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Hillary Unbound: The Memos

For political junkies, the only thing better than following a political campaign is sifting through the wreckage of a failed one -- trying to understand why a candidate pursued a certain course, and what worked and didn't work.

Enter The Atlantic's Josh Green, who has penned a piece in the most recent issue of the magazine that details the massive internal struggle for control of Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign using, deliciously, a number of internal memos and e-mails to show the strife that permeated the campaign.

The memos contains a multitude of information and insights, but, here at The Fix, we always aim to give our loyal readers the best of the best -- the news you need to know to impress your friends and vanquish your enemies.

So, we spent the morning reading the internal communiques of the Clinton campaign so you don't have to. What follows is our CliffsNotes version of the thousands of words -- most of them written by chief strategist Mark Penn.

* From the very start, Penn believed that Clinton should be positioned as the "tough single parent" in the race. She should be seen as "someone who can combine the toughness they are used to with the negotiating adeptness they believe a woman would bring to the office," wrote Penn in a memo way back in December 2006. He saw Clinton as a modern day Margaret Thatcher -- an image that he pushed throughout the campaign.

* Dating back to the fall of 2006, Penn recognized the potential threat that Barack Obama posed as a movement candidate. "Obama represents a serious challenge because at least for the moment he represents something big -- an inspiration movement," wrote Penn in late 2006. Even then, however, the Clinton top strategists weren't sure how to deal with Obama; Penn urged that the campaign avoid attacking the Illinois senator and instead hope he flamed out or decided not to run when the calendar turned to 2007. (Interesting sidenote: Despite the obvious concern Penn had regarding Obama, he spelled the candidate's name wrong -- "Barak" -- in each of the first two memos obtained by Green.)

* Penn urged a subtle campaign designed to highlight Obama's lack of "American" roots, a strategy that was not ultimately adopted by the candidate. "All of these articles about his boyhood in Indonesia and his life in Hawaii are geared toward showing his background is diverse, multicultural and putting that in a new light," wrote Penn. "Save it for 2050. It also exposes a very strong weakness for him -- his roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited." On that score, Penn was dead wrong; Obama's message of the "fierce urgency of now" hit a chord with voters -- suggesting that the Illinois senator's timing was just right.

* The Clinton campaign seemed to fall into the trap of re-running past campaigns rather than designing a strategy unique to the new political realities. Penn repeatedly urged Clinton to avoid being likeable as a political strategy largely out of a belief that such a move had doomed the candidacies of Al Gore and John Kerry. "I believe we should reach out to be as likeable as possible," Penn wrote to Clinton in March 2007. "But reach too far in this dimension and you risk really getting into Gore and Kerry territory."

* Obama's massive fundraising capacity -- and the limits of Clinton's own cash-collection operation -- were recognized relatively early on by adviser Harold Ickes. In a March e-mail to senior staff, Ickes wrote: "BO may well outpace HRC, or at least keep even, in fundraising." He also noted that Clinton would likely not be able to raise more than $75 million in primary funds during 2007.

* The confusion/lack of preparedness inside the Clinton campaign about a potential protracted delegate fight with Obama is stunning. Ickes addressed the delegate math in a Dec. 22, 2007 memo -- long after Obama had begun putting in place the organizations in post-Feb. 5 states that would eventually help him build an insurmountable delegate lead. Why was the Clinton campaign so slow to realize the possibility of a trench warfare campaign for delegates? The answer is found in an Ickes e-mail from March 2007; "5 February is likely to decide the putative nominee," he wrote.

* Over and over again in 2007 Penn writes that the key for Clinton to win is to claim the mantle as the change candidate. "Buzz, excitement, movement," he writes in an April memo. "We have a great deal of support in the party and across the nation -- but we need to energize it more....let's talk more about a movement for change coming from the people." And yet, roughly a year later, Penn has abandoned the "change" motif. "When you strip away those voters who are voting on race or gender, this election is not about change, not about experience but about leadership," said Penn in a March 5, 2008 memo. In retrospect, Penn's initial instinct seems the right one. The overarching dynamic of the race became stale, status quo Clinton versus exciting, fresh face Obama. The Clinton campaign would have done well to accentuate the fact that millions of people -- largely women -- were extremely passionate about the New York senator's candidacy and, in not doing so, allowed a passion gap to open.

* As the race looked less and less winnable for Clinton, Penn upped the volume on his call to attack Obama -- arguing that even if Clinton scored several wins toward the end of the race, it would not alter the fundamental dynamic. "The idea that this can be won all on smiles, emotions and empathy is simply wrong....this can be won on the basis of presidential leadership tempered by showing the other human side through counter-tv appearances, some home visits and events that keep this tethered to helping people, not ambition," Penn wrote.

* Penn advised that Clinton attack Obama as "just words" -- a very similar tact to the one successfully adopted by John McCain's campaign in recent weeks. "Show that their image of Obama Camelot is simply nothing but campaign pitter patter," Penn wrote in March 2008. "He is just words and she is a lifetime of action," he added. " She is the one who is ready to fill the big shoes of this job and he is an inspiring speaker who isn't."

There's TONS more in the memos -- including a plea by pollster Geoff Garin to run all messaging through senior strategist Howard Wolfson and a request for interns to move their cars to make room for campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle and her staff.

Take a gander yourself. And use the comments section below to let us know your favorite tidbits or what we missed.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 12, 2008; 1:35 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Comments

Remember when the Rush Limbaugh freaks were going to the polls for Hillary? Now they are flooding these forums with all this devisive nonsense in a desperate attempt to save their flailing party. Don't fall for it unless you want more of the same for America. Is Obama electable? Obviously more so than Hillary, considering he won the primary election. Obama got more votes than all the republiscams combined in the primary. Don't lose your heads people.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2008 5:37 AM | Report abuse

Hillary can dodge sniper bullets, ask Chelsea!

Posted by: Jimbob Furley | August 17, 2008 5:31 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for reading all this for us. I learned that her campaign DID see Obama coming which apparently she denied and then got shocked and defaulted into reactivity and blame game and below belt pseudo-sophisticated power broker campaigning. Just my take on it. Now her capacity for denial and self-importance is so colossal that I am girding myself for the prospect that with Michigan and Florida all seated, she might wind up the nominee ... somebody tell me if that can happen for I feel it is happening in Clintonland.

Posted by: Gaias Child | August 17, 2008 12:56 AM | Report abuse

"I believe we should reach out to be as likeable as possible," Penn wrote to Clinton in March 2007. "But reach too far in this dimension and you risk really getting into Gore and Kerry territory."

So in other words, Penn thought Clinton WAS LIKEABLE ENOUGH?

Makes you wonder if the Obama campaign had that memo back before that debate, doesn't it?

Posted by: Tom J | August 14, 2008 1:00 AM | Report abuse

Saw the Clintons out recently campaigning for Obama and . . .Whoops, no that was a bad dream. TERM LIMITS solve all problems!

Posted by: Frank in FlowReeda | August 13, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama’s one-time pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, has a new book coming out in October, along with a national tour to promote it. The Spectator’s James Forsyth thinks this is “a huge problem for Obama.”
It means that the whole controversy over Wright’s racialist sermons and his friendship with Obama is going to be returning to the news agenda just as undecided voters begin to make up their minds.
Wright’s performance at the National Press Club back in April showed that Wright revels in the national spotlight and doesn’t care if his performances hurt Obama. If the Obama campaign and mutual friends of the two men couldn’t rein Wright in then, they have little hope of doing so in October considering that following Wright’s National Press Club performance Obama said that Wright’s views ‘rightly offend all Americans, and should be denounced’.
John Heileman, author of a long feature on “The Color-Coded Campaign” for New York magazine, goes further:
How Obama handles that moment may determine whether he becomes the next occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
For many Democrats, Obama’s eventual residence there has long seemed a foregone conclusion. But cast your mind forward twenty years and imagine looking back on this election. Would it really seem strange from that vantage point if the first black major-party nominee—a guy with a thin résumé, no foreign-policy credentials in an era scarred by terrorism, a background alien to much of Wonder Bread America, and the full name Barack Hussein Obama—lost? No, it would seem inevitable. That Obama has convinced us that the opposite outcome is even possible is testament to his many gifts. The next three months will show whether they include a talent that would serve him very well in the Oval Office: the ability to conduct a necessary, indeed vital, conversation that no one really wants to have.
The trouble with all this is that it’s not as if the Wright controversy or the broader question of race are just emerging. Obama has already weathered those storms once in defeating Hillary Clinton, the odds-on favorite with every conceivable advantage, for the Democratic nomination. He’s really deft at handling the issue. Further, race is a dual-edged sword. The Republicans have to go out of their way to avoid even the hint of using Obama’s against him.
To be sure, Obama would very much prefer not to have Wright, a loose cannon, getting attention in the month leading up to the election. But it remains his election to lose.

http://www.dontvoteobama.net

Posted by: dems will loose if no Clinton | August 13, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm still amazed at the xenophobic and anti-Islamic sentiment in mentioning that his middle name is Hussien, repeatedly in a negative sense. So what? what is your point?
Barack Hussien Obama. that IS his name

Posted by: Voter in PA | August 13, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if these "memos" were obtained legally? And by the way....ALL CAMPAIGNS HAVE CRAP LIKE THIS GOING ON INSIDE THE CAMP. Don't make it seem like this stuff just goes on with Clinton campaigns. That is Ridiculous!

She's the only person qualified out of the morons who ran for President this year (both GOP & Dem). Go figure...America chooses the "cool" guy instead of the intellegent, qualified one. It goes to show where American priorities are! And we wonder why our country is falling to pieces. Hmm!

Posted by: Attorney in FL | August 13, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

McCain's "celebrity" attacks against Obama have failed rather miserably. They have not diminished Obama's optimistic vision, his correct interpretation of world events, his intelligence, his good will, or his even-keeled disposition. Obama continues to lead in all the national polls by the same margin (3 - 6 percent) that he has enjoyed all summer.

Let McCain continue to make the mistakes that Hillary Clinton made in the primary: underestimate Obama and the intelligence of the American people and you will fail in spectacular fashion.

Posted by: dee | August 13, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Democrats must have a back up plan in case Obama and Hillary duel it out at the Democrat Convention in front of millions of Americans. Remember the Burr–Hamilton duel 1804?


Burr–Hamilton duel
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Burr–Hamilton duel was a duel between two prominent American politicians, the former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and sitting Vice President Aaron Burr, on July 11, 1804.[1] Burr shot and mortally wounded Hamilton. Hamilton was carried to the home of one William Bayard, who lived on the Manhattan shore. There Alexander Hamilton died at 2:00 p.m. the next day, July 12, 1804.

Now we have been doing some research for the perfect Democrat Ticket. Now hear me out! No!Seriously! Virtual Videos are worth more then a billion words!

Jon Stewart Stephen Colbert '08
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KG3oTalfcb4

Of course if Obama and Hillary do not duel it out at the Democrat Convention but become friends please discard this message.

This message was not approved by Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton or the Democratic Party.

Posted by: Cooday | August 13, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Shame on you, my former campaign team!

Sincerely,

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Posted by: The Franchise | August 13, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

The democrats appear to have significant problems with mathematics.

Which is scary.

FIRST THIS IS THE THIRD BUSH TERM COUNT !

Next, the democrats keep on proposing MASSIVE GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS which they have no way of paying for except to RAISE TAXES WHICH WILL PLUNGE THIS COUNTRY INTO STAGFLATION.

The democrats are irresponsible people who have horrible math skills. They constantly run budget deficits and their personal corruption runs to new heights every year. Everytime the democrats run anything this nation is worse off.


.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

To Anonymous: Who cares what State DNC Chair from South Carolina Carol Fowler says. What in the world does she have to do with Florida. Burton will say and do anything. Consider the source.

You didn't have to post that link because I read it months ago.

As it said in the article Governor Vilsack stated "These are sophisticated buyers they have. They know full well that they were going to saturate the Florida market."

If Hillary had done it to Obama, he and the MSM would have whined all over the place.

Wait till November, McCain's going to win because as Hillary said, Obama is unelectable. (Also not qualified)

Further, if the MSM ever gets around to doing their job and investigate Obama/Rezko connection, McCain will win by a landslide.

Posted by: JD | August 13, 2008 2:25 AM | Report abuse

O ba ba man, don't know the territory and he needs someone else to interpret the map for him...

Mc Slime is a liar....


does it matter??? not if you control congress.


you need to get rid of some deadwood, and burn the brush....down

get rid of cronyism in washington.


get rid of Mike McConnel, John Negroponte, anyone that had anything to do with Halliburton, Carlyle Group, Bechtel, KBR, Blackwater and their subsidiaries....end NON COMPETE CONTRACTS and take down the names of those who were awarded them...not just the names of the companies....get to know the officers and deal makers...same goes for in_country non_compete contractors...


and audit the bush family back to the early 1900's and sue them for intefering with the United States of America...


also investigate Robert M. Gates, James Baker the III, anyone associated with the Heritage Foundation, AEI, PNAC, JINSA, AIPAC, the Kagans, and those involved with Cheney, Richard Perle and Douglas Feith at the Pentagon....alternative intelligence...


hey Robert M. Gates, hope you swing boy, treason is not a nice thing....specially for the republican party....and for the gay neotards that you call frens


you are one filthy little Benedict Arnold boyah....and need to be given a public lesson in being taken to task....thank you for listening.


freak.


.

Posted by: what's the truth???? | August 13, 2008 12:29 AM | Report abuse

This just came out on the Washington Post -
“Can McCain Use Advice Clinton Got on Obama?” by Dan Balz.

In order to defend all Democrats and take on the Republican Attack Machine ads on the blogs with our thoughts and words some of us Art Warriors are in Martial Arts Training to sharpen our quick response time. Please do not attempt to do this at home.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLOE_PLoB7A

This message was not approve by the Democratic Party who have professionals who know the proper way to deal with Republican Attack Machine ads with their own ads. Also we have some petty cool supporters already posting for the Democrats who don't need such training. Our Art warriors will be ready to join everyone on the blogs after the convention. So please hang in there help is on the way!!!

Posted by: Tongassberry | August 13, 2008 12:12 AM | Report abuse

EXTREMELY WELL STATED VICTOR FLORES PLEASE KEEP POSTING AND NEVER NEVER BACK DOWN WHEN THESE CRAZY OBAMA PEOPLE SEEK TO INTIMIDATE AND HARASS YOU INTO NOT POSTING ANYMORE


**************************************

to " sequoia"

Please don't patronize me, this election should have been referendum on Bush, instead it is about Obama. Obama got the nomination by discounting white votes in Michigan/Florida, by the back room deals (Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.), blackmailing (Edwards and his marital malfunction) and arm twisting (Governor Richardson) by Howard Dean, race baiting (President Bill Clinton) branding the Honorable Bill Clinton into a racist. We, the electorate can spot a fake and a dishonorable man (Obama) when we see one. You (sequoia) have drank the "Obama Koolaid" and you would know the truth if it hit ya! Oh, by the way, I am Hispanic, I vote, and have been a life long Democrat, but I am voting for John McCain and if by chance McCain does lose at least I know in my heart I voted for the right man.
BLUE VOTER, VOTING RED.

Posted by: Victor Flores | August 12, 2008 9:48 PM

.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

The poster at 8:44 is not offended - it is simply the paid staffers at the Obama campaign calling someone "racist" everytime the Obama campaign does not like the TRUTH.

Obama paid staffers your shift is over!


Obama contributors: Be aware your money is going to pay staffers who harrass and intimidate posters who are exercising their First Amendment rights on the internet.

.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

"Both Hillary and Gore are suberb, smart, caring politicians. Both let their essential soul to be sucked dry by consulting morons."

As well as people like us who demand this nonsense.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 12, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Srivener gave us a fantaisist scenario for the Denver convention: Obama will be eliminated. Al Gore will lead the fight for White House. Larouche PAC did the exact forecast. According to Wikidepia, Larouche was in the same jail cell with Jim Baker, the North Calorina corrupted preacher. The later said the Larouche know good the Bible but also having paranoie.

Posted by: nguyendynasty | August 12, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Women of the states, BHO and HRC are the same! They have parallel views. Do not vote for John McCain, you're right to choose is up. Not to mention you're right to vote. The country and the constitution will be for sale if the rep. win! Vote with you're head, not with you're gut.

Posted by: bratcher | August 12, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Old Dojo saying for the Republican Attack Machine/Rove/Schmidt - And on the seventh day, Bruce Lee rested in order to be at full strength for the Bullets next attack ad.

Bruce Lee Clone in support of all Democrats and Obama-cans

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbvSms-1yj4

Obama '08

Posted by: Yeil Raven | August 12, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

"If HRC's handlers allowed to be Hillary Clinton and not some concoction of a phony Thatcher, or whomever, she might have had a chance.

That she allowed those highly paid fakes to make her into a fake is what disqualified her."

I absolutely agree that this was part of the problem. The same thing happened to Gore in 2000.

Both Hillary and Gore are suberb, smart, caring politicians. Both let their essential soul to be sucked dry by consulting morons. ANYONE involved in creating the phony Clinton image in 2008 shuold never work in politics again. Their stupidity has cost us a real chance to make progress.

Obama and McCain simply don't have it.

Posted by: Phil | August 12, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Bruce Becker: "I have had the feeling for a while now, since the bereaved are taking the loss so hard, that they fell in love with her, as First Lady, like women do, with a Movie Star."

That's rich. If there was movie-star-like insanity in the recent primary, it all belonged to Obama.

Funny thing; he's reversed himself on almost every essential position taken in the primary - taking positions that he and his cult vilified Clinton for holding.

I'm a moderate Democrat, and have voted straight ticket for 35 years. Not this time.

I took an anonymous poll of Dems 38 of them (all urban professionals) in my office - 29 of them will NOT vote for Obama. That number has increased from 18, since Obama has started his flip-flopping, and before the GOP attack machine goes to work.

HIllary Clinton is probably the best Presidential candidate we've seen in a generation. She made campaign mistakes, and was burned by the white-guilt-upper-middle-class-Ivy-League-journalism crowd.

There is simply no substance behind Obama; he has no policy center. It's always been about pure manipulation for position with him.

Without the MSM to protect him in the general election, and without lightweight attacks from Hillary (just wait until the GOP gets started), Obama's shooting star, and his starry-eyed cult, is going to get creamed.

We need someone of _substance_ in Washington. Hillary isn't perfect; she made mistakes, but she has proven a liberal record over the years, and real courage.

Obama? There's no there, there.

Posted by: Phil | August 12, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Bruce Becker: "I have had the feeling for a while now, since the bereaved are taking the loss so hard, that they fell in love with her, as First Lady, like women do, with a Movie Star."

That's rich. If there was movie-star-like insanity in the recent primary, it all belonged to Obama.

Funny thing; he's reversed himself on almost every essential position taken in the primary - taking positions that he and his cult vilified Clinton for holding.

I'm a moderate Democrat, and have voted straight ticket for 35 years. Not this time.

I took an anonymous poll of Dems 38 of them (all urban professionals) in my office - 29 of them will NOT vote for Obama. That number has increased from 18, since Obama has started his flip-flopping, and before the GOP attack machine goes to work.

HIllary Clinton is probably the best Presidential candidate we've seen in a generation. She made campaign mistakes, and was burned by the white-guilt-upper-middle-class-Ivy-League-journalism crowd.

There is simply no substance behind Obama; he has no policy center. It's always been about pure manipulation for position with him.

Without the MSM to protect him in the general election, and without lightweight attacks from Hillary (just wait until the GOP gets started), Obama's shooting star, and his starry-eyed cult, is going to get creamed.

We need someone of _substance_ in Washington. Hillary isn't perfect; she made mistakes, but she has proven a liberal record over the years, and real courage.

Obama? There's no there, there.

Posted by: Phil | August 12, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Bruce Becker: "I have had the feeling for a while now, since the bereaved are taking the loss so hard, that they fell in love with her, as First Lady, like women do, with a Movie Star."

That's rich. If there was movie-star-like insanity in the recent primary, it all belonged to Obama.

Funny thing; he's reversed himself on almost every essential position taken in the primary - taking positions that he and his cult vilified Clinton for holding.

I'm a moderate Democrat, and have voted straight ticket for 35 years. Not this time.

I took an anonymous poll of Dems 38 of them (all urban professionals) in my office - 29 of them will NOT vote for Obama. That number has increased from 18, since Obama has started his flip-flopping, and before the GOP attack machine goes to work.

HIllary Clinton is probably the best Presidential candidate we've seen in a generation. She made campaign mistakes, and was burned by the white-guilt-upper-middle-class-Ivy-League-journalism crowd.

There is simply no substance behind Obama; he has no policy center. It's always been about pure manipulation for position with him.

Without the MSM to protect him in the general election, and without lightweight attacks from Hillary (just wait until the GOP gets started), Obama's shooting star, and his starry-eyed cult, is going to get creamed.

We need someone of _substance_ in Washington. Hillary isn't perfect; she made mistakes, but she has proven a liberal record over the years, and real courage.

Obama? There's no there, there.

Posted by: Phil | August 12, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Very simple.
For Cain to win , he needs to put the whole country on prozak, zoloft or paxil.
Most people are in infatuation state - which simply means chemical reaction that is blocking some receptors .
Its not for nothing that people notice when someone is in love they are blind. Despite our conservative religious wing that will cry that love is something bigger than bread, but in reality it's a chemical reaction. And we have to give all the credits not to Obama but to his campghne that is managing to substitude intelegence by disbalacing the chemical state of mind.
About time Cane realise that issues don't matter in this election. WHile everyone is crying about them, i don't see that many people even know what those candidates are proposing to fix them. It's just a theme.
So Cane took aproach to breake the infatuation state for many Obama supporters. The opposive to love is a hate. Which is another strong chemical reaction and can be driven very well if organised properly.
At the end our candidates spent almost a billion dollars to get a job that pays 450 per year ( even for the next 8 years).
And on the positive note... It's all a game .

Posted by: PicassoInActions | August 12, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

If HRC's handlers allowed to be Hillary Clinton and not some concoction of a phony Thatcher, or whomever, she might have had a chance.

That she allowed those highly paid fakes to make her into a fake is what disqualified her.

Posted by: Ellen Knight | August 12, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Reverend Wright and his step-and-fetch-it mentoree, Obama, love all of you white liberals, and Michelle is full of pride for one and all.
How could that mean-spirited
Mark Penn insinuate that Barack Hussein Obama has ties to anti-American activists. That's a lie... just ask Reverend Wright!
You white liberals just vote the man into office and no one will call you racist and you won't need to feel guilty anymore...until the election is over. Then it all comes back x 100.

Posted by: Larry | August 12, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

McCain's line of attack - attacking Obama as another bimbo-eruption celebrity - is absolute GENIUS.

Obama is obsessed with his own ego which is hard to do.

McCain has found a way to define Obama and when a candidate is defined in a campaign it helps if it is true - and defining Obama as a bimbo-eruption is extremely accurate.

The people who support Obama have not evaluated his actual qualifications or skills which he will need to perform the actual position - their support has become a quasi-revival meeting joke.

The contrast between the two men can not be starker - when McCain was offered the opportunity to be released by the Vietnamese McCain stated "See that guy over there in that cell, it's his turn to go home first, BRING IT ON BABY I'M STAYING AT THE HANOI HILTION."

OK

Compared to a guy who has maxed out every affirmative action program he can find including democratic delegate selections, McCain is SOLID, McCain is tougher and McCain can lead this nation's economy to strength.

.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Obama will easily win. I can see how his values align with mine, where Clinton and McCain were wishy washy and said only what people wanted to hear. What they didn't realize was that people don't change quickly, the noise they heard was just who was being noisiest at the time. The people who vote still have the same values they did before. I believe we voted congress in to impeach the president. They failed. They'll be voted out for that. We certainly aren't going to vote in another Bush.

Posted by: Jake | August 12, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Stupid ,stupid ,stupid Mark Penn..:Margaret Thacher was conservative..!!!!!....thats a big diference..Hilary is progresive democrat...Hallooo!!

Posted by: tim | August 12, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

MILLIONS (currently about 7-8 million, according to polls) of Democrats will NOT vote for Obama, mostly because Hillary has been consistently bashed by Obamatans, and the Obama-sucking press, like WpPo and the NYT. Just desserts are on the way. Let's see Obama win OH, FL, CO, NM, IN, VA, WV and a few other swing states without us. Bye, bye, Barry! Can't WAIT until Denver.

Posted by: Phil | August 12, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Stupid ,stupid ,stupid Mark Penn..:Margaret Thacher was conservative..!!!!!....thats a big diference..Hilary is progresive democrat...Hallooo!!

Posted by: tim | August 12, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Some of you stated that this country is in trouble. We've gone thru these rough economical times quite a lot and always pull thru. If Obama is elected, you will really see trouble; he'll have us become a sociality nation in no time, probably befriending Castro, Putin, Hamas, etc. He's close to being communist as they come.

Posted by: Nathan O'Brien | August 12, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Back to the treason.

McCain went on Letterman OCT 2001 and claimed he has a SOURCE who knows that the Iraqi's did the ANTHRAX attack.

NOT!!! FBI says the ANTHRAX was made in Maryland and sent by a US govt worker.

McCain carried the water for the BUSH WMD lies. MCCain conducted illegal propaganda, lies about the IRAQI's which helped to convince Americans to support the war.
That's a crime, actually.

Posted by: Bruce Becker | August 12, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

A message to the Republican Attack Machine/Rove/Schmidt – Ninja Saying “A bullet without a positive message is like an athlete without a supporter.”

Ninja Art Warriors to the defense of all Democrats and Obama-cans.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2kJZOfq7zk

Barack Obama '08

Posted by: Eagle nas’gadooshú | August 12, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Edwards didnt beat Clinton.

Clinton beat Clinton.

When you start with mega name recognition and $120 million, and a huge percentage of women considering you as the icon of the movement of feminism, you should win.

Choosing not to really try in caucuses is weird.
Spending $6 million on a consultant whose advice you choose to ignore is interesting but courageous, when we know what tripe he recommended. Maybe she should have been able to run a campaign without a $6 million dollar attack ad consultant.

By the way, isnt "First Lady" the wife, of someone else who is actually "accomplished"?
I have had the feeling for a while now, since the bereaved are taking the loss so hard, that they fell in love with her, as First Lady, like women do, with a Movie Star.

Posted by: bruce Becker | August 12, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

How the heck does one make Hillary likable? They could spend all the campaing money on just that and she would still be a person who no one can trust.

This coming convention will be a doozy because her supporters are there to wreck everything if they can. From none working loudspeakers to false alrms to riots to just plain civil disruption.

So there is nothing that would surprise me of what the Clintons are capable of.

Posted by: jethro mayham | August 12, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Mark Penn makes me feel all icky poo inside and outside. I hope he and Karl Rove get out of politics forever.

Posted by: Justin | August 12, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Thank God for Senator Obama, He was the catalyst that forced the exposure of Senator Clinton as inept and unsuited to be our leader. Without polls or concensus, she couldn't find the door. She did one smart thing in her life and that was to tie up with the cleverest politician in modern times. Hillary Rodham would never been able to carpetbag a Senate seat from New York..we will have a female President some day, but she will have to be of deeper character and conviction that Mrs. Clinton

Posted by: roneida | August 12, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

You mindless liberals will be kicking BHO to the curb when he fails miserably. Just think, you have transfered all of your eggs from the Clinton basket (but weren't they your saviours?) to the BHO basket ... for no good reason other than you think he can get elected because (a) he is too young and inexperienced to have any baggage; and (b) he is black.

Shallow reasons. Your chickens are coming home to roost ... again.

Posted by: Sven | August 12, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

I am becoming attached to the "old crone" image. I used to find it offensive. Now I think it means one has seen a lot, is not eager to embrace the next new person, or idea. I prefer to know a bit more. Obama continues to have good ideas, has run a great campaign, speaks well, but I continue to have difficulty knowing who he really is and how he will be as president. Lucky for him we know all too much about McCain. John Edwards is an example of someone who we really did not know, an that did not turn out well. Hillary did run a poor campaign an what a bunch of back stabbers her staff were. However, I did know who she was.

Posted by: zona | August 12, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Regarding "the trap of re-running past campaigns", I could not help but notice how many times Penn kept on referring to "Upstate New York" in his strategy memos. He spoke as if Clinton could only understand national strategy from the framework of her two Senate races.

Posted by: Chris in Seattle | August 12, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Hillary lost the primary because lots of people don't like her, and she would have lost the general for the same reason. Most people don't want the circus coming back to town. Bill was impeached for lying about his affairs and he pardoned criminals. Tough uphill battle to get elected with that baggage.

Posted by: Obomination | August 12, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

A motley of FOOLS should have been a BETTER caption for Hillary Clinton's camp! OsiSpeaks.com

Posted by: KYJurisDoctor | August 12, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Democrats suck!!!!

Posted by: Ted Rybak | August 12, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Maybe not quite a Pulitzer (he needed more insider stuff), but Josh Green's Atlantic piece (unlike the cable bloviators) at least dealt with the behind-the-scene "facts," backed with documentation, explaining why HRC's campaign really went down. It wasn't BO gaming the system or sexism, but HRC Inc.'s failure to put in the hard work to campaign in 50 states as BO did (they didn't even bother to figure out the primary and caucus rules). They did not think BO would compete so they developed a "coronation" mentality that lost them scores of early primaries and caucuses, giving BO an early insurmountable lead. The revelation the Hillarians planned to paint BO as "multicultural" (a hate group code word) confirms their intention all along was to play the unfair r-card. Anyway that junk is behind us, sort of. Once we're past the expected upcoming acidic hate blasts from the G. Ferraro/Harriet Christian/Carmella Lewis (count on Fox giving them 24/7 coverage during the convention), things should be okay. And scrivener, even "Bitter Bill" Clinton (a BO fan, not) has finally come around and predicted a BO win so isn't it time to cut it out. And, no, we are not clicking on your bogus link and have our computers fry. Stay thirsty, my friends.

Posted by: Broadway Joe | August 12, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Hillary and her team found their "voice" late in the primaries and she ran out the remaining primaries whooping Obama.

I think if the trend toward Hillary started earlier, she would have easily overtaken Obama.

Look at all his miss-steps, controversial Senate votes and flip-flopping.
=========================

Coulda, shoulda, woulda. That's not what happened though. She blew it in the first two months of the primaries.

Another tidbit which is overlooked "big-time" by the MSM, is Obama's TV ads running on TV through-out Florida from January 9,2008, up to and including Primary Election Day in Florida. Obama's campaign used the lame excuse that it was in a cable bundle with other states. If that were the case, how come the other candidates' TV ad bundles were able to omit Florida. With Obama's campaign being TV saavy, I doubt it was an oversight. Yet even at the DNC meeting on May 31, they said no Candidate campaigned in Florida. WHAT!!! CHRIS CILLIZZA, I implore you, er, request you, address this MSM and DNC blunder, er, oversight.

Posted by: JD | August 12, 2008 3:58 PM
====================

Nice try, it was already addressed months ago:

"Clinton’s campaign acknowledged that it’s not possible to buy 49-state coverage — that the only alternative would be the much more complex process of buying state by state and market by market. "

“Both national cable networks told us it would be impossible for us to run advertising nationally that excluded only Florida,” Burton said.

“For that reason we consulted with the South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Carol Fowler who told us unequivocally she did not consider this to be in violation of [the] pledge made to the early states.”

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0108/8019.html

Keep up the silly talking points!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

I saw Penn once early one in an interview and I had an immediate dislike for his snobbish attitude. I felt anyone with that kind of personality couldn't possibly see beyond their own facade of superiority to understand how to relate correctly to the voters. And these memos pretty much confirm that I was right. Too bad Mrs. Clinton couldn't have realized this earlier.

Posted by: Tim | August 12, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | August 12, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Susan,

Just because Barak outpolitiked her in the "game" does not mean that he will be a good president. He has shown no evidence of leadership in his career- except maybe the Harvard Law Review- certainly not in the Senate or the Illonois state senate. She, on the other hand has a long record of DOING THINGS and would have made a great president. Sometimes the best politician is not the best president. On that, Obama has more in common with Bush than HRC does (limited record but good campaign).

Leon

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

I, for one, am SO glad she lost in the primary.

I am unable to imagine a worse leader than GWB, but I do believe she may have shown us a whole new level of poor management, misguided policy, and people in power who simply cannot handle it.

Posted by: Susan | August 12, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

What I don't understand is where Mark Penn gets off holding up the 1996 Clinton re-elect as a model for Dem presidential campaigns. This is evident not only in these memos but also if you read about the advice Penn was giving Gore in the early stages of the 00 cycle-basically to run on Clinton's 96 themes as per Bob Shrum's book, among other sources

Correct me if I'm wrong, but...

Wasn't Bill Clinton's 96 campaign one of the singularly most uninspiring and even depressing in modern memory?Did Clinton not, despite being a popular incumbent running on a thriving economy against a tired has been, manage only to garner 49% of the vote, just about the same as Gore, the supposedly lifeless and ineffective politician as compared with Clinton, the supposed political prodigy, would earn four years later?Yes, I know Perot was in the race...but still

Seems to me Hillary's fatal mistake was buying the bunk Penn was selling, which it seems she did largely because Penn had figured out how to nurture the paranoia, resentment, and victim complex of both Clintons to his advantage.

This was supposed to be the smartest couple in Dem politics?Maybe once upon a time...

Posted by: Eamon | August 12, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Jason Lezak, swimming the anchor leg of the U.S. 4x100-meter freestyle relay, out-touched Alain Bernard of France at the finish by 0.08 seconds, giving the American team the gold medal.

I wonder how long the French team will protest?
-----------

LOL

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

My favorite line so far: on 3/19/07, Mark Penn suggests, "start an audience responsive riff - what is it going to take to get it done? Experience!" This line exemplifies the degree to which Penn misjudged the mood of the electorate.

Posted by: Ben | August 12, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

"It will be very interesting to see what the McCain campaign can do with the contents of these memos."

Especially since the Clinton campaign had no idea what the hell to do with the info.

"Having contributed time and money to the Clinton campaign I now vehemently support John McCain."

Yeah, yeah, yeah all of you threw your money at her. That's why she was millions of bucks in the hole.

"It was disgusting how the Obama campaign played the race card and tried to destroy anyone who dared question his presidential credentials (i.e. Geraldine Ferraro)."

There was very little left to destroy, after the one-two punch of the 1984 VP drubbing and her husband's shadowy finances did her in. Ferraro should enjoy the notoriety that Obama gave her, now that she has returned to political Siberia.

"In military strategy there is a powerful dictum: Nothing fails like success.It applies to war as much as political campaigns. "

Source the above. That sounds more like an aphorism from a 1950s melodrama than it does martial.

"Obama may have succeeded in stealing the nomination from HRC. But, there is no way in hell he can defeat John McCain and the legions of loyal HRC supporters."

He won it fair and square, you pig. Stop wasting our time with this drivel and pass the hat for your candidate, so that she can stop this shakedown.

"PUMA baby!!"

Shut up and get on board.

Posted by: bondjedi | August 12, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Jason Lezak, swimming the anchor leg of the U.S. 4x100-meter freestyle relay, out-touched Alain Bernard of France at the finish by 0.08 seconds, giving the American team the gold medal.

I wonder how long the French team will protest?

Posted by: Michele | August 12, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

It appears that Hillary's Hags have all received their marching orders. They are all over thw web, today, blathering on and on about how they are going to stay home or desert the Democratic Party. These old crones apparently forget that it was odinary Democrats that passed laws that provide them with the benefits they seem to take for granted. Most could give a rip today about "choice", but how about we remove "female" as a protected class? Most of them have landed on their over fed b*tts in government jobs and the mcCain-Bush economy is about to stove a bunch of them onto the unemployment line. It would be great fun to see men and women of color, people who actually need it, given a place in line in front of these parasites.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | August 12, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: "IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE" - Can it? | August 12, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

It's unfortunate that Senator Clinton's presidential bid was undermined by those who seemed to be in it for themselves more than her. It also seems to me that those responsible now can't wait to try and exonerate themselves.
If only the Senator had hired those of us who were and are totally committed to her campaign, maybe she would have succeeded. I hope in the future she will look to those who would unselfishly and committedly will support her candidacy in 2012.

Posted by: LAMM01 | August 12, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

"Having contributed time and money to the Clinton campaign I now vehemently support John McCain."

As long as you do it vehemently.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 12, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Beware of folks pretending to be Hillary folks mad at Obama and voting for McCain. Divide and conquer is their strategy.

Posted by: greg | August 12, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

There was a Democratic Party Primary. Obama has won and Hillary lost. Our country is in trouble. I ask you!!
Do you really think-4 more years of Republican bungling of the economy, foreign affairs, energy policy, Iraq, Afghanistan and the deaths of 4500 of our sons and daughters is a price you are willing to pay for revenge?
I for one am fearful, that Democrats don't have the loyalty to country over Party to overcome another Rovian assault.
During the Primary, the Democrats said they had two excellent candidates. Both Hillary and Obama have so much talent and energy to serve. Our COUNTRY IS IN TROUBLE!! The Democrats must win in November.

Posted by: CarmanK | August 12, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Hillary and her team found their "voice" late in the primaries and she ran out the remaining primaries whooping Obama.

I think if the trend toward Hillary started earlier, she would have easily overtaken Obama.

Look at all his miss-steps, controversial Senate votes and flip-flopping.

Another tidbit which is overlooked "big-time" by the MSM, is Obama's TV ads running on TV through-out Florida from January 9,2008, up to and including Primary Election Day in Florida. Obama's campaign used the lame excuse that it was in a cable bundle with other states. If that were the case, how come the other candidates' TV ad bundles were able to omit Florida. With Obama's campaign being TV saavy, I doubt it was an oversight. Yet even at the DNC meeting on May 31, they said no Candidate campaigned in Florida. WHAT!!! CHRIS CILLIZZA, I implore you, er, request you, address this MSM and DNC blunder, er, oversight.

Posted by: JD | August 12, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

>>who hijacked the nomination with fewer votes than Hillary received.

Only if you play the most convoluted of games with funhouse mirrors.

>>Hillary supporters won't get mad; we will get even.

Read the memos and realize just how manipulated you really were. You and the women were puppets in their plan.

How DARE Obama unseat the self-appointed Queen!

PUMA: Poor Unsatisfied Menopausal A**holes

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the person who said Bill Clinton's influence did not seem to be mentioned as a key factor in the campaign. First, Hillary likely never would have been a candidate for Senator, let alone president, had she not been Bill's wife. So she owes her early advantages largely, if not entirely to her husband's power and fame.

Second, clearly Bill played a negative role and hurt his wife's chances with a few politically inept comments during the early campaign.

The Clintons and their hard core supporters of two or three million presently bitter persons will, if all goes well with their hopes, be back in four years, having learned, perhaps, some lessons from losing this year. They do not want Barack to win unless he appeases the Clintons by choosing Hillary as the vice-presidential nominee, with Bill being co-vice president.

Posted by: Independent | August 12, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Penn repeatedly urged Clinton to avoid being likeable as a political strategy largely out of a belief that such a move had doomed the candidacies of Al Gore and John Kerry.

Gore and Kerry didn't lose because they spent too much time trying to be liked. Gore was a stiff, boring pedant and Kerry was an aloof snob. If anything, they should have tried harder to be likable.

Posted by: AK | August 12, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse


.
Hillary supporters will certainly get behind the hussein campaign --- to push it off a cliff!

We Hillary supporters will do everything possible to ensure defeat for that Kerry-like shallow, arrogant, platitude-spouting, elitist, inexperienced, narcissistic, flip-flopping gas-bag - who is so mentally deficient from extensive drug use he even has to plagiarize his hollow platitudes, and who hijacked the nomination with fewer votes than Hillary received.

Hillary supporters won't get mad; we will get even.

Best of luck, "sweetie".

/

Posted by: ALEX H. | August 12, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

It will be very interesting to see what the McCain campaign can do with the contents of these memos. Having contributed time and money to the Clinton campaign I now vehemently support John McCain. It was disgusting how the Obama campaign played the race card and tried to destroy anyone who dared question his presidential credentials (i.e. Geraldine Ferraro). In military strategy there is a powerful dictum: Nothing fails like success. It applies to war as much as political campaigns. Obama may have succeeded in stealing the nomination from HRC. But, there is no way in hell he can defeat John McCain and the legions of loyal HRC supporters.

PUMA baby!!

Posted by: Aleklawyer | August 12, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse


MARK PENN WAS RIGHT. OBAMA IS UNELECTABLE.
AND TOO MANY DEMOCRATS ARE SPELLBOUND.

• An "AL-le-GORE-y foretold by John Lennon?


"Oh!" The pundits gasp. "That Mark Penn! How COULD he say those mean things?"

To which I say, yeah, how could Penn speak the unvarnished truth and find his on-point prophecies so derided by Hillaryland appeasers?

Events are proving Mark Penn right. Obama has failed to lead. He has failed to fight. He has failed to adhere to the core positions that won him a loyal following among cockeyed lefties.

And yes, too often Obama has projected the disconcerting image of a stranger in a strange land, an outsider, someone who says he's from Kansas but whose manner seems like it came straight out of Oz.

Beware the man behind the curtain.

Geraldine Ferraro was right, too; Obamanauts fell in love with a dream, and succumbed to the siren lure of a personality cultist, a too-clever-by-half dream-weaver.

It was not enough that he aspires to be the American President after only three undistinguished years on the national scene. No, Barack Obama had to present himself as the President of the World. He is, as the GOP mocks, "The One" who professes to transform humankind not by adherence to principle but by expediency and compromise masquerading as "change."

And maybe Hillary was right, if impolitic, with HER mocking: "And the celestial choirs will SING!..."

Obama has turned out to be yet another false prophet. He started out as a visionary who dared to dream. Then the dream transmogrified into mass hypnosis, a soul-less trance. Obama executed the spell, but also fell victim to his own voodoo.

John Lennon wrote a song about a man like this:

He's a real nowhere man / living in his nowhere land / Making all his nowhere plans for nobody

Doesn't have a point of view / knows not where he's going to / Isn't he a bit like you and me

Then, a second verse relevant to the Obama Odyssey:

He's as blind as he can be / Just sees what he wants to see / Nowhere man, can you see me at all?

Obama bought into his own dream. He failed to perceive the real needs of the people he would save. And now, he cannot see that the dream is over (to evoke the words of yet another Lennon lyric).

It is over because it is a dream bereft of a soul. Obama's dream is Obama. He has become his own graven image, the object of his own blind idol-worship. He committed a cardinal sin: He bought into his own hype, believed his own press.

Now, even Obama's most loyal core supporters, the starry-eyed legions who set him upon his "improbable journey," have awakened from the dream.

Thank the Lord, and Mark Penn, that the revelation has come just in time for the Democratic Party to save itself.

Hillary has assumed the mantle of savior, although she will not be the one to return to "the promised land"(read, White House). Her loyal delegates will prevent Obama from being nominated on the first ballot, and then Hillary will power-broker a winning strategy: Recognizing that her marital baggage proscribes her from the nomination, she will throw her support, and her delegates, to Al Gore.

Even before the final roll call, Gore will have signaled that he would name Barack Obama as his vice presidential designate, defusing any opposition that might arise from Obama diehards. And Gore will go on to decisively defeat Obama on the final roll call.

Obama, now chastened, will accept the vice presidency with an appropriate mixture of pride and humility -- the humility that was lacking in his over-reaching campaign for the top job.

A fantasy, you say? Please let us quote from yet another John Lennon verse:

You may say I'm a dreamer / But I'm not the only one

Why don't you come and join us / And the world will live as one

Just so happens that in '08, "The One" may turn out to be "The Gore-acle," not Barack Obama.

BUT WILL THE ELECTION EVEN COUNT? Not if gov't.-supported "vigilante injustice" squads are targeting Americans outside of the bounds of the law:

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/get-political-vic-livingston-opinion-expose-state-supported-vigilante-squads-doing-domestic-terrorism

Posted by: scrivener | August 12, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I scanned the highlights of the emails, and noticed that Bill Clinton's influence in the campaign was NOT described. Maybe I missed a reference to Bill Clinton; however, I felt it had a chilling effect. Bill said things that were not helpful. Also, there was a huge risk in allowing Bill out on the campaign trail. His presence would surely remind people of his presidency (good and bad). Thus, Hillary became burdened with an incumbent status. Lot's of people (in these blogs) bemoaned another Clinton presidency. So Obama was able to successfully carry the "change" message.

On a personal note, at the beginning of the campaign, I assumed that Hillary would prevail, and that Obama was a hopeful, and yet unknown candidate. But the more I heard of Obama's central theme, and his consistent message, the more I came to accept him as "the one". When Oprah endorsed Obama, I was committed to Obama. By the time our state caucus came around, most of my neighbors in Redmond, WA had reached the same conclusion.

So for me, Hillary was unable to cast off the "more of the same old politics" and represent "change". Of course, Obama is untested, but for me, that adds to the hopefulness assumed in "change". Naturally, "change" means some risk, and some faith in a better outcome. If we always stick with "experience", we are not likely to see much "change", just more tinkering with a broken system.

Posted by: richard | August 12, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Just asking

Isn't the definition of a "successful" attack that it either improves your numbers or lower your opponent's ?

Then, how in hell does the celebrity attack qualify as "successful" ? Coz last time I checked Obama's lead is exactly to where it was before his trip.

Posted by: Benjamin | August 12, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate the "FixNotes" summary of these memos and emails, and I did look through some of the linked documents.

Throughout the campaign, and in reading these memos, the phrase that sticks in my mind is "Where are my people going? I must find out so that I can lead them." The HRC campaign had lots of smart political professionals, and to say that they didn't pick up on changes in the political landscape just isn't borne out in these memos. Yes, they clearly were adrift on some things (the "American" roots strategy was both looney and offensive), but they recognized change as a theme early on, they knew Obama was going to generate excitement, and they did have an early, accurate read on what HRC's strengths were. But where they were right, they failed to act coherently or effectively.

They knew that crowds were moving, but they didn't quite know where to or why, and they didn't know how to get out in front and lead that crowd. Personally, I think that was what ultimately did the campaign in -- Mark Penn seems to have recognized that voters were looking for some combination of change and leadership, but the change message was taken over by Obama, and the HRC campaign all seemed to be looking for a crowd to lead, rather than leading and having the crowd follow.

Posted by: AOS1 | August 12, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I think we can say without fear of contradiction that there is one area of general agreement: no one in the Clinton campaign ventured too far into the territory of being likeable.

Posted by: FlownOver | August 12, 2008 2:01 PM

Except Chelsea.

Posted by: Aleks | August 12, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Interesting but really only to Hillary to find the leakers and make sure that they are not part of her future campaigns. Hillary ran a campaign with one hand tied behind her back and the mistake was not running an insurgent campaign from the beginning that we all know.

In this day and age of emails and daily leaks it will be interesting to see if Obama loses what they have all said to each other and the same for McCain.

We do know that Hillary is doing all she can to elect Obama and that is what is important. Mark Penn is back making money with his firm and Howard Wolfson is making money on Fox.

So who really cares about these memos. What they don't say is a person's response to all of them. We know Hillary rejected many of them and didn't attack Obama as she could have wanted to because the press took up Obama's voice and every criticism was turned into a racist attack.

McCain did learn from that and hit back at Obama early on that note and Obama had to backtrack.

If we are to move forward then we need to be able to criticize a Black candidate without being called recist.

Interesting to read these maybe - valuable- not at all except for voyeurs who want to second guess things they don't know all the facts on.

Posted by: peter | August 12, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

What is apparent from the release of these memo's is that the Clinton campaign is not over. Mark Penn doesn't do anything without marching orders and his comments and the memo's are their latest attempt to undermine the Obama candidacy, preparatory for Hillary's run in four years. One has to wonder who is the more Byzantine, Karl Rove or the Cltinon's? In either case, both are finished in U.S. politics, but like some lumbering beast that is dead on it's feet, will continue stumbling along for a while before collapsing. The only question is, how much damage will the Cltinon's do to the Democratic Party before they get the message. One thing is clear, Hillary's supporters have undermined support for "women's issues" forever. I know, I'll never blindly support them again. The repercussions of this will be felt in November, too. Uo North, in Washington state, Christine Gregoire appears to be loosing because she has been tied to Clinton.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | August 12, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Right on most of you. But a point missed is that Hillary never established her own territory, declared her separateness from the past, stated clearly ( even if it made her appear unlikable ) that she was not Bill Clinton, but her own person,moved well beyond the old politics and ready to lead into the New Age. In my opinion she was held back by adroit but unaware male attitudes , mostly her husband, that she truly had to have all guys proping her up. The penchant of the campaign for likeablness chained her to the female rock of ages. Be beautiful,do not appear to smart, never put a man down ( by the way she always appeared to me afraid to really attack or show Obama up). The result, recognized by many women, the poor little girl who cried when she lost and had all the girls behind her saying. " No fair." Too bad she did not play marbles with tough boys when she was 10.

Posted by: Mary Sherburne | August 12, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

How have these McCain attacks been successful? Obama has recovered from the close daily tracking polls of a week ago, and the state polls show a fairly static race. Oh and he got in a spat with Paris Hilton, that is a net plus? Maybe the attacks have been good for the media to repeatedly discuss something, but otherwise the campaign seems to have become relatively stabilized with Obama having a slight lead in national polls, b ut a lead nonetheless and the media being breathless over scurrillous attacks by his opponent, hmmmm....sounds familiar

Posted by: bradleyhirsh | August 12, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

The article by Green and attached memos changed my opinion of HQ. Most (not all) of Penn's views expressed in his memos were extremely prescient. What is alarming is the complete lack of leadership from within. Very few of his recommendations were acted upon in a clear and coherent fashion, and even when they were, it proved to be too late: The Obama train had already left the station. For example, I have reason to believe that Ickes' warnings about fundraising and delegate totals would have been acted up much sooner and with more force had there been a stronger point person from the start. Or Penn's opinion that the campaign should have a "viral" nature.

So much internal strife could have been avoided with stronger leadership from the top. In his defense, Penn was not the campaign manager. That was PSD's job, and she failed to put everyone else in their place. Sure, Penn's character and verbose manner caused internal problems. But it could have been handled from the top before getting out of hand.

Posted by: Clinton Supporter | August 12, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"Penn advised that Clinton attack Obama as 'just words' -- a very similar tact to the one successfully adopted by John McCain's campaign in recent weeks.

I don't give a flying frisbee about Clinton or Penn or Ickes anymore, but my dear sweet mother of God, what is it with the MSM and their mistaken use of "tact" when they mean "tack?"

"Tack" is a saling term, used as both a noun and a verb, that refers to the zig-zagging course changes one has to make to sail in a wind that is not directly from behind.

"Tact" is, in the immortal words of Cordelia Chase, "just not saying true stuff." One does not "change tacts" or "take a tact."

The mainstream media people covering this election have been absolutely in love with this malapropism for almost two years now and it been driving me to distraction.

Posted by: Steve | August 12, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Having read the whole thing, the most amazing thing is how out of touch they were about the big picture. It was all about winning, and them. Never was any thought given about what was right for the party -- especially near the end when it required an internecine war that could result only in a pyrrhic victory.
What did they think would happen if they wrested the nomination away from Obama? That his supporters would fall in line? Obama realized he had to dance that dance, but they didn't. It was scorched earth all the way. The result would have been that there would have been a black third party candidate, an I -- a white man and Obama supporter -- would have voted for him (her?) -- even knowing it would result in a Repub victory. It would teach a lesson that would last for generations: try gaming the system and those who are gamed won't vote for you. Period.

Posted by: John Kiernan | August 12, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

For anyone who thinks Mark Penn and his firm aren't in bed with some real prizes, I post the link below. Penn would have tried to represent the Donner Party at a vegan convention. Biggest gas bag since Ralph Nader and equally as effective.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burson-Marsteller

Posted by: Off the Mark | August 12, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Chris, you left out the best one: Mark Penn's half-ass sales pitch to uncommitted Dem superdelegates that used a (very) hypothetical electoral map that was prepared by Fox News and Karl Rove (at least Penn sourced it properly).

One, only the most cynical would say that using the GOP's all-time greatest hitman in a tortured attempt to prove Hill's case is on the level. Two, even conceding for the sake of argument that using Rove to attest for HRC's bona fides is all-square - Penn was paid MILLIONS by the campaign for research and polling. He couldn't have come up with his own stuff, rather than boosting Karl Rove's work?

Bob Shrum should be thankful that Mark Penn came along - he is off the hook as the biggest LOSER trying to pass himself off as a guru.

Posted by: bondjedi | August 12, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I think we can say without fear of contradiction that there is one area of general agreement: no one in the Clinton campaign ventured too far into the territory of being likeable.

Posted by: FlownOver | August 12, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Are you really surprised Chris Cilliza? Should any political junkie be surprised by the tactics inside the campaign?

All these internal memos just show Hillary is not a good leader mainly because of her relationship to two men, Bill Clinton and Mark Penn.

Posted by: Obama-Junkie | August 12, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I voted for Gore and for Kerry, and I can assure Mr. Penn that neither of them suffered from excessive likability.

Posted by: Aleks | August 12, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

BTW this was a really good story, Mr. Fix. Keep it up!

Posted by: dch | August 12, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone really surprised about the memos' content? Her campaign's disorganization and infighting was discussed extensively here while she was still in the race.

If anything, the McCain campaign should take close note, as they seem to suffer some of the same ills - no theme, unclear management structure, infighting, unsure of how to effectively attack Obama.

Posted by: bsimon | August 12, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

HRC's people seem to have banked on making their candidate appear 'viable' while BHO's campaign snuck up on them by making Obama appear presidential. Hillary ceded the issues and split the difference on "experience", losing ground as Obama continued to flesh out a vision for governing. I wonder if McCain is paying attention?

Posted by: dch | August 12, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Patriotism is easy to understand in America. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.
Calvin Coolidge
http://www.votenic.com
-Run By A Kid

Posted by: Blake | August 12, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

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