Shaheen Departure: A Glimpse at the Back Story

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Phil Singer, deputy communications director for the Clinton campaign, denies any uprising from Clinton African-American supporters played a role in the ouster of Billy Shaheen, Clinton New Hampshire co-chair (see post below).

"That report is not true," Singer told me. "Senator Clinton has personally apologized to Senator Obama for Mr. Shaheen's comments. They were not authorized by Senator Clinton or her campaign. She made it clear that negative personal remarks have no place in our campaign."

5:45 p.m. UPDATE:

Obama campaign weighs in on Shaheen's departure. Says nothing about the circumstances that led to it.

"It is clear that the politics of false attacks and innuendo are being rejected by the voters from New Hampshire and around the country," said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. "Barack Obama is focusing his campaign on the positive change he is going to bring to America as President.”


Two Democratic sources tell Fox that outrage expressed by African-American supporters of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign led to the resignation today of New Hampshire Clinton co-chair Billy Shaheen.

The Clinton campaign denied the story. It also declined to discuss the circumstances of Shaheen's departure.

The sources said these supporters, whose names are not yet known, told the Clinton campaign they found Shaheen's comments to The Washington Post yesterday about Obama's admitted teen drug use out of bonds and offensive.

The sources said the African-American supporters were angry that Obama's drug use would come up in the final stages of the campaign and expressed resentment that a high-ranking official with Clinton's campaign would take out so aggressively against Obama, the first African-American candidate ever to have a serious shot at the Democratic Party nomination.

The crux of the complaints, the sources said, was that while they support Hillary's bid for the presidency, these African-American supporters did not want to see Obama, who wrote that he turned away from the temptations of marijuana and cocaine use as a youth, vilified for doing something the black community tries so hard to convince other at-risk black youth to do everyday.
The issue came to a head in at least one conference call late Wednesday. Clinton apologized personally to Obama this morning in Washington. Shaheen stepped down from the Clinton campaign late today.