April 6th, 2008
04:30 PM ET
8 years ago

Rendell criticizes Penn, hints he should be fired

 Rendell, left, criticized Penn Sunday over his meeting with the Colombian government.

Rendell, left, criticized Penn Sunday over his meeting with the Colombian government.

(CNN) - A key backer of Hillary Clinton's White House bid gave her top strategist Mark Penn a less than ringing endorsement Sunday, following news Penn had met with the Colombian ambassador to promote a free trade agreement the New York senator opposes.

Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell didn't exactly give the longtime Clinton pollster a vote of confidence.

Asked directly if the campaign should cut ties with Penn, Rendell said, "Well there are a lot of issues in which you can raise that question."

"Yeah, I think you've got to make it very clear for someone who is a consultant, who you are representing and who you are not representing and I would hope that Mr. Penn when he talked to the Colombians made that clear," Rendell also said. "And it doesn't sound to me like he did and that's something the campaign should take into question."

Late last week it was reported by the Wall Street Journal that Penn had met with the Colombian ambassador on Monday to promote a free trade agreement that Hillary Clinton has sharply criticized on the campaign trail. Penn's P.R. firm Burson-Marsteller had a contract with Colombia to promote the agreement, though a spokesman for Colombia's president told the paper he didn't know if Penn was representing Clinton or his P.R. firm in the meeting.

On Friday, Penn said he was acting in his role as CEO of Burson-Marsteller and called the meeting a "error in judgment." Upset with that characterization, the Colombian government cut ties with Penn's firm on Saturday.

Filed under: Ed Rendell • Hillary Clinton • Mark Penn
soundoff (275 Responses)
  1. Kim in Pa

    I hope to see this get a lot more coverage, especially if she continues to pay him. It will then be painfully obvious that she is lying about opposing NAFTA/CAFTA. Hopefully PA voters are paying attention....

    April 6, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  2. Terry Williams

    The things people say about Rendell can very easily be said about John Kerry, Bill Richardson, Ted Kennedy, Dick Durbin, etc. THey all want cabinet positions and are also puppets of Obama.

    April 6, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. Gary in Toronto

    No wonder Hillary is having trouble raising money. How does it feel Clinton donors to know that 2-3 million worth of your money has gone to Mark Penn?

    April 6, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  4. FNJ in PA


    April 6, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  5. Mr DE

    Mark – PA April 6th, 2008 2:37 pm ET

    "Ed Rendell is a crook. He is in bed with the Clintons, and appears with them on numerous videos, including the Peter Paul affair – check out the videos on youtube. He has campaigned a few times to be VP on somebody's ticket – it was on KYW here in PA. He is bought and paid for by the Clintons, and is not credible."

    I respect your comment but I dont think I beleive a word you said.

    April 6, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  6. Ardnuas

    These are the TYPES of people that WILL follow the Clintons to the White House... remember " renting out the Lincoln bedroom"?
    Obama/Edwards08 Si Se Puede

    April 6, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  7. Ardnuas

    I really hoped the voters send George Bush AND the Clintons HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Obama/Edwards08 Si Se Puede

    April 6, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. Peter

    Drop Penn

    April 6, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  9. Mike




    April 6, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  10. Jen DFW

    Obama has money coming in from lobbiest too. If you believe he doesn't then you are believe the TRUE LIES.

    It happens in both campaigns

    The difference is Clinton is fighting the media as well as the Obama campaign attachs as well as him out spending her and I must say to have those two against her she is holding her own.

    SO with that said he cannot win in Nov. without her. As she can't win without him


    April 6, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  11. Brian

    Maybe Hillary should be fired for wasting our time!

    April 6, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  12. MurphyMorseJohnson

    Here's another huge blow to the Democratic Party's chances of winning the Presidency–courtesy again of Hillary and Billary. Their misstatements and lack of control over their advisers are either the result of bold-faced lying, bold-faced incompetence and inexperience, or a combination of both.

    May we wean ourselves once and for all of the Bush-Clinton Dynasty!

    April 6, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  13. Ed

    This Obama Clinton stuff is getting stupid.

    April 6, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  14. J.Onofre -CA

    Here we go again. First it was the James Bond like action that never took place in Bosnia. Now there are more lies to come from Clinton with no end in sight.

    She chaired pushing the NAFTA deal as evidenced through video clips and her tax returns. She preaches she is better but there is nothing better about more of the same and this display of double speak is too loud to ignore.

    Now that she is running for president she'll say and do whatever it takes to get elected. I'll never believe her again.

    April 6, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  15. Henry

    Penn is just calculating like his Boss and call it quit before this ship sink or hit an iceberg, how clever!

    April 6, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  16. Jared

    This is one of the reasons why Pennsylvania is getting closer to the Obama side.

    April 6, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  17. Texas

    nsmata – check out FOX news....for all your reasons to bash Obama.

    April 6, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  18. Michael, Ms

    All I can say when your own top people are doing shady deals behind your back its time to step back. All I been hearing from Hillary is Obama is unexperience and can't run the country, well from what I see she can't run or trust anyone in her campaign. To be honest I taught Mark Penn would be gone a long time ago when Hillary saw that after Super Tuesday no plans had been made and started dropping state after state. Hillary is out for Hillary and Penn is out for Penn problem with Penn is he got caught wonder if Hillary will be also.

    April 6, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  19. reed

    predicts more twists and turn or more lie

    April 6, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  20. Ex-Hillary supporter

    I only hope the people in Pennsylvia are smarter than Clinton and Rendell give them credit for and recognise her distasteful campaign for what it is, totally lacking in integrity.
    Penn should be fired and she should return the huge chunks of funding she has received from the health care industries, if she truly intends to bring about much needed reform there.

    April 6, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  21. Bill from NYC

    Has anyone done any research on Mr Pen and his ties to Burson Marsteller? CNN, can you do some digging in on him and his company as I do remember some fishy stuff about them and what they do.

    April 6, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  22. joe

    This guy is ever on news after tx and Ohio. I wonder why!

    April 6, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  23. Chuck from Pa

    Ed Rendell has been losing credibility in Pa for quite some time. He consistently sends all taxpayers money to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and to hell with the rest of the state. He is Hillary's puppy dog and is looking for a cushy job in the administration.

    April 6, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  24. richie

    How come Hillary can not quit for the sake of the party and the country?

    April 6, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  25. clinton

    another example of special interests. Why are people voting for her?

    April 6, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
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