems she faces:
    -No executive supervision (departmental, division, military)
    -Numerous documented evidence of stretching the truth to improve her pale resume.
    -Socialist left ideas on domestic, economic issues–directly opposite former President Clinton's.
    -Lack of old guard support–they're moving farther left than ever before and beginning to support Obama.

    April 8, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. Jacqueline Samms

    How can she say this! She had to know what he was doing. How can we. as Americans, trust this woman. He was her top guy! Also, no one is making a big deal about her extension on her 2007 taxes. I think there is a lot of things in there that she does not want the public to see. A lot of people have commented about how much money she contributed to charity. Those contributions started the minute she started running for Persident. I am calling on all Americans to pay attention. These are not co-incidences.

    April 8, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  6. maya

    Obamabots- stop spreading lies. Factcheck etc have all said it was OBAMA that did the deed. I am SERIOUSLY worried about Obama- talk about LYING!! Only knew Rezko for 5 months?! Wasn't in church for controversial sermons (what about "White Men's Greed?") How about JFK bill that DID NOT sponsor his father as claimed....DON'T GET ME STARTED. Obama's WHOLE campaign has been a mirage and a media creation and a big fat lie!!!!!

    April 8, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  7. SK

    Is she ever going to stop lying to us...........

    April 8, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  8. Walt

    CNN: PLEASE reveal the real story on NAFTAgate! Please show some journalistic integrity and show that Hillary and her minions Penn and Wolfson were behind the contact with Canada regarding NAFTA! I am so tired of Hillary LYING continually, and the msm lapping it up. Once and for all, expose her for the power hungry greedy manipulative person she is!
    $15.3 million from Dubai? Bullets over Bosnia? The Ohio pregnant woman? Mark Penn deals in Colombia?
    Enough is enough. This country faces real problems; this sideshow MUST end!

    April 8, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  9. Roger

    Hillary is so professional, even when the media and Obama fans are so hard on her. She will make a great president. She dosn't deny anything like Obama did until a secret memo was discovered.

    Go Hillary!


    April 8, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. AnyoneButHillary

    I find it "CURIOUS" that Mrs Hollier-Than-Thou Clinton is so concerned with disenfranchising the voters of Michigan and Florida buy not counting the votes she AGREED would not count! Rather she would prefer to disenfranchise an ENTIRE COUNTRY by having super delegates overturn the will of the people.

    She talks out of both sides of her mouth. I can no longer support such hypocrisy!

    April 8, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  11. BG - Texas

    The longer HRC stays in the race, the more I'm believing that she must have a "bombshell" for Barry later on before or during the convention. She's beginning to look more and more like John Kerry in stepping on her own mess (when she really doesn;t have to).

    She needs to realize that Barry has a coat of Teflon even more thicker than Ronald Reagan. Nothing negative sticks to him (at least for now)

    April 8, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  12. Appiah

    Yeah ...you're right! understand that even if the two states (Florida & Michigan) delegates are sits and even if they're given to you it will not make any difference. Understand that "whatever you sow, you'll reap". Its very unfortunate that you can't see that you'll not be able to win the nomination....you told lies to Ohions about your objections to Nafta, yet your records indicated otherwise" whether "Penn's Blunder" will hurt your compaign or not depend on the subsequent primaries...stop the threats of making our convention fiasco....The politcs of fear, will not work this time!!!
    Long Live Democratic party.
    Obama all the way.

    April 8, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  13. Not a Republican

    She is right...Ms. Clinton has already damaged her own reputation.

    April 8, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  14. Blake

    I am a 23 year old former Republican. I switched to Democrat in large part because of Barrack Obama. I switched because I believed in a future for America that we could come together on. I am saddened that differences of opinion are putting this future at risk. I call for a cease fire of attacks. I call for a unifying message that we can all stand behind. This message can bring us together like nothing seen in history. Our goals are very equal in nature. We need our troops out of Iraq. We need our economy to be fixed. We need health care available to those that need help. We need to fix a broken politics in Washington. We need to come together or we will perish apart.

    April 8, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  15. Bit, Alabama

    Everytime Hillary gets in a "bad spot", she brings up Obama to get the attention off her. Desperate times calls for desperate measures is what Hillary's campaign should be called.

    Everytime she gets desperate she "low rates" Obama. Jeeeeeeezzzz, lady!

    Obama 08!

    April 8, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  16. Bryan P.

    """Hey""" All you guys and gals who are OBAMA surporters with all your
    ""Nasty and hatefull comments""" about Hillary Clinton!!!!
    """"""""""""""""JUST WATCH THE FUN""""""""""""""""""
    All Hillary surporters are going to wet their pants with lauhgter when OBMA does "NOT"
    get the nomination and Hilliary does!

    """"""""""""""""""""""""""" I KNOW THAT I WILL"""""""""""""""""""""""""""

    April 8, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  17. Matt

    She did something appropriate???? Appropriate would have been firing him and getting him away from your campaign. Instead, you demoted him and he is still apart of your campaign. Saying you did something appropriate doesn't mean you did the right thing.

    April 8, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  18. Jim

    Three cheers for "Washington as Usual". We can see exactly what "experiece" has taught Ms. Clinton - to redirect HER issues onto someone else. Ms. Clinton must have spent a good deal of time with Mr. Bush - he has taught her well.

    April 8, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  19. Diane, Florida

    Hillary ALL THE WAY IN 08 !!!

    April 8, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  20. Sharon


    April 8, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  21. Venus

    Can you believe it? Just like the snipper lies – try and turn the attention from herself to Obama! Mark Penn was getting PAID on BOTH ends!

    April 8, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  22. Chicago T

    Will somebody tell me why the Obama team isn't hammering on Hillary consistant lies. (everyone please please please check out this website:


    April 8, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  23. BarackObama44thPresident

    This woman is so mentally ill and might I add very desperate !

    The way she deals with her lies is so pathetic – instead of taking responsibility for her wrongdoings, she shifts blames and points out contrasts.

    It's obvious to every thinking American that she was for CFTA, just like she was for NAFTA.

    Furthermore, Penn is only demoted and not fired, so how is that
    for " appropriately handling things." This proves that she is only about playing mind games, and is a habitual liar.

    It's time for REAL change in Washington, it's time for Barack Obama for president !

    April 8, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  24. Reality

    For once, can anyone answer a question directly without trying to pull someone else down? This chick is known for this type of tactic. When faced with issues, lets deflect attention to someone else. Is this the kind of President we want? I KNOW I DON'T.
    According to Fox News & MSNBC, this Penn person still is very involved with her campaign so HAS SHE REALLY DEALT WITH ANYTHING? My answer is probably NOT!!!

    April 8, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  25. Corpo

    Or this might have been strategically timed so the $109M income is suddenly yesterday's news...

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