April 7th, 2008
04:03 PM ET
6 years ago

Gergen: Could Penn's resignation give Clinton a boost?

The latest Clinton departure could change the tone of the race.
The latest Clinton departure could change the tone of the race.

If Mark Penn had been a favorite within the Clinton campaign, it is difficult to believe that he would have been forced out over the Colombian affair. Sure, it was a dumb mistake – a “what was he thinking” moment. Still, it was a far cry from what one of Barack Obama’s top advisers did when he met with Canadian officials on NAFTA and his mistake properly set off a mini-firestorm. So, in the ordinary course of things, Mark Penn’s apology and a few days of reassuring labor unions would have been enough to quiet things down – and Penn would still be calling the shots.

But it is apparent that Clinton topsiders detest Mark Penn and hold him uniquely responsible for what has gone wrong in the campaign. When he went down last week, they lunged for the jugular and he couldn’t survive.

What difference will it make in the campaign, if any?

Full story

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. Andrew

    I don't get it! Is Penn is still advising the Clinton Campaign or not. Change of title. Is that about it?

    April 7, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  2. Barney

    It is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    Any more brilliant questions, David?

    April 7, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Yeah, HILLARY'S PEOPLE GAVE CANADA THE WINK WINK! That story was out weeks ago. I can't believe this lie is still being peddled as coming from Obama.

    April 7, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  4. Jazz

    Well Rev Wright continues to hold the ear and heart of the "wanna be"
    president and will be an "in your face" fixture at both the inauguration and the white house. Picture that! Bad decisions don't care who makes them.
    AAAARRRRGH. Just kick him to the curb Hill. Keep the faith.
    Hillary's TOO LEGIT TO QUIT!!

    April 7, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  5. jeremy

    she is responsible for her campaign as it does have her name on it. i love how the blame for the blundering campaign is now pinned on Mr. Penn rather than the person who's name it represents.

    just another example of finger pointing and blame by HRC. no responsibility is ever taken by her.

    April 7, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  6. Jude

    I think he's done her huge damage....I don't think he really resigned since he's still there just not official. I think Clinton should resign because she has deceived the American people once again.

    April 7, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  7. kikalucanico

    Yeah, HILLARY'S PEOPLE GAVE CANADA THE WINK WINK! That story was out weeks ago. I can't believe this lie is still being peddled as coming from Obama.

    April 7, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  8. Sue

    Wow, David Gergen has always been a Clinton supporter; but, he's usually fairer than this!! Everybody in Canada knows the story about NAFTA was misreported here and it was Clinton's campaign who contacted them. Also, Penn hasn't been fired, he's been "shuffled". Lastly, the big questions are stil: Did the Colombians think that Penn was speaking for Hillary? Did Penn think that he spoke for Hillary? Did Hillary think that Penn spoke for Hillary? Given her propensity for obfuscation and lying, you have to ask yourself what's really going on.

    April 7, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  9. Chris

    This is in fact the second lie the Clintons have devised with regards to trade deals. The Canada thing was done first by the Clinton, CTV (Canada) has the option to run both Hillary's NAFTA conversation with Canadian Consulate and Obama and for some reason they chose Obama.

    Hillary is as much phony as Dick Cheney. No more Cheney, Bush or Clintons.


    April 7, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  10. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    I, personally,did not even know who Penn was. Hillary's best chance
    to be President was in the beginning of this Campaign. Hillary shot herself in the foot too many times. Americans are wonderful caring people in general and want to forgive people for their mistakes. Hillary
    did not do the same for Obama. When Hillary and Bill began the attacks against a man from their own party and sided with McCain that was the beginning of the end. The hate and the lies and wanting to win at any cost, the fact that Hillary and Bill thought they deserved to win was a slap in the face to Americans, he bashing of Obama made Americans take note of Obama. Americans are very smart people when it comes to judgement.

    Hillary has only "herself" to Blame. And Bill.

    Obama will make it. 2008 It is too late for Hillary.

    April 7, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  11. Smart

    Penn's continued presence will harm Hillary more than his exit.

    But both are of little consequences; the campaign is already winding down

    April 7, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  12. JC in Michigan

    Another one Bites the DUST! Heh heh.

    Billary will be defeated if we have to expose every single lie. One at a time. Pretty good spin there, top strategist has a "what was I thinking?" moment.

    The word is getting out, just what type of people the Clintons are, Cutthroat!

    Obama for President!

    April 7, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  13. John

    Hey I have an idea:

    Clinton Supporters stop hating on Obama
    and Obama Supporters stop hating on Clinton

    Maybe we'll get somewhere as democrats........

    April 7, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  14. James

    I do not think that she has to do anything. The worse has happened. Americans just need to vote with their hearts and minds.

    April 7, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  15. Bob, Phoenix

    Yes, right over the edge into the dumpster. People are going to see another reason why Hillary has no business aspiring to be the CEO of the most powerful, challenging, complex organization in world history – she can't even manage her campaign staff. Starting to hear the "death rattle" of Billary?

    April 7, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  16. MP


    Wow, are you really saying what Penn did pals in comparison to what happened in Canada? First off it was the Clintons who first contacted Canada not the Obama campaign.

    Second, Penn is her top guy, a guy who is actually working for the Columbian goverment. You are kidding with this article right? Clinton is done and you will have four years of bagging on Obama.

    April 7, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |

    Yes, Hillary will bounce back from this situation. Hillary will win over the superdelegates. Oh, I forgot, Obama is paying super delegates to endorse him. Don't give up Hill. If Hillary loose the nomination I will vote for McCain and wait for Hillary in 2012.


    April 7, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  18. Gubby

    Obama is great. One speech will solve any problem.

    April 7, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  19. mequ

    Flip-Flop Clintons! He is still involved in her campaign.

    Obama Nation 08!!

    April 7, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  20. ds

    Probably changes nothing–it's not Penn that has been setting the tone for the Clinton campaign. That would be HRC. Send her some more money.

    April 7, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  21. cole

    All i want to say is in the last election the democracts won the big states in the primary that hillary is making noise about but in the general election Bush still won twice he did it so to me what does winning big states have to do with been electable.

    April 7, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  22. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Hillary needs a booster shot of truthfulness that could prove helpful.

    April 7, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  23. Jenny Sprowl

    Sounds like Another Clinton smoke screen. Nothing new. She is always saying one thing and doing another. Obama may have his faults, but I would take him over a bold face liar anyday. Please Hillary, Don't go away mad. Just go away.

    April 7, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  24. John

    Mr. M.Penn steping aside is a sigh of relief for the internal organisation of the campaign.The officials in charge of the day to day management,will agree to disagree,and hence plot along on effective stratergies,that will help Hillary to concentrate on solutions rather than confrontation.Fallen and dusty,you get up brush off the dust and keep on going.To answer Mr. Gergen question,I think so-it will bring peace internally.

    April 7, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  25. Cathy

    For crying out loud on NAFTA. HIllary challenged CTV to release – with immunity – the name of the person from her campaign who alledgedly met with Canadian officials. The story died there. There is a physical memo in the possession of AP documenting Goolsbee's meeting with the Canadain consulate in Chicago. Apples and oranges. The Canadian govt had to softpedal it so as not to be perceived as meddling in a US election ('no intention to convey, blah,blah'). If they wanted to disprove the memo they would have produced its author Joe de Mora to make a statement they he lied and that did not happen.

    Penn's departure from the upper echelon of her campaign can absolutely not hurt her. It's just probably too late.

    April 7, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
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