From NBC’s Domenico Montanaro--
The Obama campaign responded on Samantha Power’s resignation and said there “seems to be a different standard in the Clinton campaign” on personal attacks.
“She made the right decision,” Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe said of Power, a Pulitzer-prize winning author and Harvard professor who helped shape Obama’s foreign policy, before describing her as “a brilliant person.” But “we cannot condone those types of comments.”
He continued though to say that there “seems to be a different standard in the Clinton campaign.” He cited supporter Bob Johnson, who alluded to Obama’s drug use in South Carolina; Tom Buffenbarger, president of the machinists' union, who vitriolically trashed Obama in Ohio; and Tom Vilsack, who attacked Rudy Giuliani on the number of his marriages and the relationship with his children.
“It took them days to admit they were offensive comments,” Plouffe said of Johnson’s comments. And on Vilsack’s comments on Giuliani, there was “no action there,” Plouffe said. Clinton, Plouffe points out, never apologized for Buffenbarger’s remarks -- calling Obama “Janus, the two-faced Roman god of ancient times” and attacking his supporters as “latte-drinking, Prius-driving, Birkenstock-wearing, trust fund babies” -- at an event she was at and later followed him on stage.
“Apparently there are different standards here as it relates to people outside the campaign,” he added.
On Obama's 16-month Iraq withdrawal plan, Power told BBC that it was a “best-case scenario,” that nothing firm could be decided in March 2008 without seeing the situation on the ground in Jan. 2009 and that "He will, of course, not rely on some plan that he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or a U.S. Senator." When asked about it, Plouffe defended Obama's plan and deflected by pointing to retired Gen. Jack Keane's comments on Clinton’s own intentions on withdrawing troops from Iraq.
“He did not believe that she will pursue a quick withdrawal,” Plouffe said of Keane, who he said Clinton has developed a “close relationship” with.
Kean told the New York Sun this past weekend: "I have no doubts whatsoever that if she were president in January '09 she would not act irresponsibly and issue orders to conduct an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, regardless of the consequences, and squander the gains that have been made."
He also said Clinton "generally supported the surge strategy in the sense she wanted it to succeed but she was skeptical about its chances."
Plouffe also hit Clinton in his opening remarks again on what he called “a pattern of secrecy,” re-iterating his claim that “Sen. Clinton is one of the most secretive politicians in America today,” he said -- though note the amending that she is “one of” not “the.”
“In recent days and weeks,” Plouffe said, “the Clinton campaign is trying to suggest there are unknowns about Obama. This is an absurd claim. … There has been enormous scrutiny.” Plouffe cited that this has been a more than 13-month campaign with newspapers from around the country and world who have looked at the candidates’ records.
“The point of vetting and scrutiny raises questions about them [the Clinton campaign],” Plouffe said. “They act like any question about them” is off limits.
He went on to cite again that the Clintons have not released their full tax returns, including “schedules” for the past six years. “They can go to Kinko’s and do that,” Plouffe said. He said the tax returns could answer questions about Hillary and Bill Clinton’s “relationship with individuals who have ethical digressions.” He added, “We want full and complete accounting, including schedules. If they don’t do that, it raises huge red flags. …”
“At same time she’s trumpeting her experience, she’s preventing the American people from reviewing that experience by releasing these documents. If she’s not open and honest in this campaign, you have to wonder if she’ll be open and honest as president….
“We don’t need more George Bush secrecy in the White House.”