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Clinton Operatives Land

Six weeks after Hillary Rodham Clinton formally ended her bid for the presidency, a number of her top operatives have landed in other jobs across the political spectrum.

While the hiring of former Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle ("PSD" to her friends) and former Clinton policy director Neera Tanden by the Obama campaign has drawn the most attention, a number of other top strategists from her campaign have recently taken new -- and high profile -- jobs.

Nick Clemons, the highly coveted New Hampshire operative who was widely credited with delivering Clinton a come-from-behind victory in the Granite State primary, has decided to move across country to manage the gubernatorial exploratory effort of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. And, Clinton field director extraordinaire Robby Mook is moving to New Hampshire to manage former governor Jeanne Shaheen's (D) rematch against Sen. John Sununu (R).

The news of Clemons move, which was first reported by, gives Newsom instant credibility as he prepares for what will likely be a very crowded Democratic primary field in 2010 when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is term limited out of office.

Newsom has major strengths and major weaknesses as a candidate. His strengths include his base in San Francisco, the hotbed of liberalism in the state, and his notoriety as a champion of gay marriage -- an issue sure to play well among Democratic base voters. His weakness? An admitted affair with his top aide's wife.

A slew of Democrats are mentioned for the 2010 primary with former governor and current California Attorney General Jerry Brown considered the early favorite. On the Republican side, wealthy state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poivra is seen as the leading candidate.

In New Hampshire, Mook signs on to a campaign that has maintained a double-digit lead over the incumbent for much of the past year. Mook, who won kudos from the Clintonites for his successful management of the Nevada, Ohio and Indiana primaries, took over for Bill Hyers last week.

Shaheen came up four points short of Sununu in the 2002 open seat race but polls have consistently shown her well ahead of the incumbent in this year's rematch. New Hampshire was at the epicenter of anti-war, anti-Republican sentiment that swept the country in 2006 and has shown no serious signs of abating since.

The moves of Mook and Clemons are the latest in a series of post-campaign maneuvers by senior members of Clinton's team. Howard Wolfson, the face of the campaign on television, inked a deal with Fox News Channel and has returned to his consulting work at the Glover Park Group. Phil Singer, Wolfson's deputy, has started his own consulting company -- Marathon Strategies -- and boasts a client list that includes the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Yahoo. Mark Penn, the controversial chief strategist for Clinton's campaign, has joined forces on a new crisis consulting firm with former Bush Administration official Karen Hughes. Geoff Garin, Clinton's pollster, and Mandy Grunwald, Clinton's media consultant, have returned to their respective firms.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 21, 2008; 12:47 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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I don't want any Clinton staffers work for a loser. They are qualified activista and can work any place they want to.

Posted by: nancy | July 22, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Hi Chris- slow news day huh? Hillary was interesting. Barack is dull as paint. John is a fellow Annapolis guy so . . . Robby Mook. A name from the past. Good job in Nevada. Not so good perhaps in Indiana. Obama people cheated in Gary, South Bend, Fort Wayne. More ballots than voter in Gary-shades of Cicero. I am a Hillary guy, served as an unpaid vounteer in four states, but if Barack gets coronated in Denver I can't support him. Funny thing is he is the big business shill and the bots have not figured it out. Big Media meanwhile is flying all over the world with him bon vivante and the emperor has no clothes. I go back and forth re, GE. Tonight it feels like McCain by a landslide. I was in the thing for Hillary as much as I was cause I thought she could have done something for the country. But I have not abandoned hope quite yet. Call me delusional if you like. It comes in all flavors. PS Everywhere I campaigned we kicked Obamas ass. Probably it was inspite of me rather than because of me but it was fun.

Posted by: wbboei | July 22, 2008 1:31 AM | Report abuse

Not surprised Mark Penn is teaming up with Republicans. He did a great job of sabotaging Hillary's campaign and decreasing chances of a Democratic White House by helping Obama.

Her more competent operatives deserved to be picked up by networks and non-pres-campaign jobs.

Of course they're not with CNN, since that network is in the tank for Obama, and won't want to "keep him TOO honest."

Posted by: NatT | July 21, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Poor Gavin...he needs to change campaign managers quick! Nick has no experience out side of NH, his mother's skirt, and pure luck.

Posted by: I know Nick!!! | July 21, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Robby Mook is worth it, Clemons is not.

Posted by: NHDem | July 21, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

After reading the headline, I thought this post was going to be about the "State of Denial" or the "Unforgiving Country".

Posted by: mnteng | July 21, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse


It's Insurance Commissioner Steve POIZNER, not Poivra.

Posted by: Spellchecker | July 21, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Will somebody please call the law?

The mental case known as 'scrivener,' loudly posting here as a rebuttal to common sense, is a menace.

He might even be behind the salmonella scare.

Posted by: Ida Tarbell | July 21, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Why didn't those Clinton refugees go to CNN
for work with 'the best political reporting team on television?'

Replacements are desperately needed.

They also might consider becoming editors at the New York Times. There, too, vacacies apparently exist, especially on the middle east desks.

Posted by: Jazzbeaux Beiderbecke | July 21, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

scrivener- did you ask the question about HRC's 'unreleased delegates' in the Paul Kane chat?

Posted by: bsimon | July 21, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

The top Clinton operatives are subject to instant recall, should Obama falter badly. So far, no signs of that, but BOLO.

Question for you all:

Why did the Army run media cover for Obama in Afghanistan over the weekend? Certainly reduced the possibility that the media would pick up any gaffes or incidents, or attempts by someone unfriendly to Obama to get a couple of the troops to signal disapproval.

Could it be that the brass believes Obama has demonstrated sufficient malleability and thus is not considered a threat to the established order... one who is not resistant to reasoned persuasion?

Certainly a single pool camera would not pose a security risk...


Posted by: scrivener | July 21, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse many former Hillary campaign operatives and surrogates have joined FOX NEWS?!

Posted by: Obama-Junkie | July 21, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Whatever.... Clemons is a hack who got lucky....twice.

Posted by: anon | July 21, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Big deal re. Hillary supporters hooking up with Obama. They're looking for jobs to tidy them over until Obama get's his clock cleaned in November.

Posted by: sparksUSN | July 21, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that so many are landing positions, given the miscalculations and problems with the Clinton campaign that helped lead it to a failure on a grand scale. Sort of like hiring Enron execs...

Posted by: dwfortin | July 21, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Jiggs, it's true all right. 'The Iraq/Pakistan border' he said. It's just frightening.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 21, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I rely on the Washington Post for important, campaign-shaking news, so tell me---has McCain made any gaffes lately?
Rumors are that he created new geography in the middle east by creating this morning on television the 'Iraq/Pakistan' border.

Posted by: Jiggs Kincaid | July 21, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

One would have thought Obama's campaign would hire more Clinton staffers. At the very least to appease the donors.

Posted by: matt | July 21, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

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