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FixCam: The Clinton Staff Shuffle

The decision by Mark Penn to step down from his post as chief strategist for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (N.Y.) campaign is a big news story sure to dominate the political coverage for at least the early part of the week.

While the Clinton campaign will downplay the importance of Penn's demotion and insist that average voters simply don't care, there is reason to believe this story could linger.

Why?

The media loves staff shuffle stories. Penn was always the most controversial figure within Clinton's orbit and there seems to be a recipe for a series of follow up stories about his departure.

Get ready for much speculation on how Penn came to the decision, who his friends and enemies are inside the campaign, and a rehash of the major decisions -- good and bad -- that were made during his tenure.

The danger for Clinton is that these stories could paint her campaign as woefully dysfunctional. And that idea could seep down into the consciousness of donors, superdelegates and voters -- the three groups that Clinton needs badly in the coming weeks.

Clinton's campaign will have to deal with the Penn decision as cleanly and quickly as possible in order to keep it from overshadowing her message this week.

Can they do it?

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 7, 2008; 10:50 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: Elizabeth Edwards Joins Center for American Progress

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