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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/07/art.hillary.indiana2.jpg caption="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?

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

    "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."

    WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? The Penn affair is FAR worse. Penn, only after getting caught , admits promoting free trade with Columbia. The Obama riff was a distortion of facts that had no real validity accept for venom tossing HC fans and the press. Hillary and company wrongly laid into Obama as well. Penn will probably get swept under the rug by reporters. Unfortunately, Clinton's "values" and ideology seems to change from state to state. How many half-truths and "mis-speaks do we need to realize it's a pattern? Typical OLD-STYLE political hypocracies.

    No doubt HC would be better than our current President. But come on man. Aren't you supposed to be a reporter? WHAT HAPPENED TO THE VALUES OF EDWARD R MURROW?

    OBAMA '08!

    April 7, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  2. Texas4Obama

    How many lies is it going to take before America demands that Hillary drop out of the race?

    Bosnia – Lie
    Ireland – Lie
    NAFTA – Lie
    Canada – Lie
    Columbia – Lie
    Hospital/baby – Lie
    Mark Penn – Lie
    Iraq – Lie

    And those above are just from within the past month!

    April 7, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  3. Louie

    Hillary is much like a bobble head nodding at her latest plan to get the nomination.

    She should return to the senate and continue her work.

    April 7, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  4. Observer

    I think it's ultimately bad for her campaign. It seems she can't control either her husband or Mr. Penn. I think it makes people wonder how well she will be able to control her own staff and cabinet as president. Lots of mistakes have been made by the Clinton campaign and she can't seem to keep them from happening. Another thing: it looks bad when she doesn't COMPLETELY break ties with Mr. Penn, and keeps him on the side for polling and advising.

    April 7, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  5. GnosticMan

    Of Course it won't give her a boost! It's just so much more disarray and nonsense her underfunded, undervoted, under-delegated (even the superdelegates are running for cover!), and in possession of a truly incompotent staff. But I guess CNN is just trying to arificially throw this in some positive light for her so they can appease the supporters of Senator Clinton who are screaming that CNN is slanted against her. CNN, ignore the irrevelevant inflammatory subjects and you won't have to worry about fire from either side. There is so much more that should be reported about these candidates that people don't know. I wish both candidates would stop throwing fire at each other, and start throwing some light instead. Stop showing us merely the fire CNN, we want to see light!!

    April 7, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |

    She can fire staffers, people can "resign", she can hire new employees.....whatever.
    Guess what? SHE'S STILL HILLARY CLINTON no matter who's around her. She's greedy and she lies to America like we're all stupid and beneath her. She actually believes we don't see through it.
    Obama is real, Hillary is a fake trying to ACT real.
    It's all about money and power for her.
    All she does is read from notes and give that fake smile when talking....like she couldn't possibly be SEETHING behind it.
    Transparency at it's most transparent.

    April 7, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  7. RT

    Oh Please, Hillary has nothing to do with her campaign being a disaster??? Its all Mark Penn's fault?? You've got to be kidding me. They are trying to blame it all on him out of desperation.

    April 7, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  8. Kathy

    It will be a good thing for the campaign. But, the Obamaites will try to capitalize on this non issue. Like Gergen said, it is not nafta gate. His campaign manager yesterday still denies it happened to the press when we know that it did. That is a story.

    April 7, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  9. Belle

    There is a big difference between Mark Penn and Obama's Top Economic Advisor:

    Simply Mark Penn went Behind Clinton's back. The 300K must have looked too good to his political consulting company. However, knowing the stand of Senator Clinton, NOT a smart play or decision on his part.

    I'm glad he resigned...wish he would have in January.

    Obama's advisor on the Other hand...well he did Not go behind Obama's back...ergo...he was not fired.

    Shame on CNN for even comparing the two...two totally different situations. And two totally different outcomes.

    April 7, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  10. v.ananthan




    -HILLARY 08.

    April 7, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  11. We all endorse Obama.

    Obama is strong and Clinton is weak!!! Since Barack Obama has 1,629 delegates and Hillary Clinton has 1,486 delegates, that proves that Barack Obama is stronger than Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama is now within 396 delegates away from 2,025. I'm now hoping that Barack Obama will definitely win Pennsylvania on April 22 for sure.

    My friends and also endorse Michelle Obama while she's nominated for First Lady. OBAMA 2008!!!!! I'M CRAZY ABOUT OBAMA!!!

    April 7, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  12. Ron

    No comparison to Canada. Typical Clinton deviance.

    April 7, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  13. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Penn's resignation will have absolutely no positive impact on Hillary's
    campaign. Why did not Hillary interview the man before she hired him?
    Or did she know about Penn dealings with Columbian's. She did!
    Didn't she?
    Oh, well he still has a position in the background. He is still with
    Hillary on the campaign.
    Hillary will be "very fortunate'"if N.Y. lets her continue representing
    them in the Senate. Maybe that would "humble" Hillary. I really do
    not think that Hillary is capable of being "humbled."
    Hillary ruined her chances to become President. Bill helped ruin
    her chances. Hillary whined, cried, complained, shouted, lied,
    threw accusations at Obama, went against her party when telling
    the nation good things about McCain and bad things about Obama.
    The worst is she has underestimated the "very smart" American people by thinking, she was too good to lose, she was "entitled."
    and another back biter to the American's is her and Bill saying,
    "they don't quit" or "they don't lose." All of these statements are
    really an insult to the American voters.

    April 7, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  14. Richard

    The rats are jumping off the ship. Pretty soon, the call will go out "ABANDONED SHIP!!!"

    April 7, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  15. North Carolina-Let's come together Democrats


    April 7, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
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