Samantha Power, a senior foreign policy adviser to Sen. Barack Obama, resigned Friday morning after calling Sen. Hillary Clinton a "monster" in an interview with a European newspaper.
"With deep regret, I am resigning from my role as an adviser the Obama campaign effective today," said Power in a statement issued by the Obama campaign. "Last Monday, I made inexcusable remarks that are at marked variance from my oft-stated admiration for Senator Clinton and from the spirit, tenor and purpose of the Obama campaign. And I extend my deepest apologies to Senator Clinton, Senator Obama and the remarkable team I have worked with over these long 14 months."
Power's statement came scarcely an hour after congressional supporters of Clinton demanded that Obama fire Power for the remarks.
In a conference call organized by the Clinton campaign, Democratic Reps. Nita Lowey and Gregory Meeks of New York, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, decried the remarks made in The Scotsman by Power, 37, a Pulitzer-Prize winning professor at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University.
"This is an important test for Senator Obama, " said Lowey. "It's really a test of character … You really wonder how Sen. Obama can have a person like that, as bright as she might be, advising his campaign."
Wasserman Schultz said Power's comments violated the spirit of the campaign run by Obama, who "has talked about politics of hope throughout," since her description of Clinton in the interview "degenerated into negative personal attacks and name-calling," which Wasserman Schultz called "below the belt" and "out of bounds."
Minus the name-calling, Clinton herself has been aggressively attacking Obama in recent weeks as unprepared for the position of commander-in-chief, while Obama has generally attempted to take the high road, dropping suggestions here and there of ways he might confront Clinton but never actually doing so.
Clinton's attacks have caused Democratic officials to worry that Clinton may cause irreparable harm to Obama, who still leads in the Democratic race. The dynamic is also causing many of Obama's supporters to wonder if he can take or throw a punch, and whether he would be prepared for a political fight against GOP nominee John McCain.
Since Obama became a threat to Clinton, various officials and allies of her campaign have made personal attacks against him.
In three instances, the Clinton campaign asked the individuals to step down from the campaign: After New Hampshire state chair Billy Shaheen made a reference to Obama's childhood drug use, and after two Iowa field organizers forwarded e-mails ludicrously claiming that Obama was a sort of Muslim Manchurian candidate.
"When Mr. Shaheen made those comments he was removed from the campaign," Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson pointed out today.
But in other instances, the Clinton campaign has not taken any action when an ally has made personal attacks against Obama. When billionaire supporter Bob Johnson, the founder of BET, made an oblique reference to Obama's youthful drug use in a speech, the Clinton campaign in fact originally repeated Johnson's claims that his comments had been misconstrued.
Johnson eventually admitted he had been talking about Obama's past drug use and he apologized to the senator.