April 6th, 2008
04:30 PM ET
4 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. Debra2

    No thank you. I will not leave any comment because you are censoring in order to help Barack Obama!

    April 6, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  2. Andrea, Pensacola FL

    This is a HUGE problem for the Clinton campaign!

    Wow, I want to see CNN cover this story in full all next week!

    April 6, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  3. BTW

    Oops. That's what I get for giving Rendell the benefit of the doubt, I guess. But I don't live in PA, so ...

    For nsamata and others: why do Obama-bashers suddenly need an excuse to rake him over the coals? If he comes on TV to try to persuade us that we should pay more attention to the Electoral College - which plays ZERO role in the primaries - than to delegates or the popular vote, I promise I'll join you!

    April 6, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  4. Sarah

    I think if people took the time to check out more of Hillary 's tales they would more than likely turn out to be lies. I listen to her on Fiday say that when she received the news of Dr. King's death she was so upset that she flung her bookbag across the room. I find it hard to believe that she could remember doing that 40 years ago and 12 years ago she can't remember that she was not dodging sniper bullets in Bosnia.

    April 6, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Bill From Fl.

    ABSOLUTLEY PENN SHOULD BE FIRED>

    LISTEN TO RENDELL

    Hillary is going to win and she dosen't need Penn hanging around her neck

    April 6, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. mike d.

    Fire them both already.

    April 6, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. Marie,San Diego

    The campaign cannot fire him. He knows a lot of damaging information about the Clintons . Besides, it' s too late now to do this major change. It is unfortunate that the Clinton hired this guy which could cost HRC nomination. This issue will definitely add to HRC questionable judgement. There are a lot of minor things that this Penn guy neglected to take care such as those controversial ads and those small vendors who are still waiting to get paid.

    April 6, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  8. eric barthel

    OBAMA AS PRESIDENT CASEY FOR VP 20008

    April 6, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  9. What Really Happend

    Oh, she can just go on Jay Leno and make a joke about it and everything will be ok right?

    Obama 08

    April 6, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  10. Larry from LA

    Rendell is the one with no credibility. He is Hillary's puppet and just looking for a cabinet position and will do what ever it takes.

    April 6, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  11. Heidi

    This shouldn't suprise anyone. Hillary will do and say whatever it takes to win the election. Remember America, we owe it to her

    April 6, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  12. maria

    with friends like this she doesn't need enemies !!!! thanks S. Rendell

    April 6, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  13. Sharon Minnesota

    Again, all I can say are the haters/slanderers from the Obama camp are at it again.

    April 6, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  14. James

    Governor Rendell went on Fox News a few days back and praised them for being the most fair and balanced network, especially with regard to Senator Clinton. I wonder what his response is to the attack by Ann Coulter, who suggested Hillary would enjoy waterboarding prisoners, because she has that look in her eye...? Now the Governor is saying that Mr. Penn should go – why isn't Senator Clinton leading this charge, and why is Rendell seemingly so inconsistent?

    April 6, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  15. David, Bala Cynwyd, PA

    This is just another example of the systemic problem with truth-tellling and trust with Hillary Clinton. The Clintons have a record on honesty and it is clear. This is the reason her negatives are so high. Ed Rendell, Lanny Davis, Jim Carville, Ann Lewis, Bob Johnson are all surrogates attempting to speak for a materially flawed candidate. The United States voter understands this as does any jury or finder of fact. If they don't believe the messenger, they reject the message.

    Obama is winning because he is understated, truthful and his message is resonating. Hillary and her surrogates are just taking shots at Obama. That's not a meaningful campaign for a previously inevitable nominee. Rendell & Penn ought to get together and support Hillary to end her campaign and unite the party. The stakes are too high for more Clinton drama.

    April 6, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  16. gman

    So PA when are going to put aside your fear of change and vote for the future. If not for you...then your children. Time and time again, Clinton has demonstrated she's not ready to lead this country. Just think about one thing: How has she managed the single most important thing in her life...her campaign tobe President of the United States of America. From the mismanagement of funds (excessive spending and not paying bills), poor judgement in advisers (Penn), her misspeak on subjects (Bosnia and young lady dying), to saying two different things on important issues that effect our everyday lives (the vote to go to war without reading the proposed bill). Now just stop and ask yourself, is this how she will run the country? If you don't think it's representative, then by all means vote for her 22 Apr. But if you say "I'm not sure"...then you need to consider now may be the time for change. Rememebr she said this was a job interview...and knowing what you know now...would you hire her? If so, then that's fine, but if not, let's move on.

    April 6, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  17. Stacy Clarks

    I cannot believe the Hillary supporters trying to spin this

    Do you want someone like this on your candidate's campaign!?!

    are you seriously trying to tell me you want a presidents that will tell you to your face one thing, and hire someone that supports the opposite?!?!

    have we lost sight of what is at steak here?!?!?!

    OBAMA 08!!!!!!!

    April 6, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  18. Ohio

    I read last week Penn made a comment that his visit was a
    "LACK of JUDGEMENT".

    Now I know the Clinton Campaign is banking on the American people to be idiots, but Penn is one of Hillary's SENIOR LEVEL AIDES who had a "LACK of JUDGEMENT".

    The Senior Level aides are those person's who advise the president what they should or should not do.... has the light bulb went off yet!!!!!!

    April 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  19. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    I watched Governor Rendell on Meet the Press and was somewhat amused when he talked about the generosity of the Clinton's who contributed more than ten percent of their earnings to charity. I was amused, but not impressed. How many Americans give far beyond 10 percent to charities and are left with only enough to live on. For the Clinton's to give 10 percent and are left with "Millions" to live on isn't very magnificent. I ask Christians to think about the parable, the "Widow's mite."

    Think about it!

    April 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  20. Jan

    Why do always the Obama supportors think they are gaining ground,

    when their own canidate Lies more than anyone. I agree black is
    beautiful, but get a grip people he will ruin America.

    HE and his wife are anti American.

    With all the faults of Hillary, I would rather have a so called lair, than
    a supporter of Rev. Wright. Are you glueless to think Obama dosen't
    agree with Wright. Tell another big fat one OBAMA

    April 6, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. Jack

    OBAMA should be FIRED by the American people for lying to us: he's telling us one thing about NAFTA and withdrawing troops from Iraq, but his advisors are telling reporters that he means the opposite.....

    More and more, Obama is resembling a typical Washington politician

    April 6, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. gary mitchell

    No please keep him on the campaign and put him front and center. In her race against Senator Obama, HRC is the symbol of the problem with our government and that is the unfettered access of national and foreign special interests to our elected officials. Our experiment in Democracy put forward by Adams, Jefferson, et al will fail if this current climate is not altered and control of our national agenda returned to the people.

    April 6, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  23. Hispanics now for Obama

    CNN can you report about the story of Hillary pursuing Obama's ND pledged delegates. She is begging them to switch to her, and that is hypocrisy! VOTER DISENFRANCHISEMENT!!!!!

    April 6, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  24. MP-Pennsylvania

    nsamata,
    too bad that your candidate and her campaign does things that SHOULD GET here. I am sorry I don't believe CNN biased for Obama. Only 2% of my statements are posted. They all with facts about Clintons and Obama.

    April 6, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  25. Marion, MA

    This is just the primaries. Imagine all the lies and underhandedness in the general, and then the presidency.

    The Clinton camp is bad news.

    As for Rendell, I don't like anyone who talks in code, i.e. "White people won't vote for a black man". That's like saying "Don't think about the pink elephant sitting next to you". Sorry Rendell, it won't work.

    April 6, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
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