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Marius Penczner Is Back With Edwards

Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards has tapped Marius Penczner to play a key role on the media consulting team charged with helping him win the White House in 2008.

Penczner first started working with Edwards in late 2003, when he was brought in to handle the candidate's ads in the final push for the 2004 Democratic nomination. Edwards had previously used David Axelrod as his preferred media consultant. (Axelrod remained in Edwards's political circle through 2004 but is now a part of Sen. Barack Obama's campaign team; read Ben Wallace-Wells's recent profile of the ad guru in the New York Times Magazine.)

"Marius has been a tremendous asset since the 2004 campaign, and we are proud to have him as part of our team," said senior Edwards adviser David Ginsberg.

After the 2004 election, Penczner joined the consulting group of Penn Schoen & Berland -- a firm co-founded by Mark Penn, pollster for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-N.Y.) presidential bid. Penczner left Penn's firm in December and has since been out on his own.

Before working with Edwards, Penczner served as ad director for Al Gore's 2000 presidential bid and was also involved in the media consulting team for President Bill Clinton's 1996 reelection race.

While Penczner will play a prominent role in crafting Edwards's television ads, the campaign will bring on other media advisers to consult with Penczner, according to informed sources close to the effort. Interviews for those positions are ongoing.

The team approach to ad-making is also being adopted by the other top-tier Democrats.

In addition to Axelrod, Obama is expected to bring on Jim Margolis, who served as Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) principal media consultant for much of the 2004 presidential primary campaign.

Mandy Grunwald is the lead media consultant for Clinton, but the campaign also consults with Jimmy Siegal -- a former senior executive at BBDO. Siegel jumped into political campaigns in 2006, producing the ads for Gov. Elliot Spitzer (D-N.Y.); he was also involved in crafting Sen. Clinton's announcement video, which Grunwald produced.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 9, 2007; 1:25 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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