Obama advisor calls Clinton a 'monster'

March 7, 2008 7:45:59 PM PST
A top advisor to Barack Obama resigns after calling Hillary Clinton a "monster." But it isn't the monster comment that Hillary Clinton is going after. It's something else Samantha Power said.

The monster comment cost Power her position with the Obama campaign, but it's not the end of it

In an interview with a British newspaper, Power called Hillary Clinton a monster who would stoop to anything to get elected. It's a comment that embarrassed her and her boss and she resigned, and the Obama campaign is likely relieved to see her go.

In a separate interview with the BBC, Power questioned whether Barack Obama would be able to follow his own plan to withdraw troops from Iraq. That is what Clinton jumped on Friday.

"While Senator Obama campaigns on his plan to end the war, his top advisors tell people abroad that he will not rely on his own plan should he become president," said Clinton.

This is what Samantha Power told the BBC, "do I think that when he becomes president it will be incredibly difficult to pursue the policies that he's put forth? Yes."

Asked if that meant Obama's commitment to withdraw troops in 16 months was not really a commitment, Power said no one can commit to a troop withdrawal plan made this far in advance of taking over the White House.

Clinton says she's committed to begin withdrawing troops within 60 days of becoming president and then withdrawing one to two brigades a month.

"That's something that I started saying before anyone else based on the military advice I received and I never have deviated from that," said Clinton.

"Look, we're in the head of a very obviously, very intense campaign," said Professor Michael Nacht, dean of UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy and an expert on national security issues.

"Of course, implicitly we all know that things can change and commitments you make may have to be revisited, but you can't say that in the heat of a campaign because if you do that, you're undercutting your credibility," said Professor Nacht.

Friday, Barack Obama told voters he continues to respect his former advisor, Samantha Power.

"I still respect her opinion on foreign policy," said Obama.

But politically, he needs to get more control over what his advisors are saying on and off the record, says ABC7 political analyst Bruce Cain.

"Whereas the Clintons, they've been through this before, they know the importance of message discipline and they are on top of people that speak out of turn. So this is another step in the learning process for Senator Obama," said Professor Cain.

We should point out that while Samantha Power was calling Hillary Clinton a monster, the Clinton campaign accused the Obama campaign of acting like Ken Starr because Obama was pressing Clinton to honor her pledge to release her tax returns, which she hasn't done yet. Friday, Clinton stood by that remark and Nancy Pelosi asked Clinton and Obama both, for the sake of the party, to quit bickering.


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