Obama aide resigns after calling Clinton 'a monster'
UPDATE: Samantha Power resigns from Obama campaign
A senior foreign policy adviser to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama announced her resignation Friday morning after coming under heavy fire for calling Hillary Clinton "a monster" during a newspaper interview.
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, said the adviser, Samantha Power, in a statement released by Obama's campaign Friday.
Obama's campaign scheduled a 1:30 p.m. conference call during which Power's resignation is sure to come up.
Clinton surrogates criticized comments
Earlier in the day, Hillary Clinton's staff gathered some prominent congressional surrogates to denounce Barack Obama for an aide's reference to the former First Lady as a "monster," and the campaign called on Obama to fire his prominent foreign policy adviser.
"Personal attacks are not the way to convince voters that you're capable of being president of the United States," said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), a Clinton supporter. "We're calling on Sen. Obama to make it very clear that Samantha Power should not be a part of his campaign."
Power, an Obama adviser, told Scottish newspaper the Scotsman, that Clinton was "a monster" who "is stooping to anything" to win.
"We f***** up in Ohio," she admitted. "In Ohio, they are obsessed and Hillary is going to town on it, because she knows Ohio's the only place they can win.
"She is a monster, too that is off the record she is stooping to anything," Ms Power said, hastily trying to withdraw her remark.
"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."
She announced her resignation about 90 minutes after a Clinton campaign conference call to criticize those remarks.
"We understand that politics is a contact sport, but the contact should be on issues" not personalities, said Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), another Clinton supporter. He went on to imply Obama was reading from a Republican playbook.
"This is not Democratic politics at all. ... That's the kind of attack that comes from the other political party," he said.
Meeks and Lowey joined several other Clinton-supporting lawmakers on a quickly arranged conference call Friday morning to scold Obama over his aide's remarks. The call came a day after Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson accused Obama's campaign of "imitating Ken Starr."
Wolfson insisted there was a difference between that remark and Power's statement. He also said the Clinton campaign had fired advisers in the past who had personally attacked Obama, such as its New Hampshire co-chairman who raised questions about Obama's drug use and Iowa staffers who circulated an anti-Obama e-mail.
"I think there is a difference between engaging in the kind of ad hominem personal attack that Samantha Powers did and questioning the kind of campaign that Sen. Obama is running," Wolfson said, referring to his Starr remark. "Had I or anyone referred to Obama using the word Samantha Power used, we would not be on this campaign this morning."
Power has said she regrets the remark and released a statement through Obama's campaign.
"These comments do not reflect my feelings about Sen. Clinton, whose leadership and public service I have long admired, she said.
The Power gaff was the second time in as many days an Obama foreign policy adviser caused trouble for the candidate. On Thursday, adviser Susan Rice said neither Obama nor Clinton were prepared to handle a sudden national security crisis. Clinton's campaign distributed a clip of Rice's comments, hoping to further embarrass Obama and question his national security credentials.
Foreign Policy magazine jokingly referred to Rice as the "Worst Foreign Policy Spokeswoman Ever," after Thursday's gaffe. No word on whether they're reconsidering that distinction.