Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Sweet: Samantha Power resigns after calling Clinton "monster"


WASHINGTON--Samantha Power resigned as a foreign policy adviser to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) after she called Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) a "monster" in an interview with The Scotsman newspaper. This is the second Obama advisor to stumble in recent weeks. Economic adviser Austan Goolsbee is at the center of a controversy over comments he made about NAFTA to a Canandian official.

Power was in London for a book tour and to headline fundraisers for Obama. Power was an ardent and passionate supporter of Obama who took almost a year off from her job as a professor at Harvard University to work in Obama's Senate office in 2006. She has been deeply involved in policy, youth outreach--she is a popular campus speaker--and fund-raising for Obama. She was due in Chicago on March 16 to headline a fund-raising event for Obama. Power is a Pulitizer Prize winning author for her book about genocide, "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide." She just wrote "Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World."

On Friday morning, Clinton congressional supporters called for her ouster. Shortly after a Clinton conference call, Power quit. Her statement:

"With deep regret, I am resigning from my role as an advisor the Obama campaign effective today. Last Monday, I made inexcusable remarks that are at marked variance from my oft-stated admiration for Senator Clinton and from the spirit, tenor, and purpose of the Obama campaign. And I extend my deepest apologies to Senator Clinton, Senator Obama, and the remarkable team I have worked with over these long 14 months."

Rep. Nita Lowey (N.Y.) Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (-F;.) and Rep. Greg Meeks (D-N.Y.) were the ones on the coference call asking for Power's resignation.

"Senator Obama needs to stand up and to publicly say that this person will no longer participate in his campaign," Meeks said.

FOOTNOTE TWO: I asked about the mood at the Obama campaign headquarters today. The word back "determination."


Loose lips sink ships as does arrogance.

Pride goes before the fall.

I hope Mr. Obama doesn't keep her unofficially on his ship, but I'm afraid he will.

I voted for Obama for to be our Senator but I fear he's surrounding himself with SP types.

In her remarks, Power also called Ohio voters "obsessed," giving life-long Democrats like me yet another glimpse into the arrogant tone of the Obama campaign.

shouldn't have caved in to pressure and quit. hillary clinton is a MONSTER ( i couldn't think of a better non obscene name to describe her ).hillary also did "pimp out" her daughter to put the arm on contributors. the truth hurts. trying to decide between hillary and barry is like trying to decide which eye you would like to have poked out . if this country is short sighted and stupid enough to elect either of these incompetent fools to office, this country will get exactly what it deserves. hopefully the republicans will do something drastic to stop the liberals from further ruining this country .

You spelled conference wrong in the second to last paragraph.

will fix

Ms. Power did the right thing and resigned. Will Mr. Wolfson now resigan for comparing Senator Obama to Ken Starr?

I voted for Obama in CA but was planning to vote for Clinton if she was the nominee. Now, I'm not so sure. I have high regard for Power. I know she said she didn't mean it....but I'm not so sure she isn't right about Hillary. Over the years I have seen more that would confirm an "any means to an end" tenor in the Clinton persona.

Bob M.

Hell, she didn't lie!

Before Obama, I had a lot of admiration for Samantha Power. I thought her "A Problem from Hell" was very insightful and extremely important. I also believe strongly in her organization, Human Rights Watch. Ironically, it was after I read it that I no longer supported us leaving Iraq without a game plan. People often look at Vietnam as an example for Iraq because leaving turned out to be the right thing to do. However, when the US turned over the keys to Pol Pot in Cambodia, one of the worst genocides (the worst by per capita) in modern history occurred.

It's sad that one who had devoted so much of what evil fanaticisms can wrought would turn out to be a fanatic herself.

I'm from ohio and I was very disturbed by nafta-gate comments. What keeps me on Obama's side is I do not trust Mrs. Clinton, I read her books and the former Presidents. I just want Sen. Obama to be for-real so very badly, we are in so much trouble and need leaders so very badly who are going to look out for the working classes here and around the world. Who are going to take at least some of our Govt. back from the wto and multinational corps.

Uh...excuse me but Hillary is a monster. I don't know what the fuss is about. Someone said the arrogance of the OBAMA campaign. Surely you're kidding. The Clintons are as arrogant as they get. Remember rules don't apply to them. They make their BUSH

Who cares if Powers thinks Hillary is a monster. The important issue should be: Is Powers'foreign policy counsel valuable to Obama and ultimately to our nation. BTW, are Nita Lowey, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, or Greg Meeks committed to HC?

Sen. Obama needs to address the question of why he did not or could not challenge Mr. Rezko in where the millions of dollars were going since they were not being used to rehab the district the senator represented. And to make it even more interesting, why he went in on this land deal (for that is what it was no matter how finely your parse it) which was to the senator's benefit. He is the one out there proclaiming how he differs from the status quo but these issues do not support it. And we are looking at him as president?
Not again.

When all is said in done between both Obama and Clinton we (the voters) will never now how either of these possible presidential candidates stand on anything intensely important to us because all of their advisors, backers, pimps and pushers in their campaign headquarters, will have said and done so much negative aspects throughout the battle to win the Democratic party top spot that we wont know who to believe or trust any way. We will probably end up with another Republican leader in office because the voters of the Democratic party will be at war against one another once again as in a previous election that we all will never forget. I just want to throw up my hands in the air to both of them and say come on quit acting like a bunch of 5 and 6 years olds on the playground and speak what you are about or put up or shut up, about what you really stand for. This campaigning is just a bunch of name calling childrens play!

Posted by: Mary Margaret | March 7, 2008 11:30 AM

In her remarks, Power also called Ohio voters "obsessed," giving life-long Democrats like me yet another glimpse into the arrogant tone of the Obama campaign.
also in the same article she makes comments about the POOR voters.
I am one of those and I took that comment EXTREMELY PERSONAL. I am not the upper class, wine drinker that votes for Obama. I think that was a slap in the face, poor people have common sense and are not deserving of that comment. I took it as Obama's sentiments since they work together. I will never vote for Obama. and he owes the people of Ohio and the U.S, a public apology. Our votes count just as much a rich persons counts. It sure shows that Obama what thinks of poor people.

Samantha Powers:
"You just look at her and think, 'Ergh'. But if you are poor and she is telling you some story about how Obama is going to take your job away, maybe it will be more effective. The amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive."

Well we as people need to vote for the person or the people who can help fix the world. It has been hard to survive in the world for a long time,change need to come fast or more people will suffer through more tribes and tribulations.

May I ask why you always look for dirt on Barack Obama, and then when you can't ever find anything real (and you never will), you play up this thing about an Obama advisor calling Hillary a monster! She has been fired within 48 hours and he denounced her remarks. How do you get a whole column out of this? I know you and other women want a female president (Whoop-de-do), but she is not more qualified than Obama. Why, because she was married to a president, or has an extra term in the Senate? Sorry, thats poor qualifications. Obama's call for change and his ability to bring everyone together is what this country needs, especially after it has been destroyed by despicable republicunts. Please think before you write your column, and come up with something useful. All this child's play garbage is really getting old and uninteresting!!!!

"Eurgh" is obviously in the eye of the beholder.

That was my reaction when I watched a hatchet faced, middle aged, gender bent, "Academic", turn into a truck driver in rush hour, with a Tourette Syndrome evisceration of Hillary Clinton in front of a television audience abroad. Who is the "monster" here?

Like so much coming from the Obama campaign, it is pure "projection". After months of hearing from them that Hillary Clinton was not to be trusted to tell the truth, the two Biggest Cheeses at The Cult Compound get caught out in a bald faced lie about the Goolsbee/NAFTA conversations.

It's clear that Samantha Power has resigned, probably correctly, because her remarks were uncivil and a departure from the tone that Senator Obama has consistently set throughout this campaign.

But as earlier commenters have noted, whether the "monster" remark is uncivil is different than whether it is valid. Why doesn't the press address that - that people of a similar political stripe as Hilary Clinton dislike her tactics and the mentality behind it.

There's an outside chance that Clinton can win the nomination, but only through aggressive negative and pandering campaign. Speaking of pandering, the "poor" remarks were directed against *Clinton* not against the voters - the same people victimized by her husband's welfare reform and fast-track free trading. Look at how many key Clinton people are not supporting Clinton II: Robert Reich, Leon Panetta, Norm Mineta - cabinet people, plus their longtime Yale friends, who are supporting Obama or staying away.

It's clear she'd rather win the nomination and lose the general, than have Obama win the nomination and win in November. What you have with Power is someone who doesn't talk like a politician - she doesn't sound-bite and sugarcoat everything - I personally don't think Clinton is a monster, but many of my intelligent and reasonable friends do.

I live in Chicago and am still waiting to see what magnificant change Obama has brought to this state/county/city run by the political machines. If he can truly bring people together and change the old corrupt ways government, his eight years in the Illinois senate serve as a great place for him to start. He did no such thing and backed only people he needed to win his campaigns. He talks a great game and delivers his hopeful speeches like nobody has in a long time, but he is just another politician!

It is a sad loss to the Barack Obama campaign the resignation of Samantha Power, who I know to be such a respected professional and such a hard worker in the nomination race, but Samantha has done what is right and best for Barack.

Today I called on Harold Wolfson to also tender his resignation to Hilary with immediate effect for the smears and comments made to Barack Obama with the name of Ken Starr, but all I have heard so far from Harold is backpedaling on what he meant! which is not good enough. It is now up to Clinton herself to sack Harold without delay. Will this be done, if not does it show which camp where the deep rooted problems are right from the top, using lies, smears, personal attacks and scare mongering all for self interest and not what is best for The Voters, Country and Democratic Party!

Hillary is a monster all right, she was like Godzilla last Tuesday when she stomped Obama into the ground.

Billary for sure is a two-headed monster.

Margaret if you are still on this page please understand something. Ms Power was making a personal observation and to say Obama owes you an apology....please stop! The tone of this campaign was SET by the Clintons because these are their tactics in everything they do. Good luck to you Clintonites. ERGH!

Too bad no one asked Rep. Nita Lowey, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Rep. Greg Meeks why they weren't demanding the resignations of Wolfson, Ickes and Penn. I would have enjoyed hearing their hemming and hawing.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Team Clinton.

Try to keep your eye on the ball folks! Really, does anyone really believe that "senior unpaid advisors" are speaking embraced policy, is that not that the job of the candidate? In large part these advisors and volunteers drive the bus, bounce position ideas to guage public reaction and the like. At times personal positions and ideas get out generally due to the year of 16 hour days/7 day work weeks and the endless string of strange hotel rooms that these folks experience. Having worked on national and congressional campaigns in my youth I can understand how this happens and cut them and their candidate some slack. I don't think that Clinton is a monster, nor do I think that Obama is any Ken Starr, maybe Howard intended to call him a "Bright Star, in the party (yeah right).
You should know that while I presently support Obama it's purely because in my view we need to shake up Washington. I don't hate the Clintons but I do recall so clearly their ethical stumbles. From my simple perspective post 16 years of Clinton and Bush I hope for a chance at change and vision, pure and simple. Comments such as monster are purely distractions, listen to the candidate and make your mind up by yourself.

It is refreshing and encouraging to find a journalist who responds to the fair reporting standards of the profession and does not give Obama a free pass.

I don't know why we question that Hillary Clinton is indeed a cold calculating B#$%^. I don't remember Her shedding a tear when Bill did not have sexual relations with that Woman. She will tear up to grab power to be the next leader of our soon to be third world country though. She has skeletons in Her closets, a lot more than Obama and they will be vetted by the Republican attack machine if She is the nominee.

I've voted for Nader twice, yet am willing to place a check next to Obama this time around, only because:(1) of the purely visceral response I have to his persona and message, (2)I want it to be true so very badly, and (3)I absolutely detest Clinton, from the inside out. Infatuation vs. revulsion, pure and simple. Yesterday, I scraped the Kucinich/Gravel bumper sticker I made up off my rear window and am yet uncommitted as to whether to slap on "Women for Obama" or "Nader/Gonzales". I so yearn for compassion and transparency...

Obama is for change. Obama is for change. Obama is for change. Blah Blah. Blah Blah Blah. How? How is Obama for change and what kind of change? What has he done in his very very short political career to display his talent for "bringing people together"? Where is it? Come on, let's see it!!! The only reason you're voting Obama is because he's young, charismatic, and glamorous. And Hillary is a boring old woman. At least have the guts to admit it you lyin' bigoted Obama-bots. Obama is for change. Beep Beep. Time for battery change.

Isn't it strange, that Obama wins Caucus' even when the majority of the people vote for Hillary in the Primary...?

You know why? Its intimidation. The fanatic part of the Obama-Supporters intimidate voters on the caucus site! Yeah, democracy rules....

I find her comments about Obama's Iraq plan to be far more disturbing. His cockiness is going to catch up to him.
The 'extreme Lefties' are going to lose this for all Democrats in November. The hate spewed toward her by his supporters makes me ashamed to be a Democrat.

Yeah, Obama is for change all right. The kind of change that sees politicians viewing voters as STUPID MORONS who will believe whatever they are told once it is said LOUD enough and OFTEN enough, and PARROTED enough by a doting press, their supporters, and other SYCOPHANTS who are IMBECILIC enough to think that they (politicians) can ever be ANYTHING BUT liars, avaracious and rapacious.
I would put Barak Obamma into the same category as Arnold Shwarzenegger, another "change agent" who campaigned with the same BIG promises, and was embraced by the people of California. He CHANGED things allright. Now the state has a deficit TWICE AS BIG as BEFORE he took office.

Samantha “Hillary is a monster” Power also told the press on her European trip that once Obama became president, all bets were off on his get-out-of Iraq plan:

Here's what she said about Obama’s Iraq plan ---

"What he’s actually said, after meeting with the generals and meeting with intelligence professionals, is that you – at best case scenario – will be able to withdraw one to two combat brigades each month. That’s what they’re telling him. He will revisit it when he becomes president," Power says.

The host, Stephen Sackur, challenged her: "So what the American public thinks is a commitment to get combat forces out in 16 months isn't a commitment isn't it?"

"You can’t make a commitment in March 2008 about what circumstances will be like in January of 2009," she said. "He will, of course, not rely on some plan that he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or a U.S. Senator. He will rely upon a plan – an operational plan – that he pulls together in consultation with people who are on the ground to whom he doesn’t have daily access now, as a result of not being the president. So to think – it would be the height of ideology to sort of say, 'Well, I said it, therefore I’m going to impose it on whatever reality greets me.'"

Power was Obama's senior foreign policy adviser, according to a story at Talking points Memo:

"In a conference call just now, the Clinton campaign called on Barack Obama to fire Samantha Power for calling Hillary a "monster."

There are advisers and then there are advisers. Power is Barack Obama's Condi Rice.

A Harvard Law grad, former foreign correspondent, and Pulitzer Prize winning author, Power left her Harvard faculty gig to go work on Obama's Senate staff for a year. It might be a little condescending to say she schooled him on foreign policy, but that's close to accurate. In the constellation of Obama advisers, the 37-year-old Irish-born Power has as high a profile and as close a relationship to the candidate as anyone."

I would suggest her "loose lips" discussion of his real plan on Iraq (which puts him basically where Clinton is) finished her.

Mr Obama and Michelle talked down to Ohio voters.

Their speech's on "Don't go into corporate America, take the nurse's and teacher jobs, that is what we need."

His whole campaign he ran around saying he was selling hope and dreams. Came to Ohio and said You can't have Dreams.

Then when he re-opened particular specific polling sites, *cough* do to weather. The sites he opened were down town Cleveland, prominently Black area. All of northern Ohio was under ice. I guess he just wanted particular votes, the rest did not matter to him.

I lost all respect for the man

That's right Steve. Powers' calling Clinton a monster was only part of the issue here. I find her comments about Iraq quite interesting but they're being overlooked because the 'monster' comment is getting all the attention. Powers said that Obama's plan to pull out of Iraq is different from what he is telling voters. Maybe this was deliberate to focus attention away from her exposing Obama's lying to get votes.

If Hillary were a man, she'd be called "aggressive" rather than a "monster." Regarding Ms. Power, this episode just proves that even women can be misogynistic.

Maybe it's for the best. Instead of lurking around in the shadows saying God know what, it's time to lay it all out on the line. I prefer an open ignorant bigot instead of one who hides behind others.

I have yet to grasp how a 10-point win in Ohio, and a 3-point (or less) win in Texas is a BIG WIN for Hillary, when Barack's leads have been in the 20-30-point range more often than not, with a 48 point lead in Kansas, and 62 in Idaho!!

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." Jan Bonaparte

I think the Democratic Party better think long and hard before choosing Obama. You will lose the middle class working people like myself. Everyone I know says they will vote for McCain before Obama. This Obama appeared out of nowhere. He got into the Senate and started running for President. He is a creation of the Chicago machine. He had a one year record in the State legislature because that is the only year Dems had control. He had no opposition of any consequence when he ran for state office except the first time when he lost. He had the good fortune of no opposition for Senate either (Allan Keyes is no opposition). So who is this guy? Where did he come from? From nowhere. And the working middle class whites in this country will not vote for him. It is not a racial thing - he is not qualified. Now blacks will 90% vote for him. Why? Is it because they all think he is the most qualified? No -it is because he is black. So why is it if whites think Hillary or McCain is most qualified that is racist? Why is it if women want Hillary that is sexist? But when blacks want Obama that is not racist?

The best line Hillary has is that his claim to fame is that he gave one speech. When he got into the Senate he voted like Hillary. He is running on one speech. These are serious times. The economy is tanking. I worry about paying my bills every night. I can't fall asleep. I am a nervous wreck. And I want someone in charge that has the experience to get things done. Hillary is a fighter and a doer. She knows how to work hard and has shown she can work across the aisle. She is a moderate in the middle Democrat and that is where most of the country is - in the middle.

If the Dems give Obama the nod to appease the blacks and extreme Move On left they will lose the middle white vote. And if you think I am wrong remember me in November.

Mr Obama is for making history

Mr Obama Does not say what he means, too often.

Mr Obama has lied to the American People over and over again.

Mr Obama Gave $168k to charity, what charity got the windfall???? why did he not give it back to the courts, so they could give it to whom his friend of 18 years stole if from.

I am sick sick sick of the bashing of Lynn Sweet by the Obamites; the PR spinners from the Obama campaign (probably paid staffers) on this blog (which Obama doesn't read--no he PAYS people to, and the Naderites hoping the Repugs will win again. For the Sweet-bashers: "Dig up dirt" Eric?--No need! She spoke to the press while on sabbatical! The arrogance of calling Hilary a monster! Look in the mirror, lady!
For the Obamites--change in tone? Glad Obama's slightly changed his body language from outright disdain for Hilary to merely the deer in the headlights/arrogance when he walks away from the press about Rezko. NOTE TO OBAMITES--THE PRESS ON REZKO--THEY'LL BE BA A A A A CCKK!
(Hopefully you'll have Bill and Hilary to consult with on how to deal with what is probably a non-issue--but you still need to consult with people EXPERIENCED with campaigns. And ja don't learn dat at Hahvahd or Princeton or Columbia. You learn it in the streets during a campaign you actually have to fight for. Like Hilary and bill already did! Wise up junior!)
SaraJeanne--you want honesty and transparency? It ain't gonna come from Mr. "Clean" coal, coal gassification, pro nukes Obama. Wake up!
The Obama supporters are way way way too sexist and hateful toward Hilary and until Obama and Michelle reign that stuff in (Michelle actually encouraged this "ozzie and harriet" stuff early on) then maybe he doesn't even belong on the ticket as veep.

Fairfix, why on earth would you think it's intimidation? The fact is, more Obama supporters are willing to make the effort to show up for a caucus. Once Edwards was out, the 'viability' and switching supporters stopped. Now it's just about choosing delegates.

Steve, meet John Maynard Keynes:
"When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

I have tried hard to find something likable about Sen Clinton and have even read Carl Bernstein's book "A Woman in Charge", since I am an avid democrat. Since before the Ohio and Texas primaries, however, her behavior and willingness to conduct a "scorched earth" campaign has disturbed me a great deal. Her conduct alarms me precisely because she seems to be so adept at and comfortable with running such a negative campaign. If she has indeed found her voice at last, it appears to be a strident one. I acknowledge that she is smart and has worked hard in this campaign, but I think that her "killer" instincts and tactics (such as the claim that she and John McCain are better suited to deal with foreign affairs and run the country than Obama is) is something that one democrat should never say about another. She is sacrificing the future of the democratic party to fuel her own ambitions. Her presidency would result in a divided and bitter government, and We the people would once again suffer from the ill effects of partisan politics unable to constructively address the problems facing us today as a nation.
If she wins the nomination, I will simply have to vote for Barack Obama for president as a write-in candidate -- and all of the Obama supporters I know in my neighborhood and at work feel the same way!

Of course you all know that Power did not "resign" because of the remark about Hillary - the Obama campaign would not feel they were being hurt at all by it, in fact they would appreciate all the negative publicity for Hillary being spun off that the REPUBLICANS started years ago (and that many of you still lap up.) No, she was let go because of the remark about OBAMA, and how he would not keep his promise about Iraq. And this is from a person who dropped a year of her life to aggressively campaign and support him, in his inner circle ... what else does she know about him she's NOT saying?

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets


Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on March 7, 2008 10:43 AM.

Sweet: At political souvenir store, hedging their bets was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet column: Obama's "drama-free" team. His inner circle. is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.