Thank heavens… Mark Penn is out — sort of… Out as the top strategist of the Clinton campaign, however “his polling firm, Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, will continue to provide polling and advice to the campaign.”
Mark Penn, the architect of much of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign, has been replaced as the campaign’s chief strategist in the wake of revelations that he lobbied on behalf of a trade treaty with Colombia that Mrs. Clinton opposes.
Penn has been connected to both the Clinton’s for a dozen years. In the past few days he “has come under withering criticism for continuing to consult with clients as chief executive of Burson-Marsteller, the international lobbying and public relations firm.” Penn has also “been held responsible for the flawed electoral strategy considered partly responsible for Mrs. Clinton’s difficult political position, trailing Senator Barack Obama by more than a hundred delegates and with a very narrow path to winning the Democratic nomination.”
In a terse statement, Maggie Williams, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager, said, “After the events of the last few days, Mark Penn has asked to give up his role as chief strategist of the Clinton campaign.”
Howard Wolfson, Hillary Clinton’s longtime communications director, newly hired pollster Geoff Garin, will now “coordinate the campaign’s strategic message team going forward.”
Hillary Clinton was reported “to be furious when she learned that he was employed by and consulting with the Colombians on the trade treaty.”
Mr. Penn apologized Friday and said the meeting had been a mistake. The Colombians, offended by what they called an insult from a hired lobbyist and spokesman, fired him and Burson-Marsteller on Saturday.
Long overdue for the grossly over paid Penn.
Chris Cillizza notes on The Fix:
One Democratic consultant, granted anonymity to speak candidly, predicted “a less combative campaign and more focused on her strengths.”
There’s plenty of buzz in the blogosphere tonight… See Memeorandum for the latest.