Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., may be reluctant to throw a punch at Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. -- but at least one adviser doesn't appear to be, at least when she thinks she's off the record.
Samantha Power, the executive director and founder of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard, is touring Europe to promote a book, and she gave an interview with The Scotsman, which quotes her saying of Clinton, "We f***** up in Ohio. 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."
Power said, "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."
The newspaper notes that "If a conversation is to be off the record, that agreement is usually thrashed out before the interview begins. Sometimes, public figures say something and then attempt to retract it by insisting it was 'off the record' after the event. But by then it is too late, particularly if it is in the public interest that the story be published...
"In this instance, Samantha Power was promoting her book and it was established in advance that the interview was on the record."
In December, Obama said he had "been very clear to my campaign. I do not want to see research that is involved in trying to tear people down personally. If I find out that somebody is doing that, they will be fired. And I have been absolutely crystal clear about this, and I have been clear about this for a very long time."
Would this count? Should Power be fired by the Obama standard?
UPDATE: Statement from Samantha Power: These comments do not reflect my feelings about Sen. Clinton, whose leadership and public service I have long admired. I should not have made these comments and I deeply regret them. It is wrong for anyone to pursue this campaign in such negative and personal terms. I apologize to Sen. Clinton and to Sen. Obama, who has made very clear that these kinds of expressions should have no place in American politics.
Statement from Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton: Sen. Obama decries such characterizations, which have no place in this campaign.