August 11th, 2008
12:15 PM ET
14 years ago

Penn wanted to paint Obama as lacking ‘American roots’

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Mark Penn was Hillary Clinton's chief strategist."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Hillary Clinton’s chief strategist wanted to attack Sen. Barack Obama for lacking “American roots” during the Democratic primary battle, according to a magazine article set to come out next week.

“All of these articles about his boyhood in Indonesia and his life in Hawaii are geared towards showing his background is diverse, multicultural and putting that in a new light. Save it for 2050,” Mark Penn, then Clinton’s chief campaign strategist, wrote in a memo written in March 2007, according to an article to be published in The Atlantic magazine.

“It also exposes a very strong weakness for him – his roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited. I cannot image America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values,” Penn wrote, according to the article written by Joshua Green.

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Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (179 Responses)
  1. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    So stupid.................

    August 11, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. True Party Unity

    After reading some of these posts, I see how much ignorance is dripping off my screen. I thought being raised in Hawaii should not disqualify you from being a candidate for president. His ties to Hammas? Go read a book!!!! See what organizations your government is truly ties to.

    Don't get upset that Obama went to the right schools, worked hard to make his own money (not a 2nd gen rich brat) is married to a strong beautiful woman, and who has the world looking at america like a friend, not some war hungry bomb machine.

    August 11, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. Cynthia

    What people must realize is when the Lord is for you the world can't do you do harm. They were trying to think of all kinds of lies and half truths to tell and it still did not work. Senator McCain is taking a page from their book and most certainly will not win because of it.

    August 11, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. dave

    It was right not to pursue that strategy:

    1. It only would have worked for people who are delusional and paranoid (see "Obama=Demise of USA" comment). And those people are going to vote Republican anyway, so she's not gaining much with this strategy.
    2. Hillary's base is so narrow she couldn't afford to alienate minorities, who surely would have seen this for what it is - a cheap and low blow that she wouldn't have played against a white person.

    One of the few good decisions she made in the race. Telling that one of her few good choices was actually a non-choice.

    P.S. Anyone want to take a guess how many people the Bush family has ties with that are also linked with terrorist organizations? I'll give you a hint - it's about 100 times as many as Obama.

    August 11, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
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