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Penn Is Out As Clinton's Chief Strategist

UPDATE -- 9:40 p.m.

While the news of chief political strategist Mark J. Penn's abrupt departure from Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign this evening took many in the Democratic political world by surprise, talk soon turned to how the move would impact the overall message of the campaign. One Democratic consultant, granted anonymity to speak candidly, predicted "a less combative campaign and more focused on her strengths."

Penn was a major influence in Clinton's decision to focus on her toughness and readiness to be commander in chief during the campaign. He was one of the guiding forces behind the now-infamous "3 am" telephone ringing at the White House ad that sought to raise questions about Sen. Barack Obama's (Ill.) ability to lead the country in the event of a national security crisis. That ad ran in the lead-up to the March 4 Texas primary, which Clinton won.

As recently as last week, Penn continued to push that line of attack on a campaign conference call with reporters. "Part of the vetting process is who is ready to be commander in chief," he said, before adding: "We believe Senator Clinton is the most ready to be commander in chief."

During that same conference call last week, Penn argued that the race was far from over and that any number of twists and turns were possible before voting ended on June 3. He offered a quote ("Anything can happen in the last several months of an election campaign") that seems eerily predictive of his own future in the campaign in retrospect.

The shakeup was announced this evening in a statement issued by campaign manager Maggie Williams.

"After the events of the last few days, Mark Penn has asked to give up his role as Chief Strategist of the Clinton Campaign," Williams said. "Mark, and Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, Inc. will continue to provide polling and advice to the campaign." Sources close to Clinton insist Penn stepped aside and was not forced to relinquish his position.

The events Williams is referring to is a meeting between Penn and the Colombian government as he sought to help them negotiate a bilateral free trade agreement between themselves and the United States. Clinton is on the record in opposition to the plan, and, Penn was forced to issue a quick apology once the news of his meeting was reported. Several labor unions called for Penn to be fired from the campaign, however, and it appears as though Clinton took the moment to rearrange her political operation.

Joe Trippi, a senior adviser for the presidential campaign of former senator John Edwards (N.C.), said Penn's decision to stay on as the head of Burson-Marsteller Worldwide, a public relations and lobbying company, while working for Clinton never made much sense.

"The only real question was why did it not happen sooner?," Trippi said of Penn's demotion. "The conflicts have been a problem for the campaign from the start."

Stepping into the void left by Penn are Geoff Garin, a pollster and partner in Garin-Hart-Yang Research, as well as communications director Howard Wolfson -- a longtime Clinton loyalist who has been intimately involved in each of the New York Senator's campaigns.

Reached tonight, Garin offered no specific thought on Penn's decision to step aide. "The more I've been around Senator Clinton, the more I admire the strength of her character and her commitment to doing what's right for people, so I'm happy to have the chance to help her if I can," said Garin.

The removal of Penn from his coveted slot atop the Clinton political team marks the end of a tempestuous tenure for the pollster. Penn's relationship with the Clintons goes back to former President Clinton's 1996 reelection race. Penn also served as the political strategist for Hillary Clinton's first run for Senate in 2000 and played the same role in 2006 as the New York Senator prepared to run for president.

Penn enjoyed the Clintons' trust and loyalty as evidenced by the fact that he remained in the catbird's seat even as the presidential campaign saw its original plan dashed by the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.). Penn occasionally clashed with other members of Clinton's inner circle but the candidate always seemed unwilling to lessen his role within her orbit. (For more on Penn, make sure to read the piece penned by the Post's Anne Kornblut.)

Penn's demotion is the latest in a series of moves made by Clinton as she seeks to convince voters and superdelegates that she remains in contention for the Democratic nomination. Campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle and deputy campaign manager Mike Henry left the staff earlier this year.

Stories of staff shuffles rarely penetrate the average voter's consciousness but Penn's decision may be an exception as he was an extremely high profile member of Clinton's team. We'll be monitoring that fallout as it develops. Stay tuned.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 6, 2008; 7:14 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: FixCam: The Clinton Staff Shuffle

Comments

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Posted by: zs1465fnrb | April 13, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: 1r2w682thj | April 13, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

"(assuming you're an American citizen)"

JD. imho you are nuts. Don't expect a response to these kinds of totally inane comments

Posted by: Leichtman | April 8, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand the lack of Union leadership outrage over this situation with Mark Penn in the Clinton campaign. All she did was "shuffle the deck" so to speak. This guy is still gonna do polling and provide "advice". Mark Penn needs to be GONE! I cannot put any trust in Clinton that she has the best interests of American union members as long as she refuses to part with this guy. And neither should the leadership of any union. I don't understand all the wailing about Obama's unpaid advisor's comments to some Canadian official, while the leader of Clinton's campaign is holding strategy meetings to get this onerous Columbian legislation passed? She is basically spitting in the eye of the unions by moving this guy to the back room for a while till the heat (what little of it that has been generated) dies down. Is union leadership so in love with (or in fear of) the Clintons that they accept this with nary a whimper? WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE? The AFL-CIO ought to be hounding Clinton night and day to make a complete break with this guy. Somebody please explain to me why that is not happening.

Posted by: Kepps | April 8, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

If Obama gets the nomination, the GE will be overshadowed by dramas of race and patriotism. It's not the fault of the candidates that the media don't stick to the issues. Clinton's treatment by the press has been prejudicial than anything I've seen in my lifetime. Salacious, slanderous coverage has no relation to the fact that she has largely run a more substantive campaign.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 8, 2008 6:45 AM | Report abuse

Aye!

Posted by: lydgate | April 7, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Clintons = Drama, Drama, Drama.

If Hillary Clinton gets to the White House, it will be more of the same and the people's business will be overshadowed.

Our problems in this country are too serious to settle for this.

Posted by: Retired | April 7, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

But the bottom line for me is that if you are looking at lapses in judgement I would think Obama's continued friendship and defense of his to Pastors, Wright and Meeks are much more serious. I would rather have an oil baron contribute to either of their campaigns than have people with the views and words and actions of these two Pastors be spiritual advisors and mentors to the next President.

I don't know who will win the nomination, and I want to support the Democratic nominee whoever that may be. But if it is Obama he will have to take the next step in disassociating himself from these two men and their divisive views if he wants to unite the party before he can attempt to unite the nation.


I completely concur. It is becoming more and more clear that Obama's policy making decision style is to listen, try to see positions from all angles, appease all sides in the debate and never make the tough call. He showed it again by wavering on the question of presidential participation in the Olympics.

That is not someone I want as my president and no amount of slander, appeals to party loyalty or changing the subject to Hillary's wrongdoings is going to change my vote. Show me where Obama has demonstrated
moral or political courage, when he has done the right thing out of conviction not self-opportunism and I'll listen.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 7, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

JD you call monica an impt ISSUE in this campaign and my refusal to play along with your nonsense naïve. I call $4 gas prices,record home foreclosures, a collapsing economy,
47 million uninsurred and a 3 triilion dollar endless war ISSUES. Silly me, you and the Goldbergs think we should best talk about REAL ISSUES.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 7, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Boy, you really have to be careful to put a space between the first two words of the title of this post or you'll end up with a different unfortunate, but appropriate, title.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 7, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Leightman, since when does approval ratings have anything to do with competency or effective stewardship. If you're looking for approval, watch American Idol. There are so many examples of high marks for lousy leaders there's no point in listing them. I love you Dems, if your guy lies it's okay, if the other guy lies - he's Hitler. I hate to bring up constitutional protocol but the Congress approved of the Bush plan, they authorized it, then the Dems thought it was politically expedient to oppose the war. The result, the Iraqi's stop fighting to win and began fighting to maim. The more the Dem railed against the war, the more soldiers got targeted. Why win a battle when your enemy does you work for you. Everyone should have shut up until the boys were home. Of course Dems don't fight so as Kerrey stated only the "stupid" went into the service. Who cares about them? Additionally the blight disregard for military readiness during the Clinton years led to a woefully unprepared military.

Posted by: Army Vet | April 7, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Leichtman, sorry you're unable to have a reasonable conversation about what was unarguably the dominant issue facing Bill and Hillary during those years.

Your post suggests that you're in a state of denial about the issue, which is sad in a way. Note that I never attacked you or HRC's candidacy in my responses - only stated what seems to me as patently obvious.

If you want to support HRC or Obama or McCain because of their positions on the issues, feel free (assuming you're an American citizen). Lashing out, putting your hands over your ears and humming showtunes, and launching ham-handed attacks only serves to eliminate your own credibility on this site.

Take care.

Posted by: JD | April 7, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

calling it HC's signature issue proves that you are truly part of the Karl Rove slime machine which I ssuspected all along. Get over it JD. Bill Clinton left office with a 62% approval rating. W will be lucky to leave with numbers surpassing Richard Nixon's. Your side's signature issue will be presiding over the worst Presidency in 200 years.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 7, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

and bsimon: ha!

For the record, I've got my liberal leanings:

- pro choice
- pro drug legalization
- pro troop drawdown
- anti 10 commandments in schools, etc

Posted by: JD | April 7, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

One more thing: Before you chime in that it was asked of Chelsea not HRC, remember: it was HRC who made the decision to put her own kid out there on the hustings. Chelsea is representing the HRC package, good and bad.

Yes I know Chelsea is pretty young (just a guess: 25?), but that's certainly old enough in my book, especially when you're actively campaigning for your candidate in the supposedly open forum of a college campus.

Posted by: JD | April 7, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Leichtman, the question brings up the signature issue, or at least the dominant one, of HRC's reign in the Whitehouse. To think otherwise is niave.

Yes, I know if you're HRC it's certainly a painful memory, and I'm sure she would rather talk about her healthcare plan or cockamamie scheme to freeze interest rates on variable loans. But she doesn't get to pick and choose what people ask of her, not for something so public and impactful to her husband's administration (and hers: isn't part of her pitch that she's the experienced one?).

Posted by: JD | April 7, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

JD writes
"not to get into labels (bsimon, I'm looking in your direction...) but I'm more a libertarian"

Hey, at least I didn't label you a liberal...

Posted by: bsimon | April 7, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Ah the Democratic Party. At last revealed for the petty race baiting collection of stalinists that they are. Black people are okay as long as they vote for the WHITE candidate of the Party Elite's choice. Don't dare come out of the kitchen and join the dance. This worship of Hillary is hilarious if it weren't so serious. This person, who would rather lie than tell the truth, who is riding the coattails of her husbands misdeeds and is willing to risk the only solid voting block the dysfunctional Demo party has (the black vote), is neither worthy nor deserving. This country must get out of the Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton death spiral if we are to survive as a nation. Half the nation is hoping for the other half to fail so OUR person can return to the throne. The result of these two loser families? Social Security/Medicare broken beyond compare, out of control spending, earmark bonuses to record levels given to campaign contributors, tax rates on the federal and local level that lock the young and poor out of the American dream. Keep on worshiping these knuckleheads, keep feeding them power. We have only ourselves to blame

Posted by: Independent and proud | April 7, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I am fiscally conservative as well, but I am reasonably trying to warn those supporters of the Obama campaign(which I doubt you are) to knock off talk about monica in this campaign it will explode in your face either in the remaining primaries or in the general if Obama is the nominee. I for one will never support Sen Obama if either he or his campaign tries to make that an issue in the next 8 weeks. Certainly Sen Obama does not control the voice of his supporters or bloggers, but if Obama supporters don't believe me, just approach a HC supporter in your community and ask if they want to hear more about monica in the primary from the Obama campaign. My guess is that you won't like what you hear.

Is it a fair question? Absolutely if you are a GOPer or wish to totally divide the democratic party. Is that your intent JD?

Posted by: Leichtman | April 7, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Leichtman, not to get into labels (bsimon, I'm looking in your direction...) but I'm more a libertarian, which I guess has some conservative pieces, especially fiscally.

The question was not asked of Chelsea on a blog, it was asked during a college campaign appearance. For HRC. Where she was the 'face of the campaign'.

Once HRC made the decision to use her daughter to shill for the youth vote, she (both she's, actually) need to be prepared for this stuff.

Personally, I'd guessed that the person who raised the question you mention was a Republican, not an Obama supporter. In my opinion, the question was in bounds; she experienced the stresses of the near constitutional crisis firsthand, and although it's a close call, I found the question tough but not beyond the pale.

Posted by: JD | April 7, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

"The problem is that you're equating anonymous comments on political blogs with campaign tactics."

you are likely right, and as I stated I doubt and hoepfully presume that the Obama campaign would not touch that line b/c it would be truly toxic to HC supporters. At times it is honestly hard to decifer whether those kinds of comments are coming from Repub HC haters or from Obama supporters. Soryy but at times those insults sound awfully similar ( again not from you) Lets just agree that this campaign has way to many serious consequences then to rehash that kind of garbage which I honsetly believe is an unfair and painful jab and Chelsea and HC.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 7, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Why doesnt Hippary start singing so she can know for certain that the fat lady has sung. This is over.

Obama 08

Posted by: Mike | April 7, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

To me, as a military member who participated in Afghanistan and Iraq, the greatest patriotism of all was Senator Obama's public declarations of how an invasion into Iraq would detract from our military efforts in Afghanistan. I could care less how often a politician wears a lapel pin, but to the extent that a politician speaks and acts to preserve life, liberty, and the U.S. Constitution, that is the true sign of patriotism. Anything less is empty, serving only to underhandedly manipulate the American people into giving their support. Back then, it was considered patriotic to rename your food into "freedom fries" or "freedom toast". The ignorance of it all is enough to make me weep.

Posted by: mdelbranson | April 7, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Leichtman- JD is a conservative who would likely take some offense at being characterized as an Obama supporter.

I think its fair to say JD is not shy about being unfond of Sen Clinton; perhaps you've mistaken critisim of her as an indication of support for Obama.

Regarding your question, its irrelevant. The problem is that you're equating anonymous comments on political blogs with campaign tactics. It would be like claiming that svreader is an official spokesperson for the Clinton campaign. The premise is ludicrous & would make me look like a delusioned fool if I were to make the claim.

Posted by: bsimon | April 7, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

bsimon I was only reiterating what I read right here over the weekend where a self described Obama supporter made it absolutely clear, I believe it was JD who post her often, that Chelsea is an appropriate target for those kinds of questions. When Obama supporters make those kinds of allegation then why should we not presume that your side wishes to drive that story. I know absolutely nothing about the students who asked those questions, and stated so. It just seems suspicious that we hear that question repeated here by some of his co called supporters.

My question is this bismon: do you feel as an Obama supporter who has lectured me often about how uplifting Sen Obama's campaign is and how he does not believe in politics as usual, that it is appropriate for his campaign or his supporters to us the lewinsky story as a campaign strategy against HC?

I would like an honest answer to that question, b/c how I perceive that is dealt with by the campaign, may very likely determine who I support in Nov especially if Sen Obama is the democratic nominee.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 7, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

proudtobeGOP writes
"He has a patriotism problem."

He doesn't have a patriotism problem, he has a disinformation problem.

I also suspect that, due to your personal situation, you are more susceptible to view the 'patriotism problem' as more important than it is with average swing voters. My guess is that the majority of folks who think one's patriotism is measured by the frequency with which a flag pin is worn are uninclined to vote for any Democrat.

Posted by: bsimon | April 7, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Practically no one has questioned Obama's patriotism, aside from a few bloggers and a stray TV commentator or two. Nonetheless, he declared after the Texas and Ohio primaries, "In this campaign, we will not stand for the politics that uses religion as a wedge and patriotism as a bludgeon."

He has a patriotism problem. That is not the same as calling him unpatriotic, which no one is doing.

I noticed him injecting it into his stump speech last Friday, saying "I love this country" when previously he hadn't made that part of the stock speech. Gone is the old hope riff.

It has been replaced with a new tag line about love of country because patriotism is a crucial challenge for Obama now.

His aides believe, and rightly so, that the Wright controversy was more about anti-Americanism than it was about race.

All the little things add up...taking off the flag pin, not putting his hand over his heart for the national anthem, his wife's lack of pride in America until they voted for her husband, his pastor's anti-American teachings. It adds up, that's all I'm saying.


Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 7, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Patriotism is just an empty word to Republicans. It's a meaningless slogan, a reflexive gesture, a plastic lapel pin, an American flag made in China, a a bumper sticker.

But mostly, it's a bludgeon to use against anyone who doesn't agree with your opinions.

Posted by: drindl | April 7, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Interesting. According to Leichtman, asking whether Sen Clinton's credibility has been damaged by the Monica thing is an "absolutely despicable cheap shot." Yet, it is apparently entirely acceptable to imply her opponent is involved with having the question asked - despite no evidence to support the allegation. Leichtman, perhaps your post also qualifies as an "absolutely despicable cheap shot."

Posted by: bsimon | April 7, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Leichtman:

Likewise, we should presume that the questioner was not a Clinton-campaign plant whose off-topic and perhaps out-of-bounds question was designed to elicit sypathy for HRC and ire towards BHO.

It could go either way, IMO, since the questioner revealed in subsequent interviews (after all the brouhaha erupted) that he's a "big supporter" of HRC, but he was unable to articulate any good reason for asking that particular question. Maybe he's just an attention-wh0re, in which case it all makes a little more sense.

Posted by: ablackstormy | April 7, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

This dumb white b*^tch better not try to steal the campagn with the super-delegetes.
this corrupt has gotta stop!

Posted by: James Spear | April 7, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Hillary: Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's
the problem after all?

Mirror: Actually honey, it's you.

Hillary: Nah! Gotta be Penn.

Posted by: Sleeping Beauty | April 7, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Chelsea an Acceptable Target of the Obama Campaign?

JD asking Chelsea about Monica is not part of the rough and tumble of politics it was nothing but an absolutely despicable cheap shot. I presume that it was not instigated by the Obama campaign but believe me I along with likely millions of other HC supporters will not only switch from not voting for Pres but will actively support John McCain if it turns out that the Obama campaign was behind those questions to Chelsea and he becomes the nominee.

Last week JD we were all told that we should get behind the Obama campaign b/c he did not represent a "campaign as usual".

I doubt that I am alone in feeling that not only would such tactics be campaigning as usual, but the worst kind of gutter politics we have seen from a democrat and completely unacceptable.If its acceptable to you that is truly disappointing. If you speak for the strategy of the Obama campaign that is even worse.

Once again I am presuming in good faith that the Obama campaign had absolutely NOTHING to do with those scurrilous questions to Chelsea, and you should hope that I am correct as that would be absolutely toxic to your campaign, and likely the end of his presumptive nomination march.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 7, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

drindl - "John McCain is a bridge to the past -- a man who believes American taxpayers -- and our military -- should be the world's police force, installing puppets and enforcing their power."

If that is the bridge to where the US was instrumental in defeating the Nazis, communism and several really bad dictators, give me the map to that bridge because I want on.

Posted by: Dave! | April 7, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Meghan McCain is a 'target' too -- since she's out on the stump with her father, fair game. And she has a political blog too!

I hear Cindy is too busy investing her $100 million beer bucks inheritance to campaign. Owns lots of stock in Merck, WalMart, Pfizer...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 7, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I love Obama! Down with Hillary! She is a liar. I retract everything I said about her.

Obama will clean McCain's clock. Hooray for Obama. We need change and genius. Obama is the best candidate since Lincoln! We should clone him, and make the clone his VP! Hooray for Obama!

Posted by: svreader | April 7, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Democrats' patriotism problem.

"Obama has suggested the patriotism of his political opponents pales in contrast with his "true patriotism." At least that was how he explained his decision to remove his American flag lapel pin.

"You know, the truth is that right after 9/11, I had a pin," Obama said. "Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security, I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest."

In effect, Obama turned the patriotism issue on its head (or at least he tried to). If anyone was unpatriotic, it was his critics and foes, certainly not Obama."

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/014/946ipgio.asp?pg=2


There's a difference--a significant one--between being falsely called unpatriotic and having what Joe Klein of Time defines as a problem with patriotism.

"Patriotism is, sadly, a crucial challenge for Obama now," Klein wrote. Why?

Not because of Republicans, but because the Jeremiah Wright anti-American preaching and Michelle Obama's telling comments about having never been proud of this country before it supported her husband, and his purposeful removal of the flag pin from his lapel - these things have fed an undercurrent of doubt about "whether he is 'American' enough."

"This is a chronic disease among Democrats, who tend to talk more about what's wrong with America than what's right," Klein said.
---------------------

Blaming the VRWC is not the cure, especially since you've got to be paranoid to believe they're the problem in the first place.

Obama has a patriotism problem, even his campaign believes this is a bigger problem than any race issue he tried to turn it into after the Youtubes of Wright surfaced. This is one problem that's not going away and is sure to be revisited in the general election.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 7, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

svreader, before I respond, please don't mistake me for either a Clintonista or an Obamaniac. So let me comment on the alleged attacks on HRC's family by Obama's henchmen.

Bill and Chelsea are not *only* family members of the candidate, in the traditional sense (ie, they're not Nancy Reagan, the Bush twins, Amy Carter, etc). They are actively campaigning and 'speechifying' for HRC - Bill in the media, clumsily, and Chelsea at about 75 colleges so far. They are in effect senior campaign advisors to HRC.

Seems to me that makes them perfectly acceptable targets during a rough-n-tumble campaign. This is a big difference from attacking the spouse who stays in the traditional role, emotional support (like McCain's wife).

Even Obama's wife has been making the rounds, giving speeches (and saying the wrong things too; what is it w/ the spouses of Dem candidates? It's amateur hour over there...) Therefore, she's a reasonable target as well IMHO.

Posted by: JD | April 7, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

"Not only will we vote for McCain if Obama becomes the nominee, but we'll be glad if he re-institutes the draft."

I knew you were a republican.

It must be obvious to everyone that svreader is a republican troll.

"This is the kind of debate we need, not focus-group-driven slogans designed to grab headlines. "

You mean, like "the surge is working"?

I'm glad to know that McCain is now taking advice from the Henry Kissinger -- because he has so much credibility.

John McCain is a bridge to the past -- a man who believes American taxpayers -- and our military -- should be the world's police force, installing puppets and enforcing their power.

Posted by: drindl | April 7, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

dcgrass that was a really classy post. At this point however I see absolutely no reason to give Sen Obama my positive support in Nov IF he is the nominee other than as a protest of McCain. There has been asboluetly nothing I have either heard nor seen either from the candidate or his supporters which would convince me that he should be elected as Pres.I won't go nearly as far as sreaver's post above however I was certainly upset to read posts here the other night attacking Chelsea, they were uncalled for. Incidentally excluding the numbers in Fla and Michigan in the popular vote, the current lead(before Pa) is 697,000 not 800,00 as mistakenly quoted.

Pen is, was, a self serving idiot, end of story.

Posted by: leichtman | April 7, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

AYE

Disclosure: I'm an Obama supporter who is tired if the bashing and smearing by both (arrently) Clinton and Obama supporters.

----
RE: Texas popular vote.
Yes, Clinton won the primary by approx 110,000 votes. But, Obama won the million person caucus by > 10%. Doing the math, it is unclear who actually received more votes total in TX (unless of course caucuses don't count) since I haven't seen the caucus raw votes released anywhere.

Posted by: mrmatttt | April 7, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

svreader,
Do you post elsewhere besides the Fix? I'm not interested in following you, I'm just speculating as to why there are occasionally to consecutive posts that aren't yours.

Posted by: light_bearer | April 7, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Obama supporters aren't loyal to the Democratic Party, they're loyal to their cult leader Barry Obama.
ajtiger --

By attacking other readers, rather than trying to answer the points those readers raise, Obama supporters lose twice.

We're not going to vote for Obama for anything.

Because Obama supporters have been so nasty to us, we'll actively work for, and we'll vote for, McCain.

Heck of a job, Obama-nuts!!!!

Posted by: svreader | April 7, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I know it is hard to ignore the rantings of svreader, my fellow Hope-Mongers. But what can you expect.

The only difference in the departure of Mark Penn as a Hillary campaign strategist is that Hillary saves campaign money and Clinton loyalists will feel better.

Meanwhile back in reality, Mark Penn's departure only re-enforces the continual link in Hillary's campaign with conflicts of interests and the influence of lobbyists/special interest money; does nothing to reduce the 169 pledged delegate lead, the ~800,000 popular vote lead, and the 14 more voting contests lead that Obama has over Hillary.

Posted by: ajtiger92 | April 7, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

From: The Three Revolutions
By Henry A. Kissinger
Monday, April 7, 2008

"Conventional wisdom holds that disenchantment with President Bush's alleged unilateralism is at the heart of European-American disagreements.

But it will become apparent soon after the change of administrations that the principal difference between the two sides of the Atlantic is that America is still a traditional nation-state whose people respond to calls for sacrifices on behalf of a much wider definition of the national interest than Europe's definition.

...In a world in which the sole superpower is a proponent of the prerogatives of the traditional nation-state, where Europe is stuck in halfway status, where the Middle East does not fit the nation-state model and faces a religiously motivated revolution, and where the nations of South and East Asia still practice the balance of power, what is the nature of the international order that can accommodate these different perspectives?

This is the kind of debate we need, not focus-group-driven slogans designed to grab headlines. "

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/06/AR2008040601660.html

Amen to that.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 7, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

drindl --

Not only will we vote for McCain if Obama becomes the nominee, but we'll be glad if he re-institutes the draft.

Obama supporters could use a few years in the army.

It would cut their arrogance down to size.

Clinton supporters will never forget or forgive Obama supporters attacks on Bill Clinton and even Chelsea, neither of which was running.

You didn't just try to "kill" our candidate, you went after her entire family.

Even the mafia doesn't do that.

Posted by: svreader | April 7, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

AYE

Posted by: willallison_2000 | April 7, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

"The problem is that Obama is unelectable in a general election doesn't seem to bother his supporters" svreader

That's because your assertion is false:
http://www.surveyusa.com/index.php/2008/03/06/electoral-math-as-of-030608-obama-280-mccain-258/

and
http://www.presidentelectionpolls.com/

In both cases, Obama does better than Clinton against McCain and in both cases, he wins the electoral vote contest.

Posted by: cwatson1 | April 7, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

As a fervent Democrat, I think Clinton would be a better candidate and President than Obama. It's with a great deal of dismay, therefore, that I've watched her campaighn steadily disintegrate and implode.

That said, I am one of millions who will happily vote for Sen. Obama if he wins the nomination-- which looks increasingly likely. My husband, daughters, and every person I know says the same-- they'll vote for the winner of the Democratic nomination, regardless of who it is. I know nobody who wants another 4 years of Republican domination.

And on THAT note: people, ENOUGH OF THE NAME CALLING. You do NOTHING to enhance your position or encourage others to agree with you. All you do is add to the continued polarization that's degraded this country in the past 20 years. If you disagree with a certain post, IGNORE IT. There are some people (on both sides) whose posts I simply scroll past.

If this continues, there are many long-time posters to this blog who will simply drop out. I post very rarely myself (I don't know WHO has the time to do all this stuff), but I very much enjoy reading opinions that are different than mine. It opens my mind to viewpoints I may not have considered. I value the give-and-take of a respectful disagreement very highly.

Whatever happened to the wonderful concept of the "loyal opposition"?

Posted by: dcgrasso1 | April 7, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

drindl --

I want to see the best person elected, and that's Senator Clinton.

Obama's not the kind of guy his supporters push that he is.

Obama's thugs personally attack anybody who tries to point that out.

Hillary's a far better candidate, and far more electable nationally.

Obama's supporters have made their campaign one of attacking her, bellow the belt, with empty screeds, while trying to intimidate anyone who supports her from posting.

Obama's run a cult, not a campaign.

He's pissed mainstream democrats off so much that he's lost the people he needs most in the general election.

He's moved it beyond issues, where Sen Clinton has the lead and made it purely personal.

That's a world-class blunder.

Posted by: svreader | April 7, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: anthem20042001 | April 7, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

It is a disservice for the Media to claim that Mark Penn has been FIRED or has stepped down or that he will not be affiliated with the campaign. This is contradicted in Maggie Williams' statement which says "After the events of the last few days, Mark Penn has asked to give up his role as Chief Strategist of the Clinton Campaign; Mark, and Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, Inc. will CONTINUE to PROVIDE polling and advice to the campaign. " From the following statement it is accurate for the Media to say he has been DEMOTED! Although many in the Media are trying to insinuate that he has been fired or has stepped down, this is a FABRICATION and Media has a right to inform Truth and not falsifications.

'"The president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, James Hoffa, said through an aide tonight that the change is of little significance, since Mr. Penn will continue to advise and poll for Mrs. Clinton's presidential bid. "Demotion doesn't answer General President Hoffa's concerns. Mark Penn is still on her payroll and Burson-Marsteller's payroll," a spokeswoman for Mr. Hoffa, Leigh Strope, said. "Title demotion doesn't indicate loss of influence."' "In a statement on Friday, Mr. Hoffa called for Mr. Penn's ouster. "Someone like Mark Penn should not be dictating strategy, and possibly legislation, for a Democratic candidate for president," the Teamster leader said."

Anyone with any Political smarts and savvy, should know that the Clintons are not REALLY getting rid of Penn and that this is just a smoke screen -- he is far too valuable to them and knows WAY too much for them to push him under the bus. He will still be pulling the strings behind that Wizard of Oz Curtin, as they say,polling and advising! This is just more double talk, double speak, misstate, misspeak and misspoke moment. Mark Penn should step down for Real!

Posted by: wdsoulplane | April 7, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

WHAT??

"That ad ran in the lead-up to the March 4 Texas primary, which Clinton won."

Care to review the delegate totals on that state? If the contest is for Delegates, and Obama won more than Clinton, does that mean soon you'll be telling everyone clinton is the president even though Obama sits behind the desk?

Posted by: yourbizboy | April 7, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

McCain is enthusiastic about pushing troops into harm's way and asking them to put their lives on the line for a dubious purpose, but not so enthusiastic about helping them get an education of they are lucky enough to survive:

"On "This Week" today, host George Stephanopolous asked Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) why neither he nor Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has cosponsored Sen. Jim Webb's 21st Century GI Bill, which would dramatically enhance educational benefits given to soldiers.

Graham ducked the question, refusing to answer for his and McCain's notable absence on the issue. "

Webb pointed out in March that "many more Republicans could vote for the bill if McCain endorsed it."

So McCain may single-handedly be torpedoing the chances of this bipartisan bill. So much for 'supporting the troops.' It's all a lie, folks.

Posted by: drindl | April 7, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

How can Senator Clinton's campaign make the case for experience and competence when she can't seem to manage her campaign organization and strategy?

It's amazing why after poor planning, sloppy execution, poor fund raising and as much post super Tuesday preparedness as Rumsfeld had for post invasion Iraq that the Senator has the audacity to claim the competence card.

For all his so-called inexperience Senator Obama has run a masterful campaign.

Posted by: dpberman | April 7, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

do you have anything else to do, svreader -- besides throw the election to republicans?

do you want a health care system that's even more broken than what we've already got?

"The debate continues: Joseph Rago of the Wall Street Journal argues that Sen. McCain "ought to welcome" Elizabeth Edwards' criticisms of his health care plan. As Edwards says, McCain lets insurers discriminate against people with costly diseases - ironically including McCain himself.

But Rago says that's okay for three reasons. First, Sen. McCain would create a government backstop for expensive cases. Sounds good, but the devil is in the details - and McCain aides are still "scrambling to come up with ways to satisfy those who want more coverage without violating what they call McCain's 'conservative principles'." I'm sure it's hard to create a new government backstop for millions while also "shrinking government's role in health care."

Second, Rago says the McCain plan lets people carry their coverage from job to job. But you can't keep coverage you never get, and the individual market is fundamentally broken for millions of people.

Finally, Rago says the McCain plan would lower costs. But by leaving millions uninsured, the McCain plan drives up costs by raising administrative costs and undermining preventive care and other efforts to keep costs down.

McCain wants more people to buy health coverage on their own, and his plan might work for families who are healthy and upper-income. But shouldn't health reform start with people who actually need help?"

Posted by: drindl | April 7, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

svreader -

Your proctologist called. He found your head!

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | April 7, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

The problem is that Obama is unelectable in a general election doesn't seem to bother his supporters.

His strategy has been to mouth vague platitudes while kicking Hillary below the belt using his supporters to do the dirty work.

That's not going to work against McCain.

Obama's lost mainstream democrats.

His supporters are destroying the Democratic Party.

Posted by: svreader | April 7, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Mark, if you're suggesting that Hillary is ultimately to blame for the debacle her campaign became, you're right, obviously.

But candiates have to leave most of the decision-making to the brains in their operations, and it became evident by late last year that there were some serious problems in Camp Clinton, and after Iowa, the public internal sniping made it clear that people inside the campaign were seeing what perceptive outside observers were seeing. Clinton's strategy was wrong from the beginning, and she and Penn refused to change direction. There's a really good G.W. Bush : Rumsfeld :: H. Clinton : Penn analogy to be made here.

Really looking forward to the game tonight. I have a .wav file of the rock chalk chant I keep annoying my cube neighbors with. But I've been predicting losses for KU at every step, so I'm not going to change now. My prediction: Memphis 71, KU 63. If so, I'll be happy for Memphis and for Calipari, who was an assistant at KU under Larry Brown way back when.

Posted by: novamatt | April 7, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

mark in austin writes
"Let us be very clear that PR flaks like Penn and Black and whoever BHO is using are not lawyers and they have no judicially enforceable Code of Ethics.

They view each client: HRC, Columbia; McC, Blackwater: as separate profit centers. They do not make policy. They sell their clients.

That is not a conflict of interest for them."


On the surface this is certainly true. In this case, however, there is at least circumstantial evidence that further followup might reveal interesting connections. Wasn't a week or so ago that the Columbian president made disparaging comments about Sen Obama for not supporting the Columbian trade agreement? Maybe it was 2 weeks ago. As it turns out, Sen Clinton shares the same view on the agreement, but the President of Columbia didn't criticize her in the same way he criticized Obama. Now, as it turns out, Columbia had hired the Clinton campaign's cheif strategist's firm to do their lobbying. Is this mere coincidence?

Posted by: bsimon | April 7, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Obama was for the war, before he was against it, before he was for it again, before he was against it again.

From "Commentary" --

Throughout his dramatic campaign to win his party's nomination for the presidency, Senator Barack Obama has tended to ignore the specifics of policy in favor of the generalities of emotion, centering his appeal to voters on vague promises of "change" and "unity." But on one issue, above all others, Obama has remained fixated from the campaign's first moment, and that is the war in Iraq. By Obama's own account, the consistency of his stand on this war demonstrates more than anything else that he, a one-term United States Senator who arrived in Washington in 2005 with no foreign-policy experience, after an uneventful eight-year stint in the Illinois state senate, possesses the wisdom, the clear-sightedness, and the judgment to assume the responsibilities of the nation's commander-in-chief.

Obama calls Iraq "the most important foreign-policy decision in a generation." By the word "decision," presumably, he means to refer at once to President Bush's decision to invade Iraq, Congress's decision to authorize that policy, and his own early decision to oppose any such action.

Indeed, Obama was not yet in the Senate, and the Senate had not yet voted to authorize the war, when, in a speech delivered in Chicago on October 2, 2002, he announced his view of the matter. Granting forthrightly that the Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein had "repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity," and that he "butchers his own people," Obama nevertheless held that, despite all these well-proven crimes, Saddam posed no "imminent and direct threat to the United States or to his neighbors." What is more, he added, "I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences."

Nine days later, the Senate passed its resolution granting George Bush the authority to use force to remove Saddam Hussein from power. In the Senate that day were four of Obama's rivals in this year's Democratic contest for the presidency--Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Christopher Dodd, and Joseph Biden--and all four voted in favor.1 A fifth rival, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, also spoke out in support of the war.

Alone among this year's major Democratic candidates, then, Obama can claim an unspotted record of opposition to American involvement in Iraq and even a kind of prescience as to the subsequent course of events there. In any account of his electoral success so far, this factor must weigh as heavily as his natural eloquence and his ingratiating personality.

But Obama's thoughts on the war in Iraq did not begin and end with that one speech in October 2002. In fact, an examination of both his statements and his Senate votes over the intervening years demonstrates something very different from the consistency that he and his supporters have claimed for him. It demonstrates instead a record of problematically ad-hoc judgments at best, calculatingly cynical judgments at worst. Even if, for the sake of argument, one were to stipulate that Barack Obama was right in 2002, what does this subsequent record say about his fitness to serve?

_____________

Almost as soon as the war began in March 2003, Obama had second thoughts about his opposition to it. Watching the dramatic footage of the toppling of Saddam's statue in Baghdad, and then the President's speech aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, "I began to suspect," he would write later in his autobiographical The Audacity of Hope (2006), "that I might have been wrong." And these second thoughts seem to have stayed with him throughout the entire first phase of the occupation following our initial combat victory. As he told the Chicago Tribune in July 2004, "There's not that much difference between my position and George Bush's position at this stage."

In November, having won election to the U.S. Senate, Obama once again confirmed his determination to stay the course in Iraq in an interview with PBS's Charlie Rose. "Once we go in, then we're committed," he said, adding:

[O]nce the decision was made, then we've got to do everything we can to stabilize the country, to make it successful, because we'll have too much at stake in the Middle East. And that's the position that I continue to take....

Posted by: svreader | April 7, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

John McCain continues his Bush-like delusional rosy view of Iraq, ignoring the grim realities:

"We are no longer staring into the abyss of defeat, and we can now look ahead to the genuine prospect of success," McCain said in a speech prepared for delivery Monday.

Despite the positive numbers he cited, 2007 - the year of the troop buildup - was the deadliest yet, and violence has resumed in Baghdad and soared in Basra."

Posted by: drindl | April 7, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Move-On doesn't have to run an ad. The Joint Chiefs of Staff and many of the top brass in the Pentagon are questioning Petreus' judgement themselves.

Posted by: drindl | April 7, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, mark -- I thought it was interesting in light of the Petreus/Crocker hearings coming up this week--what we all should be focusing on, because the outcome will affect not only the election, but our course forward in Iraq, which is very constrained due to lack of troops and equipment.

Sorry folks, had to paste the article in two pieces and repeated a graf.

"On the cheerful side, these flaks actually have no agenda of their own except successfully selling their clients' goods and services and policies to the buyers. "

Ah, indeed, Mark -- they are completely amoral. Their loyalty goes to the highest bidder -- and if that happens to be an enemy of the US -- that irrelevant to a lobbyist. They are true citizens of the world, you see. But as close advisors to Presidential canddiates, very very dangerous.

Posted by: drindl | April 7, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Too late for this to matter.

Clinton has run an extremely ugly and nasty, and peculiarly innefective campaign.

42 states have had their say. The race is practically speaking over.

And now she's getting rid of Rove, er, I mean Penn?

Shows some very bad decisionmaking.


Posted by: info23 | April 7, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Good article, drindl. Thanx. Gotta go.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 7, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

people, get beyond your pettiness and focus on the danger we're in -- the Petreus Doctrine Myth:

"WEST POINT, N.Y. -- When Gen. David Petraeus testifies before Congress on Tuesday, lawmakers from both parties will praise him for reducing violence in Iraq. President Bush will try to use his popularity to bolster support for the war. Some Republicans will muse about the general as a vice-presidential candidate.

Lt. Col. Gian Gentile, a history professor here who served two tours in Iraq, begs to differ. He argues that Gen. Petraeus's counterinsurgency tactics are getting too much credit for the improved situation in Iraq. Moreover, he argues, concentrating on such an approach is eroding the military's ability to wage large-scale conventional wars.

"We've come up with this false narrative, this incorrect explanation of what is going on in Iraq," he says. "We've come to see counterinsurgency as the solution to every problem and we're losing the ability to wage any other kind of war."

Col. Gentile is giving voice to an idea that previously few in the military dared mention: Perhaps the Petraeus doctrine isn't all it's cracked up to be. That's a big controversy within a military that has embraced counterinsurgency tactics as a path to victory in Iraq. The debate, sparked by a short essay written by Col. Gentile titled "Misreading the Surge," has been raging in military circles for months.

Lt. Col. Gian Gentile argues that the counterinsurgency strategy Gen. David Petraeus is pursuing in Iraq by isn't primarily responsible for reducing violence there and that the U.S. military's focus on such tactics is eroding its ability to wage large-scale conventional wars.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff have warned recently that the military's ability to fight another kind of conflict -- say a war with North Korea -- has eroded.

At a February hearing before the House Armed Services Committee, Gen. George Casey, the Army chief of staff, said troops have been unable to train for any other type of conflict because of the short time between deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gen. James Conway, the commandant of the Marine Corps, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that month that the focus on counterinsurgency means the Marines will "have to take extraordinary steps to retain the ability to serve as the nation's shock troops in major combat operations."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120753402909694027.html?mod=hpp_us_inside_today

Posted by: drindl | April 7, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

AYE

Posted by: austinbigboy2000 | April 7, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Let us be very clear that PR flaks like Penn and Black and whoever BHO is using are not lawyers and they have no judicially enforceable Code of Ethics.

They view each client: HRC, Columbia; McC, Blackwater: as separate profit centers. They do not make policy. They sell their clients.

That is not a conflict of interest for them.

The Agency run by the guy from LA and his wife flaks for Ds and Rs at the same time.

It may be hard to swallow, but as drindl says, if a pol uses a big time flak, the flak's agency represents someone who would embarrass the pol.

On the cheerful side, these flaks actually have no agenda of their own except successfully selling their clients' goods and services and policies to the buyers. :-)

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 7, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

You're right leichtman. I wonder of Move-on is going to run another of their ads.

I doubt it.

Posted by: JD | April 7, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Now we know what was on Hillary's mind when she told us in Missoula yesterday that "more twists and turns were ahead."

Montana's first expossure to the two candidates went well. Both spoke at the Mansfield Metcalf dinner in Butte. Obama spoke to a packed crowd of 9,000 at Adams Field House prior to his Butte visit and Hillary spoke to 1,500 at a meeting billed as a town hall meeting. It was really a speech in which she took about ten questions from the audience afterward.But both handled themselves well and made good first impressions.

Hillary got a little more help from Husband Bill who visited Havre, Great Falls and Helena last week. Billings is already grousing about why they the states largest city, didn't get a visit. If presidential candidates ever do come here, Billing has been the only stop. The local newspaper there pointed out quite correctly, that while Missoula may have the most Democrats, Billings is second in that regard, though Yellowstone county still leans center right. That is more national politics than Montana has had in ages. And it's still almost two months until our primary. Unless something radically changes, I expect we'll see a lot more of them as soon at the Oregon primary concludes in May.

Posted by: AlaninMissoula | April 7, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Isn't Patreas' tesimony tomorrow and how the candidates question him a bit more important to voters then all of this silly inside the beltway discussions?

Posted by: leichtman | April 7, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

The news reports say that Mark Penn wanted out rather than he was fired. It is a little hard to believe that that would be the case since he has already been releived by the Columbian government. If the Clinton's didn't fire him, the question remains why they still need his service in any form. If he was only asked to step down and perform his duties in some other capacity it is still bad for the campaign.

Mark Penn has already made more than $10 million from Hillary's campaign for the presidency. This is 30 times more than the money his company was given by the Columbian drug lords. Now the worst thing is Hillary is still going to depend on his and his companies services for polling results. Can't she continue her campaign without doing polling for every little thing. Maggie Williams statement that her campaign will still use him for polling results tells that either the campaign still owes him large sums of money, or this whole thing about him leaving on his own is just another lie from the Clinton campaign put forth for her followers to swallow. Either way it is too bitter to swallow.

Posted by: MaryHiggins1 | April 7, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for clarifying that Penn has only been demoted; he's not gone from the Clinton campaign. One inaccuracy in your article: Hillary did not win Texas. For the primaries/caucuses, the measure of winning is the delegate count. Some caucus states don't even report the popular vote.

Given that Penn and the Clintons have been best buds since 1996, it's safe to say that they're aware of his anti-union, anti-environment, anti-populist professional work. How could Hillary align herself so closely with someone who (ostensibly) is 180 out from her own positions? We know she lied about her efforts to promote NAFTA, so we can probably assume that she also supports the Colombian Free Trade Agreement that Penn is trying to push through Congress.

Birds of a feather flock together. More on Mark Penn: http://www.prwatch.org/node/6213

Posted by: bamccampbell | April 7, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

this has bad judgement and broken moral compass written all over it by both clinton and penn, which leads me off the ranch a bit in asking this...is there any truth to clinton being fired by general counsel jerry zeifman during nixon's impeachment?...and, if so, why is no one running with it?...

Posted by: jazzgrrrl25 | April 7, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I think this affair shows how very badly broken Washington is. These are supposedly the brightest and best and it never occurred to Mark Penn that there was something wrong in pushing a deal that his boss publicly opposed? He is a) stupid - which I don't believe b)HRC supports the deal in private but opposes it public - quite possible c)Washington has become tone deaf with regard to ethics and public responsibility- very likely.

Posted by: rds748 | April 7, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Condi wants to be VP?

"On ABC's This Week, Republican strategist Dan Senor said that Condoleezza Rice has been actively campaigning to be John McCain's pick for Vice President.

Speaking of possible Vice President options for McCain, Senor said, "Condi Rice is an option. Tom Ridge is an option. Although, I think he'd have problems at the convention. Mitt Romney is an option. Condoleezza Rice has been actively campaigning for this.

There's this ritual in Washington, The Americans for Tax Reform which is headed by Grover Norquist, holds a weekly meeting of conservative leaders, about 100 or 150 people--including reps from Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, Congressional leaders, etc. Ten days ago, they had an interesting visit from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice."

The Republican VP must be vetted by Grover [Anarchist] Norquist, and apparently Condi has the nod..

It's strikes me just how much the DC insiders are out of touch with the rest of the world when they even suggest Tom Ridge --those who remember him at all only think of him as the laughingstock/clown who gave us color-coded 'terror alerts' and Duct and Cover.

Posted by: drindl | April 7, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

peterdc: Obama really was a constitutional law professor; this has been confirmed by the school. (He was not on the tenure track, so his title was "senior lecturer", but that is a type of professor.) The only untruth there was when Hillary's campaign lied about Obama's background.

Posted by: Blarg | April 7, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

"Suspected Shiite militants lobbed rockets and mortar shells into the U.S.-protected Green Zone and a military base elsewhere in Baghdad on Sunday, killing three American troops and wounding 31, officials said."

This is NOT AL-QUEDA. This is SHIIITES, supposedly the US' allies in Iraq, remember? Now even the Shiites are penetrating the Green Zone and killing American troops. The security situtation is now worse than it was before the so-called 'surge.'

Posted by: drindl | April 7, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Well the Clinton haters are out in force again. It does get boring.

I am glad that Penn was smart enough to get out and not tar Hillary with his really stupid mistake. It was plain dumb.

But the reality is that this is not an issue that will hurt Hillary as she has been opposed to the treaty and will vote against it.

Repeating the story about the woman not getting health care is silly as is Obama's claim he was a constitutional law professor. Both untruths- who cares? Niether one of these mistruths will affect people in the long run.

The real issues are the economy and their plans for it- what they will do about Iraq-who has a better record in the Senate on working across the isle- who can do more on health care- and who understands better the levers of power in Washington. I think the answers to all these questions is Hillary Clinton. But these are the issues that the Obama folks should deal with if they want to make their case.

If you want to look at lapses in judgement i think we can point to things they have both done. Even Russert yesterday had to correct Senator Casey when he said Obama hasn't taken money from special interests or lobbyists. He has-Hillary has.

But the bottom line for me is that if you are looking at lapses in judgement I would think Obama's continued friendship and defense of his to Pastors, Wright and Meeks are much more serious. I would rather have an oil baron contribute to either of their campaigns than have people with the views and words and actions of these two Pastors be spiritual advisors and mentors to the next President.

I don't know who will win the nomination, and I want to support the Democratic nominee whoever that may be. But if it is Obama he will have to take the next step in disassociating himself from these two men and their divisive views if he wants to unite the party before he can attempt to unite the nation.

Posted by: peterdc | April 7, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Penn was a highly negative influence on Clinton -- I think she wold have run a much better campaign without him.

I think Black is a similarly corrosive influence on McCain, causing him to repeatedly mischaracterize and distort information coming out of Iraq -- like the idea that the Sunni al queda have some sort of ties with Iran, or that al-Sadr that had called a cease-fire in the recent Basra faceof, when in reality al-Maliki himself had backed down and gone to Iran seeking for them to broker a deal with al-Sadr, which they did.

Posted by: drindl | April 7, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

ask the average Pa voter what they think about Mark Penn and except for folks like truth obsessed with his name they would likely say who,what? People filling up their gas tanks or picking up their kids from day cae could care less.
And mark I always thpought that Kansas would be in the final 4 but was imprssed by Memphis who I am guessing will win tonight. Incidentally I don t know a single Clinton supporter that eer cared for Penn or his political judgment. Would love to see them bring in Paul Begala personally.

Posted by: leichtman | April 7, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

I am not sure whether Penn is to be blamed for the downfall of the Clinton campaign. Penn was only one of the many strategists she had. There were many including Bill who screwed up her campaign message. At this juncture Hillary's campaign does not have a single message they can fall back onto. The only message that has been consistently put forth by her campaign is the message of smearing the opponent and his message. That strategy is still in full force and is probably not going to change whether Mark Penn is in or out. That comes from Hillary's heart every time we have listened to her from day one (ie, when her husband was president). Those days everything was slated as 'right wing conspiracy'. So blaming the opponent for everything and taking credit for things that didn't happen (sniper fire), and making up stories (woman who lost healthcare) are all the different images of Hillary and not that of her campaign managers.

Posted by: MaryHiggins1 | April 7, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

The hypocrisy is way too thick on this one - The Clintons are hiding their support of ALL the free trade deals - hiding Hillary's old ties to Wal-Mart.


Ironically, Hillary's one piece of "experience" - being on the Board of Directors of a major corporation - is the one thing she wants to desperately hide.


WAIT the Clintons do not want you to think about this too much - do not think about all those free trade agreements - with all the special interest money the Clintons took over the decaded to push those argreements through.


Do not think about all the jobs lost, health care lost, families strained, towns depressed, Middle American slammed.


Middle America now looks more like Arkansas than it did before 1992. Thanks to the "genius" policy wonks the Clintons who were soooo much smarter than everyone else - how much of a joke can it be ???? So now they want to give us a third Clinton term??? What else in America is there left to sell out ??? Hasn't Hillary really already done enough damage ???

Posted by: Miata7 | April 7, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

This is a perfect example of the kind of conflict of interest issue that arises when candidates depend on lobbyists who cater to multi-national corporations and foreign governments. What does it say about whose interests this candidate will be serving?

It is time now for John McCain to also come clean -- to release his tax returns -- which he promised to do months ago -- to reveal his wife's investments with her $100 million dollar inheritance, and to explain his relationship with his own chief strategist, Charles Black:

Like Mark Penn, Black is a lobbyist for the mercernary org, Blackwater.

Black, whose ties with the Bush family go back to 1972, when he and Karl Rove were jockeying for control of the College Republicans in a campaign so dirty that George H.W. Bush, then head of the Republican National Committee, had to step in and sort matters out.

BKSH, the company Black founded. was representing Iraq exile Ahmed Chalabi as early as 1999 and continued doing so until the invasion of Iraq. An international con-man found guilty in absentia in Jordan for bank scams, Chalabi is most widely known for being the key pre-Iraq war intelligence propagandist who supplied skewed information to support the Pentagon's ultra-secretive Office of Special Plans and the now-discredited pre-war reporting of Judith Miller for the New York Times.

Then in the summer and fall of 2005, Lincoln Group, which had been tasked by the Pentagon with providing pro-US stories to Iraqi media, was subcontracting the work to BKSH, as the same time as BKSH was registered to represent the government of Iraq as its US lobbyist.

So you see Black was representing Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi exile/Iranian spy who fed us false information that was used to build a case for war with Iraq: then his company provided pro-US propaganda to Iraqi media, while at the same time, they were the lobbyists in the US for the government of Iraq.

Could you think of anyone who was more invested in starting this war, and continuing to pour more taxpayer money into it? No you can't, because Black is one of the dirtiest, most central players. His client roster also dates back to such paragons as the late Filipino President Ferdinand Marcos and several African dictators.

McCain's chief fundraiser, on the other hand is Tom Loeffler, a prominent lobbyist and former Texas congressman whose clients range from PhRMA to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

John McCain is the ultimate republican DC insider. If you want 4 more yeats of the same, you know where to get it.


Posted by: drindl | April 7, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I'm no expert, and this is just what I know from POTUS 08 radio and from Washington Week. As far as I understand the Texas results, Mul, 66% of the delegates were pledged by the primary vote, and 33% by the caucus.

Additionally, the primary pledged delegate amounts were apportioned not directly by population, but rather by the turnout per district of voters in the 2004 general election. In 2004, urban areas like Dallas, Houston, Austin, etc (the places where Obama won) all came out in larger numbers to support Kerry than did the rural and South Texas districts where Hillary won. So Obama acquired more delegates by virtue of where his votes came from, since Democrats in Hillary's districts shot themselves in the foot by voting Republican or simply not voting at all in 2004.

The caucus is evidently debatable in how much it should count, considering the Clintons threatened lawsuit if the caucus results were released the same night as the primary results (something I find very offensive, how she threatened lawsuits leading into elections in Texas and Nevada). This was not a secret though, that there would be a caucus in Texas as well as a primary. The Texas Two-Step they called it, it was campaigned for by both candidates. Their claim that the caucus was undemocratic seems ironic, since Bill Clinton himself needed the Texas caucus to win Texas in his primary way back when.

This time around though, Obama won the caucus handily, and might I add, IT WAS THE LARGEST CAUCUS IN AMERICAN HISTORY.

All things considered, Obama started the state 20 points down with only a few weeks to combat a candidate who began her political career there and had the best name recognition in the country. He finished very close in votes despite all the early voting and right-wing radio's calls for Republicans to go out and vote Hillary to keep the race from ending. He won the right districts, and his massive 'from-the-bottom-up" support overwhelmed the Texas caucus, putting him over the top. All in all, I'd say he ran Texas pretty successfully, and at worst I'd call it a draw.

Posted by: mdelbranson | April 7, 2008 7:57 AM | Report abuse

novamatt,

Are we sure Penn was the architect? HRC seems more comfortable, now that she is not "inevitable", but is her arc coincidental with the decline of Penn? In any case, she may be a better candidate than her campaign reflects.

KU and Memphis were easily the best teams UT faced this year. It should be a great game tonight. I will be pulling for our conference rivals. Rock chalk, Jayhawk!

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 7, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Here's the "jenius" of Penn: he had an historic candidate beloved by a vast majority of Democrats, and rather than go with the obvious, positive narrative, he strategized an incumbent/"experience" national coronation campaign (in the out party primary, no less) in an election cycle begging for an outsider, "change" candidate. Moron.

And he tried to sell this Frankenstein nightmare of a campaign with a cocktail of wedge politics and rhetorical untruths so toxic that half the Democratic Party now loathes the Clintons.

If politics were about results, Penn would be permanently unemployable.

Posted by: novamatt | April 7, 2008 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Keep dreaming Mul.
Clinton won't be winning the popular vote, and she certainly won't be winning the nomination.

HRC's tough and determined, but she clearly has not managed her campaign well. To have so much going for you, and to come up short. It must hurt.

Almost time to rally around Obama.

Posted by: agc | April 7, 2008 6:37 AM | Report abuse

I suppose this is technically accurate but misleading: "That ad ran in the lead-up to the March 4 Texas primary, which Clinton won." She won the primary but he won the caucuses held that day, and Barack walked away with more delegates after all the dust settled, so if you were trying to say "Hillary won Texas" to illustrate the efficacy of the 3 am ad, that is incorrect.

Posted by: bobscof | April 6, 2008 11:36 PM

So what you are saying is Clinton won the Texes primary?

Please you guys must have been raised by republicans or something. Hillary got the most votes that is probably how the supers are going to decide things. She needs to pick up about 1/2 million to snag the popular vote.


Posted by: mul | April 7, 2008 3:51 AM | Report abuse

As a Pennsylvania voter, this story makes my decision easier. From what I've seen, of the 3 remaining candidates, only Obama's campaign has been not endured mismanagement, has avoided staff purges, and has been financially sound. That sends a signal about judgment and attention to detail.

Posted by: Rivery | April 7, 2008 2:19 AM | Report abuse

Hasn't it already been proven that the Canadian/NAFTAgate came from the Clinton (and NOT the Obama) campaign? You cannot convince me that Clinton did not know of Penn's Columbia FTA visit and the reason for it as well! Don't be fooled - she knows EVERYTHING that goes on in her campaign...she has that Clinton habit of wanting 'plausible deniability'...no responsibility for anything - blame someone else. In the very slim chance that she doesn't know, well, she shouldn't be running for President then.

Posted by: ndolan622 | April 7, 2008 1:46 AM | Report abuse

Should add that I don't think there's any doubt that the race has tightened in PA. The Clinton folks admitted as much today.

Posted by: PDiddy | April 7, 2008 1:45 AM | Report abuse

Note of caution on polling (and I'm an Obama supporter):

Rasmussen (and a couple of others, including Survey USA) uses a flawed methodology, IMO. I wouldn't put much credence in those numbers. Rasmussen uses an automated calling mechanism and no live interviewers. As a result, the sample consists mostly of self-selected, opinionated, politically educated voters, not exactly representative of the general population.

Granted, some pollsters argue that the methodology is more sound since respondents would be more willing to give their opinions to a computer than a human being.

I don't fall in that camp.

And, I vote AYE on the svreader, Thinker, rat-the, etc. issue :-)

Posted by: PDiddy | April 7, 2008 1:43 AM | Report abuse

The fish rots from the head ...

Posted by: Martinedwinandersen | April 7, 2008 1:32 AM | Report abuse

Yet another top strategist fired - does not say much for Mrs Clinton's selection and management skills, God forbid she has to answer that phone call!

A good company depends on the hiring and management ability of the CEO!

Posted by: rhda | April 7, 2008 1:26 AM | Report abuse

Now, when will Hillary step down ? This is really becoming pathetic. Yes Clinton supporters... we all know that Hillary has every 'right' to stay on ... just NO good reason at all. What she is effectively saying Now is that she is willing to sacrifice the Democratic Party's chances in November to insure her leverage to petition for the VP slot. That's pretty Sleazy politicking Clinton supporters and you know damn well it is. What does that make YOU at this point?

Posted by: PulSamsara | April 7, 2008 1:25 AM | Report abuse

Remember when Hillary had this to say:

"Speaking about the Canada/Obama/Nafta flap, Clinton said, "If you come to Ohio and you go give speeches that are very critical of NAFTA? and then we find out that your chief economic adviser has gone to a foreign government and basically done the old wink-wink " "Don"t pay any attention, this is just political rhetoric" " I think that raises serious questions."

She went on to say, "I would ask you to look at this story and substitute my name for Sen. Obama"s name and see what you would do with this story? Just ask yourself [what you would do] if some of my advisers had been having private meetings with foreign governments."

Posted by: suekzoo1 | April 7, 2008 1:12 AM | Report abuse

So lemme get this straight...Clinton has been framing herself as the champion of the working class, of the rust belt unionists, and of everyone who has lost their jobs due to overseas outsourcing, and all the while her chief strategist is working on ways to get a new free trade agreement pushed through Congress?

Sounds like another day at the office for the Clinton campaign. Lie through her teeth to buddy up to those whose vote she needs, and all the while be sharpening the knife that she is going to plunge in their backs when she is done with them.

Bill Clinton is responsible for a good portion of the free trade agreements that this country is saddled with right now. Anyone expect Hillary to do differently?

Should she get elected, free trade will be one of her first major policy flip-flops.

Of course, Penn's exit may help keep Clinton from getting elected in the first place. Union folks in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and elsewhere can't be happy to hear that Clinton's minions are lobbying against them. How many percentage points is this going to cost Clinton in the upcoming contests?

And, wow, Clinton just got done embarrassing herself terribly with the Bosnia sniper fire fantasy, and now her chief strategist is dragged down for pushing free trade agreements that Clinton, at least for the duration of her campaign, opposes. This campaign seems singularly obsessed lately with shooting itself in the foot.

Posted by: blert | April 7, 2008 1:07 AM | Report abuse

SVreader: U are a moron and UR obsessive anti-Obama comments are mindless, sleazy garbage that has no place in political commentary. U lost any claim to free speech rights that U might have had because UR comments are 100 percent vicious, scurrilous, lying tabloid trash aimed at dimwits. Go back to your sponsor Rush Limbaugh -- and spout your garbage to his ditto-heads. LesG

Posted by: les_ca | April 7, 2008 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Hillary has proven once again that she has ths magnetism to surround herself with sleezeballs the likes of fugitive Norman Hsu, racist Geraldine Feraro, racist Shaheen, racist Bob Kerrey, racist Rendell, and unpatriotic Mark Penn who is working late at night to ship American jobs to Columbia. Not only that she has speech writers and advisors who help her tell war stories that are all lies.

Posted by: JohnMcCormick | April 7, 2008 1:02 AM | Report abuse

svreader...respectful of your opinion, i must say...enough, enough, enough...people may be appreciative of your opinion, but enough of the circumlocution and diatribes...no one wants to have to wade through pages of your thoughts and research to get to the crux of the matter...cut and paste the site, not the article...can you imagine the drudgery of all of us following your lead with tidbits and tirades ad nauseam?...less is more, baby.

Posted by: jazzgrrrl25 | April 7, 2008 1:01 AM | Report abuse

This is good news for me, now the other part of her team working against her, Wolfson, needs to go as well.

Posted by: lylepink | April 7, 2008 12:57 AM | Report abuse

When you claim in a campaign you oppose NAFTA that means you don't hire people who are working behind the scenes for so-called "free-trade," the nice word for slavery.
Penn resigning is not an embarrassment nor surprise to anyone, but Cillizza's telling of it certainly is. How he could completely avoid pointing out Hillary's obvious deceit is unacceptable journalism. Are we then to assume that everything said in a campaign doesn't count? Cillizza's framing is that Hillary is "showing she's still in control of her campaign." Talk about putting a shine on a toadstool. His post is an insult to the readers and to the Obama campaign, by suggesting everyone's a liar anyway so what does it matter? It matters.

Posted by: hrayovac | April 7, 2008 12:45 AM | Report abuse

APRIL 6: A Rasmussen poll shows a considerable tightening in the primary, with a tie between Clinton and Obama:

Hillary Clinton: 45%
Barack Obama: 45%
Undecided: 6%

Posted by: suekzoo1 | April 7, 2008 12:39 AM | Report abuse

svreader: Your humanity called and left a message expressing deep regret for having left you.

Posted by: BethesdaMD | April 7, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

svreader claim she/he/it is a jew. I wonder what kind of jew she/he/it is?

Posted by: jellybean1 | April 7, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

One last thing, svreader. I spend a great deal of time investigating the claims of the candidates, and while I don't believe any candidate is perfect, Sen. Obama has earned my respect.

The problem with you is your prejudices and your sources, which reinforce those prejudices.

I have traced several of your particular "sources" to the network of Radical Right blogs maintained by the same folks who describe Obama as Muslim, blacks as "apes," Muslims as "terrorists" and Obama as a "terrorist ape." Not a few of your sources also believe in UFO abductions and anal probes of hapless hillbillies.

You "sources" are run by and for flakes.

Posted by: rippermccord | April 7, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

"Freedom of speech is a basic right."

Not when it's libel, you moron. Have one of your Ivy League lawyers explain that to you.

Posted by: TheTruth | April 7, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

I fell sorry for svreader and other fans of FOX News. Despite their spins and their hate-based and fear-mongering campaign against Obama, their candidate, McCain, will have to face Obama this fall.

Posted by: Logan6 | April 6, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

All: svreader has been exposed as one of many sock puppets, intent on sowing discontent. Occasionally he/she/it forgets which handle is being used, and posts a pro-Obama message. Among other fibs, his whole family was wiped out in the Holocaust, he has hired and fired many Ivy League-schooled lawyers, and has an extensive set of contacts on Capitol Hill that feed him his "scoops." Oh yeah - he insists that the truth about Obama is soon to be revealed in a book coming out any day now, but there is no finding it on Amazon.

People have had him booted, but he keeps slipping back in.

Posted by: TheTruth | April 6, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

TheTruth --

You should really rename yourself "Pravda"

Your posts bear as much relation to "the truth" as their paper did.

The thug-like behavior of Obama supporters towards Clinton supporters will ensure that Obama willl never be elected to the Whitehouse.

This is America.

Freedom of speech is a basic right.

Posted by: svreader | April 6, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

When will someone call this campaign what it is --- inept and not ready.

Posted by: kwakuazar | April 6, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

ripper --

I only have one identity and you have no right to have it blocked.

i haven't' violated any Washington Post rules.

You, like far too many Obama supporters, act like you think this is the Soviet union.

It isn't.

This is America.

I have just as much right to post as you do.

I'm not Anti-American, Rev Wright is.

So are you, by trying to supress my right to express my opinion.


Posted by: svreader | April 6, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

All: svreader has been exposed as one of many sock puppets, intent on sowing discontent. Occasionally he/she/it forgets which handle is being used, and posts a pro-Obama message. Among other fibs, his whole family was wiped out in the Holocaust, he has hired and fired many Ivy League-schooled lawyers, and has an extensive set of contacts on Capitol Hill that feed him his "scoops." Oh yeah - he insists that the truth about Obama is soon to be revealed in a book coming out any day now, but there is no finding it on Amazon.

People have had him booted, but he keeps slipping back in.

Posted by: TheTruth | April 6, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

svreader,

I plan to do all I can to have you, in all your identities, blocked as a user of this site. Clearly, I don't have the time or inclination to resort to the extensive sliming you do. Nor do I visit or place any stock in the Republican Radical Right, anti-Obama, un-Christian, fear-mongering, racist web sites you seem to absorb verbatim.

If your days on this site are not numbered, so be it. I find no humor in your rants. You wallow in hate and appeal to the worst instincts of humanity.

Posted by: rippermccord | April 6, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

A Two-fer: Penn actually gets to stay with the campaign while pumping up Hillary's intended image of objecting to the Colombian lobbyist and the public thinks Penn is out. He's not out.

And the second one is a spin to make the public think the viciousness of Hillary's campaign against Obama was all Penn's idea.

Posted by: maggievanostrand | April 6, 2008 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Hillary and her team cannot be trusted. Publicly against free trade, privaetly for it. Phoney Bosnia sniper fire story, phoney hospital story, if I knew the what I know about the war, promoted NAFTA in Clinton Administration runs against it for nomination. Everything Hillary says is a lie. Only a fool would believe her and Bill.

Posted by: info4 | April 6, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse

"Why not find out as much as you can so you can make the best choice?"

Thank you. I have looked at your material, and realized that Obama is definitely the best choice.

Posted by: TheTruth | April 6, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

miracle --

What does Obama's stickng with Rev. Wright for 20 years say about his judgement?

That's far worse!!!

Posted by: svreader | April 6, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Seems Clinton found a way to knock the stories about her taxes off the front pages.

Penn takes a demotion for the team.

Posted by: egc52556 | April 6, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

That she hires people of such low-level integrity - AND stays loyal to them long past their flaws are obvious - does not speak highly of Mrs. Clinton's executive abilities.

(It's all far too Bush-like, actually, for comfort.)

Posted by: miraclestudies | April 6, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Ripper, Boutan --

Why not read it?

Look at Obama's actions, not just his words.

Look at how he's changed his positions over and over again.

This election will determine who our next President is.

Why not find out as much as you can so you can make the best choice?

Posted by: svreader | April 6, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

I suppose this is technically accurate but misleading: "That ad ran in the lead-up to the March 4 Texas primary, which Clinton won." She won the primary but he won the caucuses held that day, and Barack walked away with more delegates after all the dust settled, so if you were trying to say "Hillary won Texas" to illustrate the efficacy of the 3 am ad, that is incorrect.

Posted by: bobscof | April 6, 2008 11:36 PM | Report abuse

NAY

As an Obama fan, I believe svreader does Hillary far more harm than good with all his rantings.

I hope he posts them everywhere.

Keep it up svreader. Obama's campaign should add you to the payroll.

Posted by: Boutan | April 6, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

bigeugene- good point. An incomplete removal seems to tilt the balance towards option two: the campaign turning into a "who's running this show?" fiasco.

Posted by: bsimon | April 6, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Hard to see how Penn's departure helps. Yes, it takes heat off the Columbia issue. But if he's been as critical to the campaign as it seems, this is a bad time for a shake-up at the top. Two weeks to go in a must-win state in which they've been losing ground & the top guy is out the door - maybe fresh ideas are just what they need, and maybe the team won't coalesce around a new leader. Who can say?

Posted by: bsimon | April 6, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Way to kick off the petition, jac13.

Come on people. Let's get some more AYEs up here!

Posted by: rippermccord | April 6, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Is he really gone? I don't think so:

"After the events of the last few days, Mark Penn has asked to give up his role as Chief Strategist of the Clinton Campaign; Mark, and Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, Inc. will continue to provide polling and advice to the campaign."--Maggie Williams, Clinton Campaign Manager

So he's out as Chief Strategist, but his company, and HE will continue to poll/advice. So he lost a title but he's going nowhere.

More smoke and mirrors from this campaign.

REPORT IT CORRECTLY PLEASE

Posted by: bigeugene | April 6, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

AYE!!

Posted by: jac13 | April 6, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Fired by the Columbians is not enough ??? This is like getting shot from two directions.


Who is really at fault here?


I guess the hypocrisy was too thick for the Clintons - give me a break


Seriously Folks.

The Clintons were supposed to be super-smart policy wonks - they knew everything they were experts in everything. They are supposed to do everything right the first time. Trade deals are not supposed to need to be adjusted - they were supposed to safeguard everything from the beginning.


Posted by: Miata7 | April 6, 2008 11:14 PM | Report abuse

This change reeks of weekness. He was the reasonable one, compared to Ickes and Wolfson. Looking at the people around her does not given one a great deal of confidence in her leadership abilities.

Posted by: chuck.goodwin | April 6, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

POST YOUR "AYE" TO THE BUMP SVREADER PETITION!

A 3600-word screed requiring 8 page scrolls or more to bypass?

Cut n paste propaganda?

Uncivil discourse?

Name calling?

POST THE WORD "AYE" AND ONLY THAT WORD TO SIGNIFY YOUR AGREEMENT IN PETITIONING THE WAPO EDITORS TO REMOVE SVREADER AS A USER OF THIS SITE.

Posted by: rippermccord | April 6, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

From The NYT - Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton would both help restore America's global image, to which President Bush has done so much grievous harm. They are committed to changing America's role in the world, not just its image.

On the major issues, there is no real gulf separating the two. They promise an end to the war in Iraq, more equitable taxation, more effective government spending, more concern for social issues, a restoration of civil liberties and an end to the politics of division of George W. Bush and Karl Rove.

Mr. Obama has built an exciting campaign around the notion of change, but holds no monopoly on ideas that would repair the governing of America. Mrs. Clinton sometimes overstates the importance of résumé. Hearing her talk about the presidency, her policies and answers for America's big problems, we are hugely impressed by the depth of her knowledge, by the force of her intellect and by the breadth of, yes, her experience.

It is unfair, especially after seven years of Mr. Bush's inept leadership, but any Democrat will face tougher questioning about his or her fitness to be commander in chief. Mrs. Clinton has more than cleared that bar, using her years in the Senate well to immerse herself in national security issues, and has won the respect of world leaders and many in the American military. She would be a strong commander in chief.

Domestically, Mrs. Clinton has tackled complex policy issues, sometimes failing. She has shown a willingness to learn and change. Her current proposals on health insurance reflect a clear shift from her first, famously disastrous foray into the issue. She has learned that powerful interests cannot simply be left out of the meetings. She understands that all Americans must be covered -- but must be allowed to choose their coverage, including keeping their current plans. Mr. Obama may also be capable of tackling such issues, but we have not yet seen it. Voters have to judge candidates not just on the promise they hold, but also on the here and now.

The sense of possibility, of a generational shift, rouses Mr. Obama's audiences and not just through rhetorical flourishes. He shows voters that he understands how much they hunger for a break with the Bush years, for leadership and vision and true bipartisanship. We hunger for that, too. But we need more specifics to go with his amorphous promise of a new governing majority, a clearer sense of how he would govern.

The potential upside of a great Obama presidency is enticing, but this country faces huge problems, and will no doubt be facing more that we can't foresee. The next president needs to start immediately on challenges that will require concrete solutions, resolve, and the ability to make government work. Mrs. Clinton is more qualified, right now, to be president.

We opposed President Bush's decision to invade Iraq and we disagree with Mrs. Clinton's vote for the resolution on the use of force. That's not the issue now; it is how the war will be ended. Mrs. Clinton seems not only more aware than Mr. Obama of the consequences of withdrawal, but is already thinking through the diplomatic and military steps that will be required to contain Iraq's chaos after American troops leave.

On domestic policy, both candidates would turn the government onto roughly the same course -- shifting resources to help low-income and middle-class Americans, and broadening health coverage dramatically. Mrs. Clinton also has good ideas about fixing the dysfunction in Mr. Bush's No Child Left Behind education program.

Mr. Obama talks more about the damage Mr. Bush has done to civil liberties, the rule of law and the balance of powers. Mrs. Clinton is equally dedicated to those issues, and more prepared for the Herculean task of figuring out exactly where, how and how often the government's powers have been misused -- and what must now be done to set things right.

As strongly as we back her candidacy, we urge Mrs. Clinton to take the lead in changing the tone of the campaign. It is not good for the country, the Democratic Party or for Mrs. Clinton, who is often tagged as divisive, in part because of bitter feeling about her husband's administration and the so-called permanent campaign. (Indeed, Bill Clinton's overheated comments are feeding those resentments, and could do long-term damage to her candidacy if he continues this way.)

We know that she is capable of both uniting and leading. We saw her going town by town through New York in 2000, including places where Clinton-bashing was a popular sport. She won over skeptical voters and then delivered on her promises, and handily won re-election in 2006.

Her ideas, her comeback in New Hampshire and strong showing in Nevada, her new openness to explaining herself and not just her programs, and her abiding, powerful intellect show she is fully capable of doing just that. She is the best choice for the Democratic Party as it tries to regain the White House.

Posted by: svreader | April 6, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

So today Hill lost Penn.

With any luck, she'll also now lose Penn.

Posted by: thrapp | April 6, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

It might be too late to change anything but it's nice to see him go. HRC should have gotten rid of that misspeaking sack of shoot months ago. Hopefully this will be too much of a black mark on his record to allow him to go off and poison another campaign.

Posted by: judgeccrater | April 6, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

svreader (a misnomer if ever there was one, since you apparently read nothing except HRC campaign handouts and Hispana's posts)

This blog is about the CLINTON campaign and its disintegration. You could at least paste your endless bs posts when they have some relationship to the topic being discussed. What WILL you do after she drops out? Maybe go to work for some mortgage company foreclosing on people's houses or something like that?

Posted by: jac13 | April 6, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chris, I think you got a typo: aide for aside (I might be wrong)

Posted by: FairyTale1 | April 6, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

I think the main impact of the Penn resignation is that it's yet another in a series of "Bad News for Hillary" stories.

It makes it difficult for her to get traction and stay on-message, and sustains an image of a campaign on it's last legs.

Any departure of that high a profile would have to lead to some organizational chaos, too -- and just at the wrong time.

Methinks this is the beginning of the end.

Posted by: heartlandmoderategal | April 6, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

I've finished tucking my kids in to bed and polishing up the lessons I will present to my first graders tomorrow. I'm thinking how I've always taught my kids at home and at school that you can disagree with others respectfully. Unfortunately some on these blogs seem never to have learned these lessons and have made it impossible to have any healthy discussion or exchange of views. So I'm off to bed with a final comment to those who can't see that Hillary believed the hospital story because it rang so true. For those of you who insist on a source, you can find this on the Illinois Inspector General's website. Another lesson I teach my kids: do your own homework.

Maybe Obama supporters would rather Hillary use this story, reported by the Inspector General in Illinois about patient dumping and the University of Chicago Hospital where Michelle Obama works for over $300,000 a year:

The University of Chicago Hospitals (UCH), Illinois, agreed to pay $35,000 to resolve its liability for CMPs under the patient dumping statute. The OIG alleged that the hospital failed to accept an appropriate transfer of a 61-year-old male who presented to another emergency department with a complaint of flank pain. UCH had specialized capabilities not available at the transferring hospital and allegedly refused to accept transfer after learning that the patient did not have insurance. UCH then later agreed to accept transfer of the patient only if he provided proof of funds in a bank account. The patient was transferred to another hospital where he died.

Posted by: krogersmd | April 6, 2008 10:52 PM | Report abuse

This may be the penn-ultimate step towards returning integrity and transparency to the Democratic Party.

The last step will be when Barack Obama is the nominee.

Posted by: Martinedwinandersen | April 6, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Penn gone! That can only mean that Teller is not far behind, right? You can probably count the number of people on one hand that know Mark Penn for who he is and not confuse him with Sean Penn, Penn Jillette or William Penn. That aside, while I don't know a lot about the man, I somehow get the impression that he is one of those book smart but common sense dumb kind of people. I find it more than amusing that a person whose job(s) it was to create perceptions about his clients could not see that there might be a perception problem with his actions. Wow. I think four months ago this would have been good news. Now however, the timing makes it problematic in that it creates a bad perception of the Clinton campaign at a time when they can't afford to have one. Maybe they should hire Burson-Marsteller to help them with that.

Posted by: dave | April 6, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Penn is still working for Clinton. She demoted him, but didn't fire him. All of her organized labor support should withdraw now. She's a phony populist and her former chief strategist, now pollster and adviser, Mark Penn's clients Cinta, Blackwater, and the government of Colombia speak volumes about her ethics.

Posted by: johnsonc2 | April 6, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

svreader, stop copy/pasting the same garbage on ever website. We're tired of seeing your name, and just scroll down your posts. Bye bye, Penn, Patti Solis Doyle, Henry Marks, Linda Olson, Judr Rose. Let's remember too the 5 million Hillary had loan her campaign, the money she currently owes angry Ohio even businesses, the "sleep deprived" three-time "misspeak" on running from sniper fire...This ship is going down, baby.

Posted by: sallylinuslucy | April 6, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Will Mark Penn's removal from Hillary Clinton's campaign make a difference?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=2043

.

Posted by: f.fox1212 | April 6, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Direct quote from the debate on the political expediency of Obama's Iraq message:

Russert also inquired about inconsistent quotes by Obama about the Iraq war, leading to this exchange:

RUSSERT: You were not in the Senate in October of 2002. You did give a speech opposing the war. But Sen. Clinton's campaign will say since you've been a senator there's been no difference in your record. And other critics will say that you've not been a leader against the war, and they point to this: In July of '04, Barack Obama, "I'm not privy to Senate intelligence reports. What would I have done? I don't know," in terms of how you would have voted on the war. And then this: "There's not much of a difference between my position on Iraq and George Bush's position at this stage." That was July of '04. And this: "I think" there's "some room for disagreement in that initial decision to vote for authorization of the war." It doesn't seem that you are firmly wedded against the war, and that you left some wiggle room that, if you had been in the Senate, you may have voted for it.

OBAMA: Now, Tim, that first quote was made with an interview with a guy named Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" during the (2004 Democratic National) convention when we had a nominee for the presidency and a vice president, both of whom had voted for the war. And so it probably was the wrong time for me to be making a strong case against our party's nominees' decisions when it came to Iraq.

Posted by: krogersmd | April 6, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

To svreader:

Do you really think people read the moronic pro-clinton propaganda drivel that you keep spamming this website with? Jeeze!
You're certainly not convincing anyone to vote for her.

Posted by: sgtpepper23 | April 6, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse


Obama was for the war, before he was against it, before he was for it again, before he was against it yet again.

How long can he go on taking both sides of every issue???>

From "Commentary"


Throughout his dramatic campaign to win his party's nomination for the presidency, Senator Barack Obama has tended to ignore the specifics of policy in favor of the generalities of emotion, centering his appeal to voters on vague promises of "change" and "unity." But on one issue, above all others, Obama has remained fixated from the campaign's first moment, and that is the war in Iraq. By Obama's own account, the consistency of his stand on this war demonstrates more than anything else that he, a one-term United States Senator who arrived in Washington in 2005 with no foreign-policy experience, after an uneventful eight-year stint in the Illinois state senate, possesses the wisdom, the clear-sightedness, and the judgment to assume the responsibilities of the nation's commander-in-chief.

Obama calls Iraq "the most important foreign-policy decision in a generation." By the word "decision," presumably, he means to refer at once to President Bush's decision to invade Iraq, Congress's decision to authorize that policy, and his own early decision to oppose any such action.

Indeed, Obama was not yet in the Senate, and the Senate had not yet voted to authorize the war, when, in a speech delivered in Chicago on October 2, 2002, he announced his view of the matter. Granting forthrightly that the Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein had "repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity," and that he "butchers his own people," Obama nevertheless held that, despite all these well-proven crimes, Saddam posed no "imminent and direct threat to the United States or to his neighbors." What is more, he added, "I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences."

Nine days later, the Senate passed its resolution granting George Bush the authority to use force to remove Saddam Hussein from power. In the Senate that day were four of Obama's rivals in this year's Democratic contest for the presidency--Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Christopher Dodd, and Joseph Biden--and all four voted in favor.1 A fifth rival, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, also spoke out in support of the war.

Alone among this year's major Democratic candidates, then, Obama can claim an unspotted record of opposition to American involvement in Iraq and even a kind of prescience as to the subsequent course of events there. In any account of his electoral success so far, this factor must weigh as heavily as his natural eloquence and his ingratiating personality.

But Obama's thoughts on the war in Iraq did not begin and end with that one speech in October 2002. In fact, an examination of both his statements and his Senate votes over the intervening years demonstrates something very different from the consistency that he and his supporters have claimed for him. It demonstrates instead a record of problematically ad-hoc judgments at best, calculatingly cynical judgments at worst. Even if, for the sake of argument, one were to stipulate that Barack Obama was right in 2002, what does this subsequent record say about his fitness to serve?

_____________

Almost as soon as the war began in March 2003, Obama had second thoughts about his opposition to it. Watching the dramatic footage of the toppling of Saddam's statue in Baghdad, and then the President's speech aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, "I began to suspect," he would write later in his autobiographical The Audacity of Hope (2006), "that I might have been wrong." And these second thoughts seem to have stayed with him throughout the entire first phase of the occupation following our initial combat victory. As he told the Chicago Tribune in July 2004, "There's not that much difference between my position and George Bush's position at this stage."

This is hardly to say that he had suddenly metamorphosed into a hawk, let alone a supporter of the President's broader freedom agenda. Indeed, one would search long and hard for any words from this apostle of hope and change about the palpable benefits that democracy might bring to the Arabs and Muslims of the Middle East. Rather, he seems to have sensed a political weakness in his blanket opposition to a venture still enjoying broad support in the country, and one in which tens of thousands of American soldiers were risking their lives.

And so, in September 2004, in the heat of his campaign for the U.S. Senate, Obama said (according to an AP report) that even though Bush had "bungled his handling of the war," simply pulling out of Iraq "would make things worse." Therefore, he himself

would be willing to send more soldiers to Iraq if it is part of a strategy that the President and military leaders believe will stabilize the country and eventually allow America to withdraw.

"If that strategy made sense and would lead ultimately to the pullout of U.S. troops but in the short term required additional troop strength to protect those who are already on the ground, then that's something I would support," said Obama.

In November, having won election to the U.S. Senate, Obama once again confirmed his determination to stay the course in Iraq in an interview with PBS's Charlie Rose. "Once we go in, then we're committed," he said, adding:

[O]nce the decision was made, then we've got to do everything we can to stabilize the country, to make it successful, because we'll have too much at stake in the Middle East. And that's the position that I continue to take.
Indeed it was--for about a year. During that time, Obama delivered only one major speech on Iraq, in November 2005. At that point the situation on the ground was still very rocky and showing few if any signs of material improvement, and there was much talk of "exit strategies" in the air. But most liberal critics of the war (outside the rabid Left) were still not quite ready to cut and run. Accordingly, while reiterating that he had strongly opposed the Iraq war before it began, Obama also re-stated his belief that, having gone in, we had an obligation to "manage our exit in a responsible way--with the hope of leaving a stable foundation for the future, but at the very least taking care not to plunge the country into an even deeper and, perhaps, irreparable crisis."

How were we to accomplish that? The answer was: slowly but surely. In the months to come, Obama said, "we need to focus our attention on how to reduce the U.S. military footprint in Iraq. Notice that I say 'reduce,' and not 'fully withdraw.'" With a hint of greater specificity, he elaborated in January 2006 that "we have a role to play in stabilizing the country as Iraqis are getting their act together."

Presumably what Obama was referring to here was the strategy of training indigenous Iraqi forces to "stand up" so that we could "stand down." This was the same view of the military situation held by other critics of the Bush administration--and by the administration itself, which was in the process of trying to implement just that strategy.2 But as conditions in Iraq worsened over the course of 2006 and polls registered lower and lower levels of support for the President and the war--and as he himself was nearing a decision to run for the presidency--Obama's position shifted again, markedly so.

On October 22, 2006, Obama proclaimed the urgent necessity for "all the leadership in Washington to execute a serious change of course in Iraq." That change was decidedly not in the direction of stepping up our war effort by sending additional troops--a shift advocated by some conservative critics of administration policy and at that point being seriously considered by the White House and the Pentagon. Quite the contrary: the change Obama had in mind was to initiate, as quickly as possible, a "phased withdrawal" from Iraq. There was to be no more talk from him about leaving a "stabilized" situation. Nor, for Obama, was the issue debatable. His latest predictive judgment was that "We cannot, through putting in more troops or maintaining the presence that we have, expect that somehow the situation is going to improve."

_____________


On January 10, 2007, Bush announced the administration's change in strategy in Iraq, popularly dubbed the "surge." That very night, Obama declared he saw nothing in the plan that would "make a significant dent in the sectarian violence that's taking place there." A week later, he repeated the point emphatically: the surge strategy would "not prove to be one that changes the dynamics significantly." Later in the same month, he summed up in these words his impression of the hearings on the new strategy held by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: "What was striking to me, in listening to all the testimony that was provided, was the almost near-unanimity that the President's strategy will not work."

Whatever he was listening to, it could not have been "all the testimony." But the main point is that, within a mere matter of weeks, Obama had moved to align himself with the most extreme critics of the war. This re-positioning coincided with the announcement of his presidential candidacy on February 10, 2007. "It's time to start bringing our troops home," Obama said forcefully as he launched his run. "That's why I have a plan that will bring our combat troops home by March of 2008."

In May 2007, Obama did something he had never done previously: he voted in the Senate against funding for combat operations, claiming as a reason the fact that the bill included no timeline for troop withdrawal. As the campaign season intensified, his position hardened still more. In September, a mere three months after the final elements of the 30,000-strong surge forces had landed in Iraq, he declared that the moment had arrived to remove all of our combat troops "immediately." "Not in six months or one year--now."

By then, though, a fairly substantial drop in violence was already discernible in Iraq. Without exactly denying this fact, Obama insisted that it had nothing to do with the surge, a point he repeated incessantly during the early months of 2008. In a presidential debate in January, for example, he claimed the reduction in violence was due not to increased American military action but to the attention paid by Iraqi insurgents and al-Qaeda terrorists to the results of America's midterm elections in November 2006, when control of Congress passed to the Democrats:

Much of that violence has been reduced because there was an agreement with tribes in Anbar province, Sunni tribes, who started to see, after the Democrats were elected in 2006, you know what?--the Americans may be leaving soon. And we are going to be left very vulnerable to the Shiites. We should start negotiating now.
This was an astonishing statement on several counts. For one thing, the "Anbar Awakening"--in which Sunni tribes formerly allied with al Qaeda in Iraq turned on the foreign terrorists who had been making their lives a repressive hell--preceded the midterm election by several months. It had no connection with American electoral cycles and every connection with the brutality of al Qaeda (as internal al-Qaeda communications frankly conceded). For another thing, the prospect of a precipitous American retreat, far from helping along the chances of a negotiated political settlement between warring Iraqi factions, would almost certainly have created the opposite effect, reinvigorating the murderous hopes of the terrorist forces lately on the run and thereby undoing the Awakening altogether. Nor, incidentally, have those forces ever troubled themselves to discriminate between Sunni and Shiite in their frenzied determination to seize control. Finally, the sheikhs of Anbar have themselves testified to the crucially fortifying effect of the U.S. offensive against al Qaeda in Iraq, and there is no reason to doubt their word.

Obama's corkscrew logic would take an even more bizarre twist in February of this year when Tim Russert of NBC News asked him if, as President, he would reserve the right to go back into Iraq with sizable forces if the American withdrawal he advocated should end by introducing even greater mayhem. Previously Obama had asserted categorically that, on his watch, no permanent American bases would be left in Iraq and that the few American troops remaining there would have only a very limited mission: to protect our embassy and our diplomatic corps and to engage in counterterrorism. But in his answer to Russert he now broadened his options:

As commander-in-chief, I will always reserve the right to make sure that we are looking out for American interests. And if al Qaeda is forming a base in Iraq, then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad.
To wonted illogic this added both ignorance and disingenuousness. By his statement Obama may have intended to project a certain tough-mindedness in dealing with new threats, but as Senator John McCain pointed out in a devastating riposte, al Qaeda is already in Iraq. That is why its forces there are called "al Qaeda in Iraq" (or, to use the terrorist organization's own nomenclature, "al Qaeda in Meso-potamia"). What is more, if Obama had had his way in 2007, our troops would have been out of Iraq by March of this year, leaving it naked to its enemies. If we were to withdraw them in the early months of an Obama presidency, al Qaeda in Iraq could be counted on not only to form "a base" but to take over large swaths of the country. Having overseen such a withdrawal, and having thereby unraveled all the gains of the surge, Obama would face the prospect of ordering them to return under far more treacherous conditions of his own making.

_____________


To say that Senator Obama has not thought through the implications of his vertiginously shifting positions is to err on the side of charity; in fact they give every appearance of having been adopted without any systematic thought whatsoever. The same, unfortunately, can be said for the other main pillar of his position on Iraq. This is that the way to bring stability to that country is not by winning the war in the first place but rather by striking a "new compact in the region"--one that will include all of Iraq's neighbors, including Syria and Iran. Such a compact, he says, will "secure Iraq's borders, keep neighbors from meddling, isolate al Qaeda, and support Iraq's unity."

Never mind that Syria and Iran have spent the past years doing everything in their power to violate Iraq's borders, meddle in its affairs, arm and support the factions that have been killing Iraqis and American troops alike, and fracture its unity. To Obama, all this murderous activity is but the understandable reaction of frustrated governments to the policies of George Bush (and, although he does not say so, every single one of his predecessors going back decades). By contrast, if he himself were elected President, both Iran and Syria would utterly reverse direction.

Obama's unlimited faith in diplomacy as a means of resolving deep-seated differences among nation-states is not exclusive to the Middle East. When asked if, during the first year of his presidency, he would meet individually and without precondition with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea, he replied: "I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them . . . is ridiculous." So enamored is he of this pledge that he has re-stated it regularly in the course of the campaign. Whenever he is asked how he would address a thorny foreign-policy issue, he invokes the need for diplomacy--first, last, and always.

The columnist Charles Krauthammer once characterized this disposition as the "broken-telephone theory of international conflict"--i.e., the belief that if nations fail to get along, the fault is to be found in some misunderstanding, some misperception, some problem of communication that can be cleared up by "talking." In Obama's case, the syndrome is compounded by unfeigned confidence in the power of his own personal charm to bridge whatever differences may separate us from those who hate us.

Thus, when it comes specifically to Iraq and its implacably hostile neighbors, he refuses even to entertain the possibility that diplomacy might fail, or to consider what steps would be necessary should that in fact happen. Nor has he deigned to credit or even to notice the strenuous diplomatic efforts undertaken over the last eight years by the allegedly trigger-happy Bush administration to negotiate with Iran, North Korea, and others. Nor, finally, has he absorbed any useful lesson from the disillusioning outcomes of these efforts--let alone other, even more emollient efforts by our European allies and the United Nations. Such willful innocence, in a President, can be lethal.

_____________


It is perfectly legitimate to argue, as Senator Obama does, that the war to liberate Iraq was ill-conceived and has cost us much more than it has been worth. It is also perfectly legitimate to argue, as Senator McCain does, that the war was eminently worth waging but that the Bush administration massively mishandled the phase following the ousting of the Baathist regime.

It is another matter entirely to argue that because the decision to go to war was wrong, we should now simply withdraw and wash our hands of Iraq in hopes of starting over. There is no starting over in world affairs. We are where we are, and the next President will have to play, one can only hope wisely, the hand he will have been dealt. But by the same token, there is also no way of establishing that, had the decision in 2002 gone the other way--that is, Obama's way--today's security situation would be better for us than it has actually turned out to be, mistakes and all. Especially now, when our prospects in Iraq have greatly improved, indulging in such exercises of revisionist history is wholly fatuous.

In this connection, though, it is also no wonder that Obama describes the war in Iraq as "the most important foreign-policy decision in a generation." His formulation neatly focuses on the moment before American and allied troops went into battle in March 2003--a moment when Obama can claim to have seen, with perfect clarity, the entire subsequent unfolding of history. But quite aside from the fact that that moment came and went five years ago, the real question has to do with his vision in the meantime concerning the most important foreign-policy issue in our generation.

Unlike his presidential rival John McCain, an early and vocal and truly consistent critic of the Bush administration's counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, Obama, as we have seen, was opposed to doing anything about Iraq even when, like everyone else, he believed Saddam Hussein was a menace who was likely armed with weapons of mass destruction; became a supporter of the war after the fact and remained one even as things were going poorly; and morphed into an aggressive opponent again just as the prospects of an American victory began to brighten. If there is a consistency here, it would appear to be the consistency of one consistently divorced from the facts on the ground and, lately, almost hermetically sealed off from even the possibility of good news. In a politician admired for his supposed open-mindedness and his ready willingness to consider new evidence, this is, to say the least, striking.3

But perhaps a different kind of consistency is to be discerned in this maze. When Obama opposed the war in 2002, it was clearly in his political interest to do so; according to Dan Shomon, his campaign manager at the time, the key to Obama's chances in the Democratic race for the Senate nomination lay in his ability to rally the Left to his side.4 Then, in 2004, when the war was still supported by most Americans, he associated himself with the Bush occupation strategy. In 2005, as Iraq was becoming increasingly unpopular, he temporized by joining those saying we had to reduce but not withdraw our troop presence. By 2006, with the war's unpopularity deepening, he embraced a policy of full-scale withdrawal.

_____________


Having hitched his fortunes to this last position--i.e., that the war is lost and it is time for us to leave--he is in something of a predicament, having either to deny the clear evidence of progress in Iraq or to rewrite and revise his personal history. On the latter front, indeed, he has recently gone so far as to claim that when the surge was announced, he had "no doubt" that "if we place 30,000 more troops in there, then we would see an improvement in the security situation and we would see a reduction in the violence." In fact, as we have seen, he volubly argued just the opposite.

Like the rest of the story rehearsed here, what all this suggests is that Barack Obama does not represent an authentic new "brand" in American politics; rather, he has shown himself to be an exceptionally adept political animal who can adjust to the prevailing political winds with seamless ease. As the election season progresses, it remains to be seen what tortuously defended new positions will be embraced by this consistently political politician, and what price they will exact in his reputation as a principled and courageous new voice.

Posted by: svreader | April 6, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Penn was the perfect poster boy for Hillary's neocon values: union-busting, corporate greed and spinning Blackwater's slaughter of civilians into a positive light. The Limbaugh-Clinton campaign is finally dying its inevitable death.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1007/6219.html

Posted by: B2O2 | April 6, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

After the Penn story runs its course, maybe the press will clear up Hillary's little tale about the woman in Ohio who Hillary says was without health coverage, was denied hospital treatment and, as a result, died while pregnant.

The hospital in Ohio who treated the woman denies the truth of the story, refutes Hillary's claims and demands she stop spreading falsehoods about the hospital. The story was reported in yesterday's NYT and the Daily Kos.

So in the last three weeks we have had Hillary under sniper fire in Bosnia, the woman without health insurance in Ohio, her Saturday story in Oregon that she actually spoke out against the war in Iraq before Obama, and her Chief Strategist (Mark Penn) representing a foreign government. Thankfully CBS, the New York Times, Daily Kos, ABC News and other media sources have quickly debunked Hillary's tales and also shown some light on her staff's outside employment.

I hope the Super Delegates as well as the voters of Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Oregon, Montana and South Dakota are listening. Its time to put the lady out of her misery.

Posted by: NewEra | April 6, 2008 08:45 PM

Ahh pathetic post of the day.

Ohio hospital vs lies about preacher man - Nafta - War- Not showing up for MLKs birth day when he said he was going to talk about race in the US and many moooor.

Posted by: mul | April 6, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

I can assure everyone the normal voter will not know the name Mark Penn let alone care about the story.

Penn was correct about strength vs. nice. Good story on Realclear (us-news) on the fighters of the US scotch/Irish going for HRC big. Obama projects a kind of weakness (bowling) and any Women must be seen as hard to be C&C.

People were never going to accept a powerful women as 'nice' or cool in this country and that will not happen in any of our lifetimes.

Posted by: mul | April 6, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

He only kinda sorta resigned - he is still providing services - so he's not really gone - this is all smoke and mirrors!

Posted by: lettie1 | April 6, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

********************************************
********************************************
Quote:
"Mark, and Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, Inc. will continue to provide polling and advice to the campaign."

Memo to Pennsylvania: Mark is so outta here.

Posted by: txgall | April 6, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

I think looking at Mark Penn, that his face is a perfect match for his soul. The man is an ugly pig, both literally and figuratively.

I do apologize to all pigs. I meant no harm.

Posted by: queenskid | April 6, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

this story, coupled with the news that she has made up yet another tale on the campaign trail (the uninsured woman who lost her baby and then her own life because she didn't have $100 - no proven to have never happened) are really making things look bad for the clinton camp.

I think the only question left unresolved is whether or not she is willing to destroy Obama's chances in the general election...

Posted by: ssergio | April 6, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

SENATOR BARACK H. OBAMA'S CULT FOLLOWERS CONTINUES TO SPEW THEIR HATES. WHEN WILL THIS STOP? BLACKS NEED TO LEARN HOW TO LIVE WITH EVERYONE ELSE. PERIOD! THIS HATE SPEW PEOPLE ARE JUST FEW BLACKS APPLES BUT THEY ARE SURE GIVEN ALL OF US BAD NAMES

Posted by: barajo | April 6, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

CLINTON TAX RETURNS
UPDATE:
(April 6th, 2008)
TODAY: There is growing speculation that the tax returns that Clinton has tried so hard to hide from the voters will catch the publics eye tomorrow.
Bloggers are speculating about several large payments from with Middle East connections including $15,000,000+ for a failed Port deal with major national security implications.

Posted by: Just_the_Facts | April 6, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Good news for Clintons, should have sent him packing months ago. Word of advice: never trust or associate with a fat arrogant white guy. The worst kind of white guy.

Will not save Hillary but hey she still has Huma, not a bad consolation prize! For those of you who are hip to it (the Post and NYT refuse to cover the story), in the Stones movie Shine a Light, Huma is even by Hillary's side for the meet and greet with Mick and the boys. Now that is Satisfaction!

Posted by: merganser | April 6, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

She has been committed to her opposition to CAFTA. Mark Penn never impacted that. And when he mixed the campaign with business, action was taken.

That seems totally appropriate to me - I don't see what the big deal is.

From what I recall on the Obamam side, Goolsby never got fired and pulled the same thing. Hmmm....

Posted by: MAB2 | April 6, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

another example of Clinton mismanaging and exercising poor judgment and leadership. She does not deserve the opportunity to mislead and mismanage the country.

Posted by: trmasonic | April 6, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Firing Penn now is similar to the New York Knicks replacing Isiah Thomas as head coach tomorrow, it just doesn't make sense.

The season is more or less over, why not just let the guy have his dignity and remain in charge until the playoff starts? At that time all the losing teams go home and the big boys try to win the ultimate prize.

Posted by: elronhubbard | April 6, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Hillary's lack of ethics has widespread among her staff. The Clinton's campaign is now a nest of money and power driven liars and crooks.

Posted by: Logan6 | April 6, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

From "Head of State"
http://headofstate.blogspot.com/2008/04/mark-down.html

"Sunday, April 06, 2008
Mark Down

...but not out:

After the events of the last few days, Mark Penn has asked to give up his role as Chief Strategist of the Clinton Campaign; Mark, and Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, Inc. will continue to provide polling and advice to the campaign. Geoff Garin and Howard Wolfson will coordinate the campaign's strategic message team going forward.


Clinton campaign statement, via the Nation."

Cite:
Head of State
http://headofstate.blogspot.com/2008/04/mark-down.html

Posted by: robthewsoncamb | April 6, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Folks, pay no attention to post like the one from Deputy1964. These are not real Democrats or Hillary supporters. They are Limbaugh "Democrats" - Bush/Rove Republicans posing as Democrats and trying to sow discord in the Democratic Party. They pose as both Clinton and Obama supports, trashing the other candidate and make their own candidate's supporters look like idiots - all to the benefit of the Republicans. "Out" these people for what they are and unite as Democrats.

Posted by: nlefevre | April 6, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

keep your eye on their tax returns. this is a strategic diversion. penn was a zero compared to the 15+M per annum earned from the Dubai gang....

Posted by: alplows | April 6, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

EMPLOYMENT: Mark Penn

Previous employment:
10years+ operating a Magic Beanstalk
Specialize in providing beans to the American taxpayer on behalf of Hillary Clinton

References: Columbian Government

Posted by: Just_the_Facts | April 6, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

The health care story includes a video of the sheriff who told Clinton the story second-hand, seen by a friend yesterday.

When re-telling this, Clinton did not name the woman nor the hospital. Someone went to look at what precisely was behind that story. The woman did die within 2 weeks (as opposed to an Obama supporter's post on HuffPost that hinted she'd heard it was 2 years later, but the Obama supporter was wrong).

No one knows what the woman died from. Suddenly, her record is at once public and private.

Posted by: Andrys | April 6, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Folks, lets read careful what Ms Williams has been quoted as saying"

"After the events of the last few days, Mark Penn has asked to give up his role as Chief Strategist of the Clinton Campaign," Williams said. "Mark, and Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, Inc. will continue to provide polling and advice to the campaign."

I think this is shuffling for appearances. Penn will still be around and still have Senator Clinton's ear.

Senator Clinton needs to kick him out and lock him out. Otherwise her criticism of similar conflicts within the Obama campaign can NOT be believed.

Two-faced Clinton again


Posted by: pbarnett52 | April 6, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

this recent occurrence seems toagain call into question clintons judgement. her reliance on afirm doing business with columbia to tout a trade agreement antithetical to labors interests,seems to demonstrate an increasingly tin ear to what seems to be the concerns of a large portion of democratic constituents. kathy in sf.

Posted by: kmcksf | April 6, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

I think how they run your campaign gives a good idea how they would run your presidency. Would you hire Mark Penn to run your campaign? It says a lot that Hillary did. And the many reports are saying he is gone from the campaign. WRONG. He only lost his title. He is still going to be around.

Posted by: skisb | April 6, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

THE WORST THING THEY CAN SAY ABOUT OBAMA IS HE WAS RUDE TO AN EBAY SCALPER AFTER THE GUY STALKED HIM FOR WEEKS. THEY SAY OBAMA CAN'T BE THE PRESIDENT BECAUSE HE DIDN'T SMILE FOR THE PICTURE!!

THIS IS THE REPEATED POSTS ON POLITICAL NEWS FORUMS FROM CHIEF, OR WHATEVER HE SIGNS HIS NAME AS EACH TIME. OOOH THE SCANDAL, NO SMILING!! STOP IT'S GONNA MAKE HIM CONCEDE

Posted by: Just_the_Facts | April 6, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

For you people voting for Obama think about this...In simple terms.

Radical religious cults from other countries have vowed to destroy America (us) from the inside.

Although it is unlikely Obama is part of this ask yourselves..ARE WE WILLING TO TAKE THE CHANCE?? Read Obamas books and look at who he is associated with. Obama is UNELECTABLE and the repubs know this!!

Obama is a racist bigot, liar, drug user!!

As Americans who love our country and freedom, it's not a chance we should be willing to take.

Oh yeah, Obama sends a chill up my leg...A chill of fear!! We will unite as Americans and vote for Hillary!!! If not Mccain will be just fine!!

Posted by: deputy1964 | April 6, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

mikedow - If you originated "...putting Penn to the sword" you should contribute more often.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 6, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he is just getting out while the getting is good. One rat from a sinking ship.

Posted by: tdougan | April 6, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

After the Penn story runs its course, maybe the press will clear up Hillary's little tale about the woman in Ohio who Hillary says was without health coverage, was denied hospital treatment and, as a result, died while pregnant.

The hospital in Ohio who treated the woman denies the truth of the story, refutes Hillary's claims and demands she stop spreading falsehoods about the hospital. The story was reported in yesterday's NYT and the Daily Kos.

So in the last three weeks we have had Hillary under sniper fire in Bosnia, the woman without health insurance in Ohio, her Saturday story in Oregon that she actually spoke out against the war in Iraq before Obama, and her Chief Strategist (Mark Penn) representing a foreign government. Thankfully CBS, the New York Times, Daily Kos, ABC News and other media sources have quickly debunked Hillary's tales and also shown some light on her staff's outside employment.

I hope the Super Delegates as well as the voters of Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Oregon, Montana and South Dakota are listening. Its time to put the lady out of her misery.

Posted by: NewEra | April 6, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Better late than never I suppose. I admire loyalty, but there has to be a point where competency comes into play. GW Bush has never figured it out, (Heckuva job Brownie!) but I really though Senator Clinton would.

When i consider that this story broke on Monday, and the Colombian government fired him before he decided to step down, I wonder about her ability to separate herself from individuals who are damaging her campaign. She can't get rid of Bill, but firing Penn shouldn't have taken this long.

Posted by: corridorg4 | April 6, 2008 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm...seems like Hillary's "Ready Day One" A Team continues to fall apart...she has had to replace her top two picks for leading her campaign...it looks like her selection skills need some improvement...

certainly will NOT be ready day one!

Posted by: mcdcl2 | April 6, 2008 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm...seems like Hillary's "Ready Day One" A Team continues to fall apart...she has had to replace her top two picks for leading her campaign...it looks like her selection skills need some improvement...

certainly will NOT be ready day one!

Posted by: mcdcl2 | April 6, 2008 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Of all the horrible things the Clinton campaign has done, this scandal does not even rank in the top ten. America owes a debt of gratitude to the labor movement for putting Penn to the sword.

Posted by: mikedow | April 6, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Hard to see how this isn't way too late to help, Penn and Wolfson have done so much damage opening their mouths in the last six months, and this kind of 'we're saying one thing and making deals another way' image is going to cling to Clinton whether she had a thing to do with it or not.

Posted by: KPinSEA | April 6, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness. Here is the move that will finally put Hillary over the top. Senator Obama and his supporters are quaking in their boots.

Seriously, though ... this move should cut posts to this message board in half, since Clinton supporters who sounded off were parroting Penn's PR garbage.

Posted by: TheTruth | April 6, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

The winner is Mark Penn, he pocketed almost 10% of Hilary's campaign money (10m) offering mediocre and outdated strategies based on his flawed theory that there is no longer a US of A. In his book Penn delves into the ever-splintering societal subsets with which Americans are increasingly identifying, and what they mean.

This was the strategy behind his campaign to split everyone on some subset and deliver little tailor made messages or pit one group against another, divide and conquer. The sad thing is Hilary must have bought into it to hire him as chief strategist, pay him 10 million and keep him until he took himself out when he started loosing other clients such as Colombia gov.

Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes (Hardcover)
by Mark Penn (Author), E. Kinney Zalesne (Author)

http://www.amazon.com/Microtrends-Forces-Behind-Tomorrows-Changes/dp/0446580961

Posted by: FebM | April 6, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Sources say that the Clintons were angry to learn about Penn's work, especially since they had been told that Penn had recused himself from controversial clients and would restrict his private work.

The Colombia trade controversy was not the first time that a client of Penn's irritated the Clinton campaign.

The work a Burson Marsteller subsidiary did for controversial war contractor Blackwater, and Penn's work for the union-busting corporation Cintas were other clients with whom the Clinton campaign didn't appreciate having its name associated.

Penn and Goolsbee...It's just like Obama's advosor's little aside to Canada......don't take it seriously, it's just campaign rhetoric.

What do these people believe in, again?

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 6, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Sheesh. This is just the kind of thing one would expect veterans to avoid. --What could Penn have been thinking?

And what was Hillary thinking by repeating the "Ohio hospital" story again and again before checking it for accuracy?

This is the "experienced" candidate?

Posted by: max | April 6, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

You asked about fallout:

As a Clinton supporter, I think this is great. I was never fully convinced of Penn's value in the organization - I felt others were adding more value. I am not sure how other's feel, but I would guess there are certainly more out there who feel like I do. I thnk it is great to see the organization re-aligning to make it the best it can be. As a manager myself, I know how important it is to be flexible and make hard people decisions. Good organizations can never remain static if they want to succeed.

Posted by: MAB2 | April 6, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

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