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Breaking News: Mark Penn out as Clinton chief strategist

In a simple, short and not-so sweet message, Hillary Clinton's campaign announced minutes ago that Mark Penn was outNew York Senator Hillary Clinton's chief political strategist for her troubled Democratic presidential campaign Mark Penn has resigned April 6 2008 as her chief political strategist.

The announcement came in a brief statement from Maggie Williams, the campaign's new manager, who replaced Patti Solis Doyle in a previous shakeup this winter.

It was the latest sign of severe internal trouble in Clinton's trailing effort to catch Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination in fundraising, delegates and popular votes. It could not come at a worse time as both campaigns make their final runs at the crucial Pennsylvania primary on April 22.

Clinton has seen her once-commanding lead in the Keystone State shrink in recent days as Obama recovered from the embarrassing Rev. Jeremiah Wright racial jeremiads.

Obama raised twice as much money as she did last month.

And Obama's strategy is to spend heavily on TV advertising in Pennsylvania -- some estimates put it at five times her ad spending -- to cut into her lead with his abundant funds and to....

force Clinton to spend her more limited resources there, which means she won't have them for North Carolina, Indiana and elsewhere later.

To complicate matters, the brusque Penn has not made many friends within the close-mouthed Clinton campaign. In a profile in The Times earlier this winter he appeared to distance himself and minimize his role from what seemed then to be a failing campaign.

And this week he was involved in an embarrassing conflict of interest when he met with the ambassador of Colombia representing his public relations agency, which had been hired to promote a trade pact with the United States.

But Penn's other client, Clinton, opposes the pact. And she thought he had recused himself from all possible conflicts with her campaign and was reportedly furious. So Friday he apologized for the "error in judgment that will not be repeated." On Saturday Colombia fired his PR agency, the same day some anti-trade pact unions began calling for his resignation.

Now Penn is gone, from all appearances not willingly despite the announcement's phrasing.

Here is Williams' statement in its entirety:

"After the events of the last few days, Mark Penn has asked to give up his role as Chief Strategist of the Clinton Campaign; Mark, and Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, Inc. will continue to provide polling and advice to the campaign. Geoff Garin and Howard Wolfson will coordinate the campaign's strategic message team going forward."

--Andrew Malcolm

                                                                    Photo Credit: Horowitz

Comments () | Archives (29)

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Too little too late Hillary..

How Ironic, that the Clinton Campaign is practicing Divisive Politics both outside in Washington, as well as inside It's Very Own Campaign !

All Obama has to do now is sit quietly and watch Hillary's Campaign Self-Destruct !


The constant turnover in the Clinton campaign reminds me of the same turnoverin the Bush administration. They all have to leave when they get "caught". Clinton seems to be unable to control her people, or vet them before hiring them. In a similar show of poor management, she can't seem to vet her stories for truth either. On top of all that, despite her $109 million income, she apparently can't manage her campaign's money, having to lend % million to herself, and still leaving a trail of unpaid bills behind her. This is not the person I want running our country.

This situation is so revealing of the Clinton campaign and the people she continues to surround herself with. It is very troubling what goes on in her entourage and she makes it so easy as the woman I am not to vote for her.

She is NOT the right person to be president right now, that is for sure.

In my opinion, Mark Penn should have quit the Clinton campaign months ago. He has talent that the campaign does not use, nor appreciate. And, his firm should quit providing polling data and advice. Otherwise, he will get blamed for the candidate's failures.

I never quite trusted him, glad he is gone and glad Hillary is still on the road to the White House...Of course this article appears to be very bias toward the empy suit Obama....

Finally! I can't think of a greater conflict of interest EVER.

Obama 08! Almost there...

Good riddance to bad rubbish. This is yet another nail in the coffin of the Clinton campaign.

A political campaign is like a house. If you build it on a weak foundation, the whole structure will eventually become compromised. It's only a matter of time.

he's not gone, he will provide advice in another job title.

Now, when will Hillary leave the campaign?

See, after wining OH on false note, their colors are coming out clear even to the colorblind! This double talk ought to stop and truth telling candidates continue, ok?

Well, well, well. Looks like the people of PA can't count on Senator Clinton to ensure that Free Trade is Fair Trade!

Talk about

Financial woes. Constant mis-statements. Staff failures. If this is how Hillary runs her campaign, I shudder to think how she'll run the White House.

Another one bites the dust. The Clinton campaign team the only entity she has C.E.O. power over is getting beat and every turn or at least they are imploding.

Her team underestimated Barack Obama badly.

They reidiculed Caucus states and acted like every won from Obama was meaningless.

They outspent Barack Obama in a huge way at the beginning of the game and got little results for all the cash they burned through as if it was water that would just keep flowing.

They are behind in every key category, delegates, votes, money and organization and strategy.

Mark Penn was really more like a bad penny and just one more bad apple in a whole barrel of them.

HRC will be out of the nomination race by the 7th of June one way or the other and hopefully she will leave with some dignity for party left in her teams wake.

Omama in 2008!

Loss of the Union votes WOULD be the end for HRC. She could not let THAT happen, so "another one bites the dust." In THIS case, though it is very much a case of TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE.
LYING is not a 2, 3 or 4-time thing w/HRC. As William Safire once pointed out, "the Clintons are pathological LIARS."
As early as her work on the Watergate trials, she:
1) HID exculpatory evidence
2) WROTE A LEGAL BRIEF extolling her LIE. (Had she gotten the opportunity to present the brief to the JUDGE as she intended, she could have been Disbarred LIKE HER HUSBAND, BILL).
3) She was saved from disbarment by a sympathetic boss who terminated Her INSTEAD.
Hillary Rodham has a history of lying with impunity, as if there are NO CONSEQUENCES.
During the recent Martin Luther King's assassination anniversary, she gave REPEATED SPEECHES about HER WORK DURING THE 60'S and HER feelings about MLK’s death. EVERY WORD OUT OF HER MOUTH sounded "FALSE" and did NOT ring true. DOES ANYONE STILL BELIEVE ANYTHING HILLARY CLINTON SAYS ??

So let me get this straight, he quit the campaign, yet he still will serve as an advisor - who is Judas now?

Loyalty is an important thing, but so is competency (heckuva job Brownie!). He certainly hasn't been loyal to her causes, so why has she decided to keep him on, albeit with a different title?

If you can't run a campaign, how can you run the country?

:) Bye, bye, Mark Penn. Follow campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle, deputy campaign manager Mike Henry, volunteer coordinators Judy Rose and Linda Olsen. Take a moment of silence and remember Ikes and Penn and their famous curse-word-filled exchange, the 5 million dollars Clinton had to lend the campaign, the debt they currently owe to angry Ohio even businesses, Bill Clinton's recurrent temper explosions, the "sleep-deprived" three-time lie about running from sniper fire...If this is her campaign, God save us from her presidency.

Obamabots shouldn't be celebrating too much. This is actually a good thing for Hillary's campaign. Penn was a troll and the campaign will be stronger without him.

Hillary Clinton has not only destroyed her own career but has now seriously harmed the memory of her husband's term as President. Her scorch and burn campaign and "win at all costs" approach will forever wash out any positive things she accomplished. What has she ever done for the country anyway? She should step down and go away if she can't get behind the ultimate goal of diminishing conservatism in America. Obama is a once in a lifetime leader. He follows in the footsteps of Lincoln and Kennedy and will be the greatest leader of the last 50 years.

Well another example of what a Clinton White House would be like, turmoil. Between her "mis-statements" to her lack of control in her staff, this is not what America wants or needs.

"...So let me get this straight, he quit the campaign, yet he still will serve as an advisor..."

Doesn't she owe him like 4 million bucks? How did you get rid of someone that you owe 4 million to...

Was it not the Los Angeles Times that endorsed the Clinton campaign? Go figure?

(Yeh, go figure. Trouble with your memory is it's wrong. The Times Editorial Board, as opposed to the newspaper or the website or this blog, did not endorse Hillary Clinton in the California primary.)

Bill & hillary are not capable of telling the truth they can't even say they fired someone.

bungalow rose wrote
I never quite trusted him, glad he is gone and glad Hillary is still on the road to the White House...Of course this article appears to be very bias toward the empy suit Obama....
Rose , I suppose you think that the poor judgment Hillary has consistently made with her staff and how she portrayed herself is somehow Barack's fault.. and HE Is the empty suit. UMMM does that mean she is an empty BRA???

Bias much?

Would you trust this man (Penn) to be advising you at 3 AM when "the call" comes?


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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