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Colombian Government Cancels Penn's Contract

By Anne E. Kornblut
In another international incident on the campaign trail, the Colombian government has canceled its contract with the public relations firm run by chief Clinton strategist Mark Penn after he tried to distance himself from a meeting he held with the country's ambassador to the United States.

Penn has walked a tricky tightrope throughout the presidential campaign, serving both as the chief executive of the firm Burson-Marsteller and as the top strategist for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. The two roles collided last week, as Penn met with Colombian officials to discuss a pending trade agreement that Clinton herself opposes.

After news of the meeting was made public, Penn, an already controversial figure inside the campaign, came under attack from labor unions, with some officials calling for Clinton to fire him. Both Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama have said they are against the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, and Clinton has said new trade deals should undergo extra scrutiny before being put into effect to prevent another wave of job exportation of the kind that followed the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Penn issued a statement on Friday saying that his meeting with the Colombian ambassador was an "error in judgment." In return, a statement was issued by the Colombian Embassy on Saturday morning that read: "The Colombian government considers this a lack of respect to Colombians, and finds this response unacceptable." The statement confirmed that the country is canceling its contract with Burson-Marsteller but will continue to seek passage of the Colombian trade deal. The Colombian government had hired the firm for $300,000. Penn did not have further comment.

By Web Politics Editor  |  April 5, 2008; 3:04 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Hillary Rodham Clinton  
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Hillary Clinton's campaign sends Mark Penn at 3:00am to make deals for the Columbian government. Now they are caught red handed Mark Penn loses both the contract with Columbian drug lords and the Hillary camp. If it was not caught by the press, this whole thing wouldhave continued behind closed doors.

The Hillary campaign is riddled with lies, mud slinging surrogates, fugitive money bundlers. racist women like Geraldine Feraro and name calling big mouths like the Carville. On top of that Bill gets red faced and wags his fingers in anger at everybody who doesn't support his wife. This is a new type of democracy the Clintons are bringing to the democratic party. The definition of this 'democracy' is that it doesn't matter whether you are a racist, bigot, fugitive or plain dumb and stupid, as long as you support a Clinton you are okay, otherwise you will be scolded by Bill with a red face.

I think the Clintons have degraded our democratic party.

Posted by: JohnMcCormick | April 7, 2008 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Do you think for a minute that the Columbian Government hired Mark Penn because he has deeply held beliefs that Free Trade is good for poverty stricken Columbians?

Or did they hire him for his connections to a US Senator who will either be the President OR an influential Senator?

So wrong on so many levels.
This won't play well up in Wellsboro.

Posted by: mikey999 | April 6, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

If the Colombian government did, in fact, blast Obama for being against CAFTA, then he can use that and the Penn story in Pennsylvania to point out Hillary's hypocrisy on free trade. Especially if she doesn't fire Penn. Like, yesterday!

Posted by: thrh | April 6, 2008 2:09 AM | Report abuse

"I wish Hillary would fire Mark Penn. He's such an overpaid buffoon!"

I wish Mark Penn would fire Hillary. She's such an overrated buffoon.

Posted by: thrh | April 6, 2008 2:07 AM | Report abuse

"I wish Hillary would fire Mark Penn. He's such an overpaid buffoon!"

I wish Mark Penn would fire Hillary. She's such an overrated buffoon.

Posted by: thrh | April 6, 2008 2:02 AM | Report abuse

I'm an Obama supporter, but I'm actually starting to feel sorry for Hillary now. It's sad how she and her campaign keep screwing up so much. But at least now the American public is getting a good sense of who and what she truly is.

Posted by: mnero | April 6, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

I'd love to see how the Clintonistas spin this debacle.

Posted by: vmunikoti | April 5, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse

I bet you she can't afford to fire him. At least not right now. That's a lawsuit waiting to happen. After all he wasn't the one who lied about Bosnia, sat on the Walmart board without speaking up for womens rights and unions, and forgot to mention it in her memoirs. Those are self-inflicted.

Posted by: n2itiveus | April 5, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Is hillary really against NAFTA?against the free trade agreement???????
the NAFTA was pushed by her husband ,and the free trade agreement between Columbia and the USA is lobyying by her chief stragist Mark penn.
Does Hillary really oppose the FTA?

Posted by: yjx6655 | April 5, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Given the Clinton campaign's propensity for mis-speaking and untruths--one has to wonder if the Colombian government thought that Penn was speaking for Clinton. And one has to wonder if Hillary knew about the arrangement. A few days ago, the Colombian government put out a statement blasting Obama for his opposition to the free trade agreement--but they didn't mention Clinton even though she opposes it (supposedly) just as strongly as Obama. You just can't know what the truth is with Hillary Clinton. If she were (Heaven forbid) president, we'd have 4-8 more years of wondering if our president was lying to us or hiding things from us. I don't know about you; but, I'm tired of distrusting our government. Go Obama.

Posted by: SueB2 | April 5, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

As an Obama supporter, I find the Hillary camp troubling. For Hillary to have her most senior advisor, Penn, doing the exact thing Hillary herself accused and ridiculed Obama's campaign for is total hypocrisy.

Obama's campaign should be all over this story reminding the media of the hypocrisy and dishonesty of the Clinton campaign in regards to NAFTA for the upcoming Pennslyvania primary.

Posted by: ajtiger92 | April 5, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

I wish Hillary would fire Mark Penn. He's such an overpaid buffoon!

Posted by: brigittepj | April 5, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

I wish Hillary would fire Mark Penn. He's such an overpaid buffoon!

Posted by: brigittepj | April 5, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

April 5, 2008
Also Saturday, Clinton campaign officials acknowledged that an anecdote Clinton has made a staple of her stump speech in recent weeks may not have been true and wasn't thoroughly checked for accuracy before she began repeating it on the campaign trail.

Since competing in Ohio's March 4 primary, Clinton has shared the story of an Ohio woman who worked in a pizza parlor and died after giving birth to a stillborn child. The woman was uninsured, Clinton said, and twice denied medical care at a local hospital because she couldn't pay a $100 fee.

Clinton said she learned of the story from a deputy sheriff whose home she visited while campaigning in Ohio. She told the story as recently as late Friday, at a rally in Grand Forks, N.D.

Officials with O'Bleness Memorial Hospital in Athens, Ohio, have disputed the story, saying the woman, Trina Bachtel, was insured and did receive care through an obstetric practice affiliated with the hospital, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Hospital officials did not immediately return phone calls Saturday from The Associated Press.

Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee acknowledged that the campaign had tried but hadn't been able to "fully vet" the story before she began repeating it on the campaign trail."

As I read an account of one of Mrs. Clinton's speeches a couple of days ago, I thought it sounded fishy. Unbelievable ... I don't think she can tell the truth from lies anymore!

Posted by: Omyobama | April 5, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Clinton is outraged by a meeting a Canadian consular officer in Chicago asked for with an unpaid Obama economic advisor, yet her primary strategist, a man associated with Clinton campaigns for decades is paid $300,000.00 to lobby for CAFTA by the anti-labor dangerous Colombian government? And the Colombians fire Penn, but Mrs. Clinton keeps him on? Read between the lines in their statement; Mark Penn did not try to dissuade these folks from thinking he had Mrs. Clinton's ear on this. The tip of the iceberg as more and more of Mark Penn's client list gets revealed -- Blackwater? This guy has been a disaster for Mrs. Clinton so I hope she doesn't fire him, but people take note. It's the hypocrisy, stupid!

Posted by: Omyobama | April 5, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

The Columbian government, Mark Penn, and Hillary Clinton take the American public for fools.

The Columbian government issued a detailed press release to announce the so-called firing of Penn to take the pressure off Clinton.

If Penn is publicly canned by the Columbian government, Clinton will have no reason to fire Penn. Penn remains an insider in the Clinton camp.

If Clinton is elected, then the Columbian government simply re-hires Penn to push their agenda with Clinton.

The Columbian announcement is nothing more than a strategic political ploy to help Penn and Clinton.

Posted by: txgall | April 5, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Hillary's destiny is inevitable, but not the way she would have liked. This news will only accelerate her withdrawl from the race... it will dry up her fundraising, demoralize her supporters, giver her bad press coverage, and strengthen her image as a phony liar. Inevitable.

Posted by: Tetris | April 5, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Is Hillary turning into a pathological lier? I mean look at it - Sniper fire, Ohio woman, doing business with a Saudi Prince when just a few months ago she (Hillary) was bashing Bush and Cheney for doing the same thing! Hillary's top aide cauht negotiating a deal with the Colombians, when she's supposedly against that same deal! What is wrong with this picture???

Posted by: tintin08 | April 5, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse


This story from AP check it out! ... Hillary has been repeating a lie since OH days. It turns out she (Hillary) never really talked to this woman or even a close relative! this woman who according to HILL was denied healthcare! OH! MY GOSH! How can we possibly have Hillary in the White House???

Posted by: tintin08 | April 5, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Clinton in OH after the Obama/Canada scandal:
"I don't think people should come to Ohio and tell the people of Ohio one thing and then have your campaign tell a foreign government something else behind closed doors," Clinton said then. "That's the kind of difference between talk and action and that I've been pointing out in this campaign."

"I would ask you to look at that story, substitute my name for Senator Obama," she also said. "If some of my advisers had been having private meetings with foreign governments and basically saying ignore what I'm saying because it's only political rhetoric ... I think it raises serious questions."

It doesn't surprise me that Clinton is once again, caught up in a wave of turmoil. This, however shouldn't be surprising considering she was an executor of the major outsourcing blunder that laid off 60,000 American workers of Cisco Systems and replaced them with workers from India, with Cisco claiming they weren't finding qualified American workers. It seems to me, the American workers that were laid off were doing just fine.

Clinton is an established Washington con artist who deserves all the scrutiny and heat her campaign is receiving. A vote for Clinton is a vote for unemployment.

Clinton=Liar Liar "Sniper-fire"

Posted by: reggie.stephens | April 5, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton has two albatrosses on her neck: she is married to one and hired the other (for a princely sum, no less). Tell me again why America wants Hillary as president???

Posted by: meldupree | April 5, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Penn is not an asset to Clinton, in fact he is responsible for much of the mudfest. Clinton better sticks with Wolfson and Ickes.
Besides as said in other boards, he is going to give her a headache when it comes to foreign policies. And this ashame the american people.

Posted by: THERESEPRIEUR04 | April 5, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Leave Foreign Relations in that region to McRomney. ;~)

For that Matter, ALL Foreign Relations.

It's THEIR Job! :-)

Posted by: rat-the | April 5, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Hillary supporter. I think they should fire Penn.

Posted by: badger3 | April 5, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

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