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 Politickerca.com, 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.
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