The Children’s Crusade (Updated)

The kerfuffle du jour is yet another gaffe from an Obama top policy advisor, this time from Samantha Power, a senior foreign policy advisor to the Obama campaign:

HILLARY Clinton has been branded a “monster” by one of Barack Obama’s top advisers, as the gloves come off in the race to win the Democrat nomination.

In an unguarded moment during an interview with The Scotsman in London, Samantha Power, Mr Obama’s key foreign policy aide, let slip the camp’s true feelings about the former first lady.

Her comments came as Mr Obama, whose defeats in Texas and Ohio on Tuesday were largely attributed to a series of negative attacks on him, vowed to turn up the heat on Mrs Clinton over her claims to be the more experienced candidate.

Yesterday, the Obama camp went on the offensive, pointing out that Mrs Clinton has still not released her tax return and casting doubt on her experience.

In response, a Clinton adviser said the attack reminded him of the witch-hunt led by special prosecutor Kenneth Starr, which led to the impeachment of her husband, Bill, when he was president.

Earlier, clearly rattled by the Ohio defeat, Ms Power told The Scotsman Mrs Clinton was stopping at nothing to try to seize the lead from her candidate.

“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.

While I have little doubt that Sen. Clinton is willing to go to great lengths to achieve her dream of the presidency and that, like most politicians, she can justify practically anything in her conflation of her own good with that of her party, her country, and the world, I completely reject the notion that she is a “monster”. She is merely a politician.

I don’t expect Sen. Obama to apologize for the gaffe. Apologies are neither required nor useful. I do think that the loose lips of Obama’s advisors, first economic advisor Austan Goolsbee and now foreign policy advisor Ms. Power, suggest an immaturity in judgment that should give us pause. They may know everything there is to know about economics and foreign policy. Do they have the maturity and judgment to render sound advice?

James Joyner covers the story with his characteristic temperate tone:

These gaffes happen over a long campaign and, certainly, Obama can’t be held responsible for every frustrated remark even close advisers make to the press. Nor should he be expected to fire everyone who says something regrettable.


Obama comes across as smart and decent and serious. But recent gaffes by his close advisers highlight the fact that we really don’t know him very well.


Nedra Pickler of the Associate Press is reporting that Samantha Power has resigned from the Obama campaign. That makes the Obama foreign policy team that much weaker.

This observation from TPM emphasizes the point:

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.

4 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw Link

    I have to admit one of the charm’s of an Obama presidency was the prospect of someone without much foreign policy experience being tutored by an idealist about American power and influence in the world.

  • Thomas Jackson Link

    God save us from self appointed “foreign policy experts.” We only have to review the brillance of the Kennedy, Carter, Wilson and Nixon regimes to see what such people are capable of.

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