Obama Campaign on Power Controversy, Goolsbee Controversy

030708 obama5 web Obama Campaign on Power Controversy, Goolsbee ControversyOn a conference call that just ended, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe sought to raise questions about Hillary Clinton’s unreleased tax returns, but instead ended up fielding questions about controversies involving advisers to his own campaign.

“This point about vetting and electablility does raise some questions about Senator Clinton,” said Plouffe, responding to the Clinton campaign’s assertion that Obama had not been sufficiently vetted. He added, “Hillary Clinton is one of the most secretive politicians in America today.”

When the call was opened up to questions, reporters wanted to know about the resignation of foreign policy adviser Samantha Power and the enduring controversy surrounding economic adviser (and Power’s college buddy) Austan Goolsbee’s conversation with Canadian government officials about NAFTA.

“On the Samantha Power issue,” Plouffe began. “We think she made the right decision today. Senator Obama believes that those comments weren’t appropriate and while she is a very brilliant person and has been a valuable part of our campaign, we cannot condone those types of comments.”

When asked about Power’s contention in a BBC interview that Obama would not necessarily stick to the plan he has outlined for Iraq as a senator and presidential candidate if realities on the ground dictated a different approach, Plouffe said, “No, he obviously believes going to Iraq was a mistake in the first place,” said Plouffe. “He has been and will continue to be crystal clear with the American people that if and when he is elected president, we will be out of Iraq, as he said the time frame would be about 16 months at the most.”

Plouffe also said he regretted the way the Goolsbee controversy was handled, but it wasn’t clear if he meant by Goolsbee or the campaign.

“It was a request [by the Canadian official] that came to him, and he went over there, and obviously we regret how it was handled and wish all the information had been provided on the first run, at the first moment,” he said.