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. Wake up

    Was she "Sleep Deprived" when she made this statement too?

    Come on already... Enough with the lies and deceit.

    Just drop out now Hillary!

    OBAMA '08

    April 8, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. Tommy, TX

    People who are referring to a media bias against Hillary need to get over it. They are not making her look bad, she is doing it HERSELF! Please wake up and see that she has become as good at spin and lies as our current administration. You want more of that? You do if you are supporting Hillary. More of the same...more BUSH spin and LIES.

    April 8, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  3. Tim

    Hillary has Obama for "damage control" when things go bad.
    Hillary = Pinocchio
    Bill = same thing. "I didn't inhale". "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky"...
    wow, they are both made for each other.
    Hey Hill, watch out for the snipers!...naw, just kidding – I misspoke.

    April 8, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. EBC

    How many times are you going to SHOOT yourself in the foot?

    Sen. Clinton, with all due respect your recent comment just shows how "out of touch" you are with regards to your own campaign downfall. YOUR campaign message is NOT working and it's issues like the Mr. Penn fiasco that is digging YOU deeper into the sinking sand.

    Your recent statement is nothing more than a bunch of CRAP! YOUR credibility and trustworthy credentials are seriously damaged beyond repair. Americans just DON'T trust you anymore, and your husband Bill too. It's a self-destruction you both have caused on yourselves.

    The Penn issue continues to be a serious liability and he should have had his arse FIRED a year ago!!! Bottom line, this man is BAD NEWS and clearly reflects on YOUR campaign BIG TIME. This is also the same strategist that advised YOU not to focus on the primary caucuses... BIG MISTAKE!!!

    It's funny how you continue to MAKE excuses for this man by allowing to remain on as an polling advisor. What? Are you insane?

    The fact that you continue to employ this man as an policy advisor speaks to your credibility and judgment issues. It also PROVES that you, Sen. Clinton are VERY MUCH informed on what is going on in your campaign, despite your claim that "you didn't know or you weren't aware, or you misspoke, etc.". I find it very hard to believe that everything YOU do is NOT pre-calculated to the last detail, the fact is your man Penn got CAUGHT. Just like YOU got caught with your lies and blunders over and over. It's NOT that you are sorry or regretful, it's about YOUR GETTING CAUGHT!! Bottom line.

    This latest stunt is nothing more than a deep in denial, and keeping Penn anywhere on your campaign staff is just downright ignorant.

    He's pulling YOU down and you continue to allow him to do so. When you allow a staff member to impact your presidential campaign in a negative and dishonest manner, they should be fired immediately.

    By allowing Mr. Penn to continue on as an "advisor" is mind-boggling. I guess YOU just don't learn from your repeated mistakes. So whatever happens with Mr. Penn or with any other staffer from this point on will truly be on ON YOUR HEAD Sen. Clinton!!

    The fact that you keep blaming everyone else but yourself is getting very old and transparent. YOU continue to change your campaign messages (by copying what other people DO, bowling, "yes will will" slogan, etc.) that it NO longer matters to most Americans, they NO LONGER TRUST YOU!

    Bottom line.

    April 8, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  5. Mark F

    "unlike Mr. Penn who was not representing the campaign"

    No, Hillary, he was representing the Columbian government. AND working for you. You may not see a problem there, but voters in the upcoming elections most definitely will. Will you now claim that you didn't know that Penn was working for the Columbians?

    April 8, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  6. Anybody but Clinton

    Eric in PA google the NAFTA scam. You'll see it was the CLINTON people who did that. You in NW PA. Don't have the internet? Wake-up, they did it to fool the Ohio people who are cousins of NW PA. They'll try something to get the other cousins in W. VA. HillBilly loves to trick the real hillbillies.

    April 8, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  7. Pam

    Oh PLEASE !

    Just stop it now.....anybody that believes her mess, well I just got to say, that I have a bridge that I can sell you!

    Her campaign is messed up all the way around the block, look to the future and how she would run a White House.

    Middle aged white lady, middle income, middle america

    Obama 08!

    April 8, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  8. Ron

    What you people are forgetting is that both Obama and Hillary have been caught in lies about NAFTA. It was the Canadian government that exposed Obama so what an aide says is meaningless. It did happen and Obama just gave a big a lie as ole Hillary who is nothing but a chronic liar.

    Get real people, the democrats are trying to get an amateur elected as president. Neither one of them is prepared for anything.+

    April 8, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  9. Mindy

    What bothers me most about Hillary Clinton is that each and every time she is held accountable for something, she ALWAYS brings in Senator Obama's name. She makes comments like, "in both of our campaigns...."...."both our surrogates" ...."we both have supporters"
    ..."we both misspeak:....Can't she "Man Up" and face the music on her own when she makes a mistake? She continues her devious ways even when supposedly apologizing. "I'm sorry, but he did it, too!" That is soooo irritating and irresponsible. Always trying to shift the focus to someone else. And-whomever made the comment that Candy Crowley is biased, is right. She manages to bring someone else's name in too when Clinton has botched something. Is she on the Clinton payroll, too? If so, in this case, Clinton deserves a refund.

    April 8, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. Alonzo Demetrius


    April 8, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  11. Kathleen

    No matter what happens, Hillary can't just take the blame for what happens in her campaign. Again, she goes back to Senator Obama and quickly tries to turn the tables and focus on what he has or has not done. This is so typical of the Clinton's and the old school political machine and how it works. Please, Hillary, just take responsibility for yourself

    April 8, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  12. Howard

    WOW is she in denial or just full of crap........

    She has not even fired this guy does she expect people to believe she did not know what he was doing or had not consulted her.

    Do us all a favour and step down all the lies and blaiming other people is bad for the party.


    April 8, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  13. Wisconsin for Obama

    This woman is losing it! someone please, come to her rescue. she is delusional. I cannot believe how low she wants to come with lies to get this nomination. I cannot believe!!

    April 8, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  14. Unbelievable

    Another lie from a habitual liar. Someone whose work on the Watergate Hearings did not earn her a letter of recommendation because of her ethical shortcomings. Someone who lies about her trip to Bosnia (three times) then chalks it up to lack of sleep. Someone who lies about NAFTA. Someone who lies about her vote in the Senate. Someone who lies about firing Mark Penn (he is not fired, go read it on MSNBC – there was actually someone on the conference call where he stays in the same role just a change of title). She lies. She lies. She lie.

    And SHAME ON YOU CNN for perpetuating her lies, and having your people add to it.

    April 8, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  15. Clinton Campaign in trouble

    If this is how she runs her campaign do we want to let her run our country??? She acts like she got rid of Penn but he is still a part of her campaign and still lobbying for Columbian NAFTA. I don't hate Mrs Clinton in fact I have a great deal of respect for her but this is hard to swallow. Please stop trying to shift attention away from your campaigns lack of leadership. Obama didn't hire and stand by Penn you did Mrs Clinton. When will you take any responsibility for your crumbling campaigns missteps and stop trying to shift focus away from you.

    April 8, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  16. Connie

    I've just done a tally of how many remarks on this blog are anti-Hillary and how many are pro. Wow, it has been a long time since I have seen anyone as disliked as she is! Thankfully, the American public is opening its eyes.

    Obama '08

    April 8, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |

    Nafta was the CLintons baby. This just shows that they are still rocking it and kissing it to bed every night.

    April 8, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  18. HH

    Give it up Hillary. We know now Bill was cheerleading with Columbia on the deal, that is why your top people including the lobbying groups of Harold Ickes, Howard Wolfson and Mark I need a haircut Penn, where included in the deal. You set back the womens movement 100 years by your bickering and wineing. GIVE IT UP!

    April 8, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  19. Goldie

    Clinton didn't really get rid of Penn. They just changed the name of his job. A host of Clinton supporters and their companies support the trade deal. Wolfson's company is working for the Columbians too. You think Clinton would have some clout with them if she really wanted to stop the trade deal. I don't think she does.

    April 8, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  20. Ms. GA

    Sure Hillary lets take the attention off of you once again. Even when the Obama controversy was going on both Canada and his campaign said the information that was leaked out to the public was false. And I still believe it was a lie leaked out by the Clinton campaign before the Texas and Ohio primaries. Clinton cannot deny her ties to NAFTA !

    April 8, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  21. Stephen from Virginia

    Good grief, people. What an absurd diatribe, this morning.

    Hillary for President!

    April 8, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  22. LSU Tigers for Obama

    I know how important is it too vot Dem no matter what, but at this point I trust Mccain more that I trust Hillary! I do not want her in the White house AT ALL! I won't vote for someone that I don't trust! I WILL NEVER VOTE FOR HILLARY CLINTON!

    April 8, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  23. RYAN

    Lying mother running for office. Some people call you monster because of all this double speak and mistrust....the more young people and truthful, honest Americans listen to you the more the hate you more....that troubling for the democratic party....

    April 8, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  24. Stewart from North Carolina

    Uh, Hillary, he's not gone and is still doing work for you. How stupid do you think we are? Oh, that's right, we're supposed to believe you did not lie (several times) about Bosnia sniper fire but simply misspoke SEVERAL TIMES. Sell that snake oil to somone else.

    April 8, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  25. Ready on day...Never

    How appropriate that the most fundamentaly DISHONEST candidate in US history says they've fired a guy when he's still working for them behind the scenes.

    How many lies can one woman tell? Let's get this charade of a campaign behind us and let the real candidate – Obama – take on McCain. Obama isn't a patelogical liar tied to lobbyists and corruption at his core.

    Obama '08

    April 8, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15