Mark Penn continues his destructive ways

The losing campaign’s chief strategist, Mark Penn, kept up the trash talk today. On a campaign conference call with Governor Rendell and Philadelphia Mayor Mike Nutter, Penn said that Pennsylvania provides a “significant test” of who can win the general election. Penn said it will show that “Senator Obama really can’t win the general election.” Yes, he did. USA Today has the audio and this blurb:

Though the campaign later argued that he hadn’t said it, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s chief campaign strategist told reporters this morning that Sen. Barack Obama “can’t win the general election.”

As painful as it is to listen to the pompous Penn, it’s worth hearing the audio. Then listen to the next segment provided where Howard Wolfson denied that Mark Penn made the statement. It’s classic Clinton campaign. These people are dangerous. They know they’ve drifted into dangerous territory but can’t help themselves.

What’s important is that Penn is wrong. The Clinton campaign just made up the idea that primary performance is related to general election results. Matt Yglesias and Noam Scheiber both look at a Pennsylvania poll that counters Penn’s argument. According to Matt, the poll “indicates that Clinton will do much better than Obama in the Democratic primary but Obama will do slightly better than Clinton in a general election.” With strong support from the Rendell machine and the Mayor of Philadelphia, Hillary should win Pennsylvania by 20 points. But that is irrelevant to the general election.

Also, I am relinking to an earlier post about Mark Penn, the CEO of Burson-Marsteller. One of the companies under his control represents Hillary Clinton. Another of Burson-Marsteller’s companies, BKSH, is run by Charlie Black, who is a top adviser to John McCain. So a Clinton win or a McCain win is good for Penn’s business. Just makes you wonder where Penn’s loyalties lie — and we shouldn’t be wondering about the loyalties of a top Democratic strategist.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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