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. Hank in PA

    Thank you Ed! Indeed, Penn has made a huge error and he should walk away from teh campaign to remove this from the Hillary SLam list of the Obamabots.

    April 6, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. dan davenport

    The one thing I can't understand is WHY Hillary's supporters allow the lies and corruption to flow on and on....do they have there heads in the sand OR are they just completely brain dead???? History will look back on these individuals as prehistoric creatures.

    April 6, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  3. Are you Serious?

    Looks like Clinton's campaign is unraveling. Can't say that it elicits empathy from me.

    April 6, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  4. Gerry (AUSTRIA)

    That is to show or illustrate to you the double standardness of the Clinton campaign. They say one thing and at thesame time or almost immidiatly contradicting what they said. I think these whole campaign of Hillary is just deceiving the American public

    April 6, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  5. Mike from MD

    How Much More Information the Hillary supporters need to understand that their candidate IS A CROOKED USED CAR SALESWOMAN!!!

    April 6, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. redbug

    Of course rendell is a clinton backer (puppet). And are we surprised penn says he is acting as ceo of whatever company. he works just like the clinton's do backroom politics.

    April 6, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. j

    Sen Clinton has a been very clear on this issue in the past, I think we should trust her judgment on this issue:

    "I don't think people should come to Ohio and tell the people of Ohio one thing and then have your campaign tell a foreign government something else behind closed doors...That's the kind of difference between talk and action and that I've been pointing out in this campaign."

    "If some of my advisers had been having private meetings with foreign governments and basically saying ignore what I'm saying because it's only political rhetoric ... I think it raises SERIOUS questions."

    April 6, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. William

    I live in Pa and voted for Rendell, he's a good guy and Governor. I wouldn't hesitate to vote for him again. I'm very happy he's supporting Hillary, all of the officials that are, will definately get my vote the next time they run.

    April 6, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. Will

    I'm tired of seeing Rendell's face on the news everyday. Doesn't he have a state to run or something?

    HRC will and has proven it will do whatever it wants regardless of what others think.

    April 6, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. Peanut Gallery

    Now is it just me, or is it worrisome that HRC has had a disastrous campaign – on so many levels that I won't list everything.
    I ask, is it easier to be the President? For HRC's sake I hope so. She can't run a campaign but is trying to convinc the voters that she is ready "day 1" to run a nation. BWhat does it take for people to realize her political prowess has been tremendously overstated. If she was ANYONE else, she would be history.

    April 6, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. Ann

    Rendell needs to look at what supporting Hillary will cost him later. I agree with the other person that thought we was promised VP. Hillary is a dangerous animal to alighn with. I am not surprised about Penn, I am just not surprised BIll was not there too.,

    April 6, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. Roland

    It doesn't matter how hard one tries to hide the truth, it ends up by uncovering itself. The truth is that BillChelseaHillary trio and their compain are not trustful. They have been just manipulating the American people in an effort to win the election, Unfortunately, and fortunately too, all the pieces of their ill-constructed, political manipulation are falling apart.

    April 6, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. Gerry (AUSTRIA)

    There is one thing synonymous with Hillary and her campaign team
    " L Y I N G "

    April 6, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. Texas4Obama

    You just watch.
    As more and more comes out in the press about the Clintons dirty deeds Rendell will probably withdraw his support from Hillary. No one want to be on the losing side!

    April 6, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  15. Ugot2bkidding , Alabama

    Ouch!!! That's got to sting a little. Isn't it funny how things seem to turn around on you when you least aspect it.

    Her Hillariousness can't keep her double talkers in check! lol
    Rendell is as transparent as they come..you can see right through this guy.

    April 6, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  16. Bob Stephens

    All the people that Clinton surrounds herself wit in the campaign, is just a coming attraction of what will be in her Administration if people are foolish enough to put her in office.

    April 6, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. obamacrat

    Please don't quit Penn..... Without a dufus at the helm of Hillary's campaign, she just may start doing better and get the nomination.

    I really want Obama to win.

    PLEASE DONT FIRE HIM HILLARY .... YOU "NEED" THIS POLITICAL GENIUS!!!!!!

    April 6, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. Michael, North Carolina

    The people working for Sen. Clinton are just as much of a CROOK, AS SHE IS. This is why we need someone in the white house who will surround themselves with people who are TRUSTWORTHY,and are on the SAME PAGE AS THEY ARE. Yes I believe Penn should be fired. I hope this race is over by the first of June. To focus on Sen. McCain for the general election come November.

    YES WE CAN
    OBAMA/CASEY '08

    April 6, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. Johnny

    You can be sure that the reality is that Hillary has conveyed (via Penn) to the Colombians that she actually supports the trade agreement, but it is not convenient for her to say so now. Instead, Penn gets the phony "heat" about the purported and false conflict.

    Anyone dumb enough to believe Hillary deserves her.

    April 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. Independent

    This is how Clinton will run the most powerful office in the world?!?

    April 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. Gobama

    Another Hillarious episode in the ongoing saga of the most spectacularly mismanaged campaign in memory. Penn's biggest error in judgement is trying to elect Hillary Clinton president.

    April 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. Bademus

    Mark Penn's company's clients have been well known for quite some time. He was also recently quoted as saying "presidential campaigns are good for buisness" because he is making huge amounts of money. Since he has unfettered access to Hillary and they are hoping for some added influence should she become president and they are paying Mark Penn huge sums for that. That's what happens when you have a prominent lobbyist running your campaign. It's old time politics, cash is king and trumps the will of the ordinary citizen.

    April 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. gee gee

    Folks, Hillary thinks that the American people are the most gullible in the world. Penslyvannians especially!

    She is trying to do to the people of PA the very same thing that she did to the people of Ohio!

    In Ohio she lied about Sen. Barack Obama talking to the Canadians about Nafta being ..wink wink. It was Hillary's henchman who talked to the Canadians!! Just like it is Hillary's henchman, who talked to the Colombian diplomat about approving a free trade deal. The only difference in PA is that her henchman got caught!!! I have no doubt, that, had he not been caught, she would more than likely, have said once again, that it was Sen. Obama's aid who had done deed!

    Please Penslyvannians, don't let her get away with thinking that you are as gullible as the people of Ohio who voted for her due to her spreading lies!!! Don't let her lie to you!!

    CNN, I would really appreciate it if you are good enough to post this comment. I really would.

    April 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. Brian

    Please dig deeper into this story CNN. I'd like to know more about this strategist's work in colombia while heading the clinton campaign. Doesn't add up at all.

    April 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. Donald from SC

    Shame on you Hillary Clinton for accusing the other candidate of double-talking about NAFTA. You have clearly proven yourself untrustworthy. The American people are tired of being lied to, as you have done many times. You are destroying all trust that the people have in their government. You have stained the reputation of both lawyers and politicians alike. Shame, Shame, Shame on YOU!

    April 6, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
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