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. Jot

    For those of you hating the Clintons, I believe you just envious and jelous. Look at the money they gave to charities and the taxes they paid. Lots and lots of millions. All they are doing is to help the poor people.

    The story she told about the woman and her child was not hers. I believe to some of you, you are happy that the woman and her child are dead, because there is no way you will ever know the truth. MLK never stopped hatred or racism neither would Baraka Obama

    April 6, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  2. Al Ware

    CNN, Fox, and MSNBC better give this story all the press it deserves next week, to include the Clintons not releasing their 2007 tax records as they promised. The Clintons and their campaign is very shady to say the least!

    April 6, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  3. Bernie Moore-Knowles

    Penn? Does this surprise any of the voters? This is what you are going to get in the White House if Clinton(s) are elected again. I am headed to Europe, I think – if we put these old school politicians back in the White House. Will the US ever learn?

    Bernie Moore-Knowles
    Papa'aloa, Hawai'i

    April 6, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  4. O My!

    Hillary should keep Penn on her staff so he can continue to help her destroy her campaign. He tried to have his cake and eat it too...Hmmm, that sounds a lot like Billary. I guess they are a match made in...well, not heaven.

    Yes We Can!!

    Obama '08

    April 6, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. Scott

    The picture of the two on this article is hilarious. They both look like scoundrels. Is this just a photographer's choice or is this how they photograph? pretty funny. The both look like crooks. The lobbyist looks like he's had a few too many burritos and way too many beers.

    April 6, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  6. OlvrWhit

    While I agree that Penn is an idiot, this has little to do with Hillary Clinton. He is a pollster.

    This has nothing to do with the issue's or the real problems in this country. I wish CNN and others would spend as much time digging up mud about the surrogates of candidates on real issues that matter. I think they are scared to do that because we all know that Hillary is by far the best on issues, leaving Obama and McCain in the dust. Instead, we have our daily dose of anit-Hillary post. A very few on Obama and McCain, but I have counted 1 to 3 negative ticker entries on Clinton for 6 months, most of which have little to do with her actual campaign. Sadly, we all buy it and are to stupid to demand our media actually discuss issues.

    Bush is not to blame for Bush, the low attention span of the American people is. The same can be said for this election.

    April 6, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. Roy

    Think what you will, but if Obama does not get the votes in the Big States he will not win the Electorial College! That is a fact! If he turns the Clinton voters against him he will not win! If his people keep calling McCain a war monger-He will not win! Bad supporters in both camps I would say!

    April 6, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. Karen Branson,MO

    Hillary and Penn knew exactly what they were doing. (unless Hillary really can't handle her own people or husband)...not good for White House operations.

    I'm not familiar with Rendell, however, his remarks in the past leave a LOT to be desired. It's up to people in Pennsylvania to handle their own governor.

    All this just shows the kind of familiar scandals that would continue in the White House just like when Bill was in office. I'm just so surprised voters haven't been bothered to research all this before.

    The longer Hillary runs, the more scandals, getting caught at "stretching the truth", etc. will come out. Only Hillary can destroy her own campaign so that any respect is destroyed along with it.

    April 6, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  9. Independent

    Why is it so hard for the Clinton campaign to fire someone who commits such a grevious error. Mr. Penn was her chief strategist, and they are going to let him stay on? This should give you an idea of how her cabinet will stack up – maybe he has the idea he will be her new Poverty Czar!! I must admit she is going down in a ball of flame, and I for one won't help her. SHE HAS NO BUSINESS BEING THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!! I'll bet that if Penn was on Obama's campaign, she would be screaming bloody blue murder instead of trying, once again to sweep her continued indescretions under the rug.

    April 6, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  10. Ted in Chicago

    The popular vote – not the combo of insider caucuses and primaries indeed is what counts – I agree

    (although Electoral is fun to run on a winner take all basis as it does best reflect the general - but is not as relevant to the primaries as the vote – the pure popular vote)

    If niether of HRC or BO gets enough elected round one delegates without super delegattes – then lets add the MI AND FL delegates at half the amount – cut in half – and no one sitll will have enough.

    No one reaches absolue majority anyway (I do wonder why all of the Media says HRC can not get there without superdelegates when neither can get there – to nomination – without super delegates?)

    And when we add in the delegates (originally very heavy to HRC) at half their normal weight (cut in half to be fair to BO) - we should add in the popular vote to be fair to the nearly 3 million voters – and add it as it is – since it is the right thing to do – and especially fair now because BO stopped any and all revotes (logically as the leader but still true that it was he that disenfranchised the voters at the end)

    Then HRC is about 200,000 human votes behind OBAMA – popular count wise – the real vote.

    And lets see who winds up with more popular vote at the edn

    For sure the voters in FL and MI count as much as "caucus insider votes" and the surrounding shenanigans like at TX do

    So that evens up the logic and rules for BO and HRC – I do wonder who is ahead on a pure primary basis – no causcus votes?

    Anywary – BO gets to keep all his caucus delegates untainted by the reality of their unfairness – and he gets delegates that lean to HRC in FL and MI diluted so as to not hurt him. He gets his share of wins.

    HRC gets FL and MI people counted at full strenth – she does not get the delegates from those hot states and has to stop bad mouthing the caucuses post fact (as ugly as they are in some states – in others they are pure fun democracy)

    AND then they battle six or whatever more times and lets see

    But BO may need a couple of packs of cigarettes to think this proposal over

    ( sorry for cheap shot at at BO but just learned a week ago – he did not actually give up as he said in early 2007 - he still smokes quite a bit – nice image for college kids ((said by one who did quit cold turkey at about the same age from a two pack a day habit)))

    IN the END I vote DEM no matter what no matter who(m?)

    April 6, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  11. paul k

    just to bad clinton an her supports are so far out touch with reatly
    they dont get how brain dead they sound. if hillary can lie to our face now what do you think she will do if she was elected. another bush
    with the clintons income if hillary wats to end tax cuts for the wealthy
    why doesnt she pay a portion of their income back to the govt. i dont think its aginst the law to give money back to the i.r.s.

    April 6, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |


    April 6, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  13. nanc

    His haircut alone would be enough to get him fired. 🙂

    April 6, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  14. Jonathan Lawoyin

    Penn, has always played the sleaze. No one should be surprised that he met the Columbians, infact it is an insight to the character of people that surrounds Hillary. Desperate people indeed who will do anthing to achive a set goal legally or illegaly.

    April 6, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  15. Mikey from Scottsdale AZ

    Hillary's campaign is simply a clinic in disaster.. How on earth can anyone expect this candidate to become Commander In Chief ?
    Be ready on Day One ?? She isn't ready after 35 YEARS of embellished experience.


    Geroge Bush is beginning to look good !

    April 6, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  16. nadeem

    Hillary needs to get control of her surrogates, again!

    You don't know who in her campaign is the biggest liar.

    April 6, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  17. ariel

    Mary Sue 22, well said!!

    April 6, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  18. Walt, Belton,TX

    When you are sleaze, you tend to attrack sleaze. It is just like lying, cheating, and all the other Clinton attributes.

    April 6, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  19. KC


    April 6, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. tex

    seems like the right hand does'nt know what the left is doing. clinton camp is losing it.

    April 6, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. dee rathersome

    Hillary exposed. Case of Paul v.Clinton. Hillary's Crime on tape. obstructing justice, suborning perjury. Kelly had knowledge.YouTube Parts 1 & 2.

    April 6, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  22. andrea benini


    April 6, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  23. ddc

    A year ago, I wouldn't have imagined that a Clinton campaign could self-destruct so completely. Fascinating.

    April 6, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  24. W in PA

    nsamata and other Hillary followers

    HRC has more flaws, is a hipocrite, has to much baggage and keeps coming up, whether it is her surrogates, Bill or herself, with damaging info to her campain and exagerating her status on her experience, Bill's and Hillagy 's White House run was riddled with damaging stuff, doubt about their honesty and integrity on numerous issues. It was a toss up for me between Obama or Hillary, because she is a woman and am glad there was a lot of time between the primaries for me to see her in a negative light. Her likability is much to negative for her to win the general election as well. And for Obama, everyone keeps saying he is black...he is also white. To me, he is the best person to run this country and for my grandchildren's future because of his black and whiteness and will represent this country of mixed races, asian, latinos, eurasion and many more, as well as anyone can.

    April 6, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  25. Grif

    Raw Politics??? Only when you praise Obama! Don't you dare inmsult this Idiot on CNN.......... He may lose his Smoke..........

    April 6, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
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