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. jimmy velman

    IT HAS BEEN APPARENT FOR SOMETIME THAT CLINTON'S CAMPAIGN HAS BEEN LANGUISING FOR LACK OF
    A CONSISTENT APPEALING DIRECTION, CONTENT AND VOTER
    CONNECTION. AND NOW WE FIND THAT HER CHIEF STRATEGIST
    IS NOT ONLY A LOBBYIST BUT HAS BEEN WORKING FOR HIS FIRM'S AND HIS OWN SELF INEREST, ALSO BEING PAID BY THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN FOR DOING SO. ONE WONDERS WHY THE FORMER BILL CLINTON CAMPAIGN PEOPLE WERE NOT HIRED BY HILLARY, ONE OF THEM JAMES CARVILLE, OTHERS HAVE BEEN HIRED FOR MORE LUCRATIVE JOBS LIKE STEPHANOPOLOUS. IT IS THE ELEVENTH HOUR IN THE PRIMARIES.. CLINTON HAS AN EVERMORE UPHILL BATTLE NOW THAN EVER BEFORE.. MANY IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY WANT TO SOP THE CAMPIAGNS BY HAVING THE TWO CANDIDATES
    FOR THE DEMOCRATIC TICKET. THAT WOULD INDEED BE THE WINNING TICKET IF BOTH CANDIDATES AGREE TO IT BECAUSE
    MCCAIN IS GAINING GROUND ON BOTH OF THEM. THE SUPER DELEGATES WILL DETERMINE THE NOMINEE IS CERTAIN BECAUSE NEITHER OBAMA OR CLINTON WILL GET THE WINNING MAJORITYOF DELEGATES IN THE REMAINING PRIMARIES.
    UNITED THEY WILL WIN, DIVIDED, THEY WILL LOSE.

    April 7, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  2. Michael

    By: David Paul Kuhn Back To Story Page »
    Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is surging in Pennsylvania, according to several new polls. In one survey, released by Public Policy Polling this morning, Obama is now leading New York Sen. Hillary Clinton for the first time, 45 percent to 43 percent. That represents a closing of a 26-percentage-point Clinton advantage from only two and a half weeks ago.

    The Pennsylvania Democratic presidential primary is scheduled for April 22.

    Obama’s gains are largely due to a narrowing of the gap with white voters—29-percentage points according to PPP—but he continues to trail Clinton 49 to 38 percent among whites. In mid-March, according to PPP, Clinton led 63 percent to 23 percent among whites. That mid-March poll occurred prior to Obama’s race speech, at the height of the controversy over Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

    The PPP poll of 1224 likely Democratic primary voters between March 31 and April 1, with a margin of error of 2.8 percent, found that Obama has improved by double digits with both white women and white men. Today, PPP has Clinton leading 56 percent to 31 percent with white women. Obama leads 44 percent to 43 percent with white men.

    Obama also improved with black voters, long his base. He now captures the support of three in four African Americans in the state.

    See Also
    DNC convention stance surprises campaigns
    New Bush biopic examines father-son tie
    Dems working on Fla. compromise
    A Rasmussen Reports poll, released April 1, had Clinton leading Obama by five points, 47 percent to 42 percent. Clinton had a 13-point lead two weeks earlier, according to Rasmussen. Another poll released the same day by SurveyUSA shows Obama making more modest gains. That survey found that Clinton was still ahead by 12 points, though Obama had narrowed her lead by 7 points in the past three weeks.

    Taken together, the polls suggest that Pennsylvania, a state that once looked to be a lock for Clinton, has become considerably more competitive. His surge is especially notable considering Pennsylvania’s demographics and its closed primary, two factors

    April 7, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  3. Women 4 Obama

    The reason Mark Penn has survived this long is because Bill Clinton owes him big time.

    Plus, the Clinton's are afraid of outright firing him because he can hurt them very badly. Mark Penn hinted at this when he stood up for himself and said he was not to blame for Hillary's problems. In other words, that was Mark Penn's way of warning the Clintons.

    April 7, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  4. Kevin

    Wow. I'm shocked at your opinion on this Mr. Gergen. How is this far less tame than what allegedly happend with Obama and Co.? How is not a scandal that Clinton's top aid, to whom she pays lots of money to help her get elected is a chief advocate against one of her MAIN positions in an upcoming primary that could severely affect the outcome.

    Are you telling me that he has no sway over her, her positions or her strategies. If he does (and he did and still will), how can they justify this huge conflict of interest.

    I really believe that if this were the other way around, we'd be blasting Obama.

    Wow. You had me going for a while, as a middle-of-the road commentator. Now I see your true stripes.

    April 7, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  5. Gene

    Clintons 're the greatest liars in American political system......

    April 7, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  6. M. Martin

    The media keeps talking about Senator Obama’s aid talking with the Canadian representatives, Senator Clinton’s aid also talked with Canadian representatives, and told them to take what Senator Clinton’s words about NAFTA with a grain of salt. All this has been reported by many Canadian media out lets like the Toronto Star several times, but the American media does not seem to say much about Senator Clinton.

    April 7, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  7. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    No, Hillary made bad judgement in Hiring to represent her campaign.
    Nothing, Nothing can help Hillary's campaign now. Too much
    water under the bridge and American's intelligence has been
    tested by her and her nasty hateful tactics.American's are smarter
    than Hillary or McCain can ever give them credit for. To believe that
    "you deserve" or that you "are entitled to" was the end all to her
    campaign.

    Obama 2008

    April 7, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  8. Jack in ND

    Michelle – love your comment...made me LOL!!

    Hillary is really all over the map. She's most prepared to take that 3am call, yet she's lamenting that it takes her longer to get ready.

    Fraud, fraud, fraud!

    April 7, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  9. John

    Clintons campaign is a train wreck within itself. Obama hasn't mentioned any of Hillary scandals that seems to pop up everyday, she and her campaign seems hell bent on destroying itself. But I'm wondering why are the Clintonites so mad at Obama? She gives him reasons to attack her daily on her mistakes, misteps, misspoken words, lies & contridictions but he never does....

    April 7, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  10. Patriot

    The real question is can Hillary win in November. We know that Obama can't win in November. And I will not remind you why that is the case. OH Heck I will remind you, Rev. Wright.

    April 7, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Keep it up obamabots, you will cost your candidate the election if he is the nominee. Let's see how you feel about that.

    April 7, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  12. jimmy velman

    LET THE DEMOCRATS PETITION THE DNC FOR A CLINTON-OBAMA OR OBAMA-CLINTON TICKET.

    April 7, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  13. let te truth be known

    Obama, always been against the War!!!!!!!!! Hillary Clinton still Lies.....

    Penn has under cut Union Worker in the US and Hillary Clinton supports him and he still work for her and still she lies.....

    Bill Clinton recieve over $ 20 millions dollars from Saudis and Dubai Port World and still she lies......

    It's amazing how this looks like $109.2 millions dollars in less than 7 years. Somebody got paid for favors and still she lies..

    The Clinton's Art of lying and still she lies

    April 7, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  14. Texas4Obama

    Lizabeth-

    Don't worry about the electoral college – that doesn't count in the nomination process.

    Obama won TEXAS – he received the most total pledged delegates and the other states California, New York, New Jersey, etc.... will go with the democratic nominee which will be OBAMA !

    Don't let the Clinton SPIN make you believe that anything but the PLEDGED DELEGATES count right now!

    April 7, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  15. Susan MO

    Hillary can do fine with or without Penn. She is strong and experience.

    Hillary Clinton 08!!!!!!!

    April 7, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  16. Snipers don't miss

    I've seen some poor articles, but this one takes the cake. You should be fired. Missinformation, spin, and an obvious loss of understanding of the situation... go back to school.

    April 7, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  17. Ilona Proud Canadian

    Don't forget folks,

    Bill Clinton was in Canada two days before the supposed Obama/Nafta incident!!

    It was not Obama's campaign who talked to the Canadians!! Wake up folks.

    April 7, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  18. Walt

    How can Republicans contionue to Lie about War heros. I agree that John Macain is a Hero. But how can Two Draft dodgers like George W. Bush and Dick (Deferment )Chaney Swiftboat John Kerry who went to Vietnam and was wounded three times. The Peaple better see that we are being hoodwinked by the big Money Guys. A working Person voting Republican is like a Chicken Voting for Col. Sanders. Why are Bill Gates and Dick Chaney's kids are not in the War. Answer, "Rich Mans War, Poor Mans Fight" We need a Revolution.

    April 7, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  19. Greg

    Team Clinton continues to make one mistake after another, and it is of no consequence whether Mark Penn is involved or not.

    Hillary Clinton is a pathological human being who just cannot help herself.

    She lacks the finesse her husband used to possess, when he could easily deflect criticism of his deceitful ways, and the American people see it quite clearly now.

    April 7, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  20. Snipers don't miss

    Very very poor piece. This is not news, it's full lies. How can something be reported one way (NAFTA), then corrected, by the government itself, yet the correction totally ignored by all media, even in a time such as this. Media lazyness or flat out lies?

    April 7, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  21. Obama Richardson

    It will make absolutely no difference. Hillary Clinton is the main reason her campaign is not doing well. Her selection of staff is a reflection of her. It's too late now, baby! Tee hee....

    April 7, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  22. chris

    Why does Hillary constantly reshape her message/strategy? I feel like she's all over the place rather than having a central focused goal. This isn't how you run a winning football team or business – does this work in politics?

    day one
    experience
    strong
    he can't win
    she's about "change"
    "yes we will" instead of "yes we can"
    nafta/bosnia/union/hospital story/ FL-MI flip-flopping
    credit for ireland? ship (pr whatever) healthcare?
    TX firewall (Obama got more delegates)
    constantly asking people to step down
    Not apologizing/denouncing comments from supporters
    Not commenting on Wright, then she does
    Firing he other strategist about 2 months ago
    Taxes and for the working people but then says "i have no problem with rich people"
    230+ million in earmarks and will only release some

    Is it me or is this a loose canon? She's all over the place but she hasn't really gotten anything done – where is she going?

    April 7, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  23. Oh Come on!

    If it's hard to understand, you need to be enlightened, no matter who you think is the best candidate. The media IS biased. It always has been. CNN is no exception. The problem is that it is almost impossible to present facts about a situation without someone not blowing the whistle on bias. But think about it. In the early days of the Democratic nomination process, when Hillary was the annointed one, most of the news was about her. As Obama hit the news radar, more and more of the news was about him as he gained ground.

    There are two things the media loves more than anything else. Thing #1. Winners. Thing #2. Train wrecks (whether personal, political, or otherwise). Currently, Obama is staying pretty consistently in the winner's column. He hasn't "mispoken". He hasn't hired someone of questionable ethics who has then backstabbed him. He's just stayed consistent in message and position. Hillary, as she continues to lose ground against Obama is starting to look like a train wreck. CNN is reporting the impending train wreck. In the last couple of weeks, Hillary has not been able to get it right. And CNN has pounced. Should Barack do something incredibly dumb, they'll pounce on him, as they did during the Wright controversy.

    Guys. Facts are facts. Typing the word LIES or LIARS in all caps adds nothing to the conversation. Get the facts. The REAL facts. Talk about those. If you can't get the facts, then keep the inflamatory nonsense to yourself. It shows absolutely nothing except that you need to really calm down and do some reading.

    April 7, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  24. Walt

    You will notice that I left my name and email address. I believe in the Constition and the right to keep and bear arms and the right of free speech. My Father was a survivor of Pearl Harbor and Guadaul Canal and was wounded twice for this Country. I never thought I would live to see his sacrifices wasted for the greed of Big Bussiness. By the way if anyone would like to discuss my opions personally, I live in Indianapolis, Indiana, My address is 8623 Turnstone Ct. 46234. Try to take my guns, or silence my voice. This coment will get me on a watchlist. That is another right we have lost, "Freedom of Expression"
    Please Wake up Peaple.

    April 7, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  25. Louie

    Hillary is much like a bobble head nodding at her latest scheme to steal the nomination.

    She should return to the senate and continue her work.

    April 7, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6