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March 8, 2008
Fall out from Powers Resignation continues by R. Moran
The resignation of unpaid foriegn policy advisor Samantha Powers over what the Weekly Standard refers to as "what might have been the most ill-starred book tour since the invention of movable type" is still roiling the campaign and has revealed some glaring weaknesses in the Obama camp.
Clinton surrogates have fanned out across the medai sphere and are hammering the Obama campaign for what some are callling "amatuer hour;"
Retired NATO commander Wes Clark and former State Department spokesman Jamie Rubin attacked Samantha Power on a Clinton conference call just now, a fairly poignant moment because Power, in the past, has been their vocal ally. Another Obama advisor, former National Security Council chief Zbigniew Brzezinski publicly disagreed with Obama's decision to can Powers:
Clark today called her words "disturbing" and suggested that Obama's stance boils down to "simply show[ing] up and say[ing], 'What's this all about?'" That approach would, he said, "leave us still at war."
Rubin blamed Obama for the mess, in particular for giving a senior foreign policy adviser — he described her variously as a "guru" and a "svengali" with "unlimited access to the candidate — free rein to tour the world talking about his policies in a field where words matter. "He can't seem to run a foreign policy team the way it's supposed to run," he said, calling it "amateur hour on making foreign policy."
In response to a request for reaction to her resignation earlier today, the office of Brzezinski—another of Obama's foreign policy advisers—relayed the following statement: Meanwhile, Hillary Pounced:
"In response to a request for reaction to her resignation earlier today, the office of Brzezinski—another of Obama's foreign policy advisers—relayed the following statement: "I think an expression of regret for using an inappropriate description of Senator Clinton should have sufficed. And I don't think she should have resigned."
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. This is the latest example of promising the American people one thing on the campaign trail and telling people in other countries another. We saw this with NAFTA as well,” Clinton said. And the today, another key advisor seemed to go off the reservation as Obama's intelligence chief came out in favor of granting immunity to telecoms for their participation in domestic surveillance programs - a clear contradiction of Obama's policy:
“He has attacked me continuously for having no hard exit date and now we learn that he doesn’t have one -– in fact he doesn’t have a plan at all according to his top foreign policy adviser,” she said.
“He keeps telling people one thing while his campaign tells people abroad something else I’m not sure what the American people should believe but I would refer you to the BBC interview in which the top foreign policy adviser is speaking about senator Obama and Iraq,” Clinton said.
"I do believe strongly that [telecoms] should be granted that immunity," former CIA official John Brennan told National Journal reporter Shane Harris in the interview. "They were told to [cooperate] by the appropriate authorities that were operating in a legal context." It appears that in some respects, Obama's campaign is faltering. The message is being undermined by staffers going off on their own and injecting their own views into the discussion rather than staying on point with what the candidate himself has said.
"I know people are concerned about that, but I do believe that's the right thing to do," added Brennan, who is an intelligence and foreign policy adviser to Obama.
It certanly destroys the myth of competence that has grown up around the campaign. And whether he can right the ship and get back on track will determine whether he can win through to the nomination.