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. Independent

    Rendell's he is onther lobbyist like clinton's,wakeup PA.

    April 6, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  2. Connie, WA

    I think all this talk about Hillary, the lies, Penn, Rendell, etc., is doing just what she wants us to do. Stay away from the real issues, so she can run in 2012. This is only helping McCain.

    I'm getting off this blog and sending Barack some more money.

    Obama 08

    Don't let Hillary hijack the election.

    April 6, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. Lynn D

    I agree. Mr. Penn should be fired. He did something wrong not once but several times. Senator Clinton: Please get rid of Mr. Penn. You need to hire someone who has your best interests in mind. Oh, and CNN: Senator Clinton is not responsible for something dumb done by someone on her campaign staff. She was very unhappy with Mr. Penn. Why do we never see any negative stories about Senator Obama? Senator Obama is not perfect. He has done and said dumb things that deserve to be addressed. Please don't be so bias. You will need us to continue watching your channel after the election. Alot of your viewers do not back Senator Obama. We back Senator Clinton. Don't you want us to be loyal CNN viewers too?

    April 6, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  4. Erin

    Why wasn't this mentioned on Ballot Bowl? This needs to be part of your programming. If it was an Obama campaign member, your network would be all over this. Play fair CNN!

    April 6, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. Vote Obama

    Of course Hillary knew about this- according to her own claim she's fighter, would soemone that tough not be aware of what someone that works for was doing, whether on her behalf or not! She selected him to work for her so what does that say about her judgement?

    There is documentation that HIllary did not only support NAFTA she strongly supported it and oushed for it so why would anyone be so surprised at hearing that one of her staff people was working with the Columbians behind the scenes!

    April 6, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  6. Independent

    Clinton's I have a good advise for you. you have good skills,like acting
    perfect match on you monster in law.

    April 6, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  7. VOTER FOR TRUTH AND DIGNITY IN AMERICA

    "Rendall" who, I think, has been promised the job as "Secretary
    of Energy" by Hilllary, is acting like he has the job already.!!!!
    Penn, Rendall, what does it matter, they stand behind Hillary
    who does not render "Truth in Politics.......something that Amercan
    craves (truth). Wonder Why???????????
    Retired Professional White Woman for Obama from Day 1.

    April 6, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  8. Jack Filmer

    BTW, Ed Rendell is a typical politician, who will do whatever it takes to win. He went on Fox and said Fox the "most objective and balanced" coverage. Based on these traits, he is a very nice running mate for Hillary. I think they will be both get along just fine.

    April 6, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  9. Dr Feel Good

    How do you fire a volunteer? The man made it clear he was doing his job and not acting on behalf of anyone. The witchhunt has begun and they haven't won the presidency yet.

    April 6, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  10. Ronald

    Rendell must know that Penn has some ties which will expose him (Rendell) as the crook he is! Rendell is one of the most corrupt politicians in the Democratic party . . . right up there with the lying Clintons. Birds of a feather . . ..

    April 6, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  11. Alice

    CNN reported the Columbia story but -to my knowledge-has not really analyzed it.

    Penn will probably not leave the campaign. Business as usual.

    April 6, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. brandon

    as an obama supporter, i don't feel this is a big deal. likewise, the rev. wright issue was a minor issue, but that got played nonstop on every news channel for weeks. the samantha powers story wasn't a big deal, but hillary was quick to bash obama on it. it's just too bad that the obama campaign is making a legitimate attempt to be honest, transparent, and run a new kind of race, while the clinton campaign makes the same claim, with no real substance behind it.

    April 6, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  13. S. Coffman

    Hillary Clinton claims she is experienced and ready on Day one. Yet her campaign has had countless troubles., She has a lobbyist as a top campaign aid, who is actually actively lobbying with a foreign government while working for her and lobbying for an issue she says she is against, although, she too has promoted the issue favorably in the past (hmmmmmmm). Her campaign organization has been in constant chaos, her campaign finances have been in trouble repeatedly and her husband is out of control. Hmmmmmm, doesn't sound like someone who is much of a manager and certainly not ready to run a country..................................Don't forget folks, in one of the debates she stated she was a "hands on", in charge, run the show type of manager. She certainly doesn't seem to be able to manage well from where I stand........On top of that, she doesn't seem to be real big on telling the truth...........Scary, huh???????

    April 6, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  14. Pepou62

    Charming Rendell ! Another crook working for HRC. Appearing on videos with Peter F. Paul and others.

    April 6, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. Belle

    Let's see...Mark Penn, on behalf of his Company goes to Columbia because his company said they would help inform the House and Senate about the Columbian Free Trade Deal. In return, Penn's company gets $300,000.00.

    The Clinton Campaign hired Penn's company to be a political Strategist and do public relations. So far, her campaign has paid 10.8 Million Dollars...seems VERY Stupid on Penn's part.

    His firm at the very least should have sent someone else. But if Penn KNOWINGLY decided to solicit this deal directly with Columbia...I think he should be fired off the Clinton campaign.

    However, attorneys seem to fight each other in court all of the time...with no harm no foul afterward. Perhaps we all are taking this campaign a bit too seriously with the personal attacks, (myself included) and should really talk about the issues....

    How is this news? Unless you are trying to sway voters in a certain direction...perhaps our anger should be displayed to the media...and ask them to do their jobs rather than just stirring up, making a mountain out of a molehill, and trying to sway how Americans choose to vote.

    April 6, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. sivananthi

    MARK PENN VIL ENDORSE OBAMA SOON...

    April 6, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  17. Trey from East Texas

    Penn's PR firm also represents Blackwater. Enough already.

    April 6, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. peter

    Ed Rendell (Governer of PA), Dan Onarato (Allegheny County executive) and Luke Raventhall (Pittsburgh Mayor) will not get my vote ever! I am a democrat and will never vote for these three crooks in any election. They are supporting a lier Hillary Clinton.

    April 6, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  19. German/American - Ny

    Keep foaming at the mouth to have something negative for Obama. Guess you cant see greatness even when its slaps you in the face! Must be the color of his skin thats giving you a mental block – Such a pity! Some folks would rather vote for a flat out busted over n over n over again Liar than to vote for someone with integrity! CNN is not bias- it reports the news – are you saying CNN should cover up the Lies from Hillary! if Obama is lying I want to know – dont see any lies coming from him! Why- He's a man who represent truth and Integrity! Hillary is all for free trades – did you not see the documents from her days as first lady she supported NAFTA – Ohio must feel pretty silly right now! Great job CNN- let the truth be told!
    I will vote for Obama.

    April 6, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  20. Scott

    Please help her find a graceful way to bow out and maintain her dignity.
    The more this goes on, the worse she looks.

    April 6, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  21. Chuck in Oregon

    How do you say this is going to continue to bite is a very harsh and ugly way. You cant be against something and have one of your key advisors not be working in the opposite of your direction (if that is really your direction). This does in fact bring about some serious questions as to the fact of your position, or a true sign that you do not know your staff nor have any control over them. Either way it is spun it will hurt.

    April 6, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  22. RENEA,PLYMOUTH,MI

    MARK PENN IS PAID 4.3 MILLION FROM THE CLINTON CAMP.HE TAKES THE POLL AND HILLARY GETS HER TALKING POINTS.MARK PENN COMAPANY HAS 63 OFFICES WORLDWIDE.HE HAS WORKED FOR CHINA WHEN IT HAD TAINTED TOYS THAT WERE SENT TO THE UNTIED STATES.BLACKWATER THE PRIVATE CONTRACTER IN IRAQ .SAUDIA OIL IS ONE OF CLIENTS AND ON AND ON AND ON.

    April 6, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. kathleen

    What kind of power does "Rendall" have? Or did Hillary tell him
    to say that. Hillary, Geraldine, Corville, Penn, Rendall. What difference does it make who says it? It is all the same misleading statements coming from Hillary.
    Hillary can't handle her own business.

    Rendall has been promised the "Secretary of Energy job!!! I say
    he should be fired before he begins!!!!!!! Big Shotism.

    Obama 2008

    April 6, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  24. Yes, DM again Arlington, TX

    Gov. Ed Rendell,

    This is the company you keep and all of the dogs are not out of the closet yet. The Clinton are layer with fraud. The true secret of the Clinton are deeds that are hidden.

    Now for the $ 10 millions in charity was given to the Clinton Foundation.

    April 6, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  25. The Man

    NO NO NO!!! DONT FIRE PENN!!! HE HAS HANDED THE ELECTION TO OBAMA!!!! HE IS OUR BEST WEAPON!!! STAY ON BOARD MARK PENN!!!

    April 6, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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