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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Day One, Take Two!

Hillary Clinton’s Poll Czar Mark Penn Went Down, But How Far? ‘Mark, Mark, Mark,’ Said Geoff Garin, ‘A Decision Has Been Made’; But Who’s Running the Show Now, And Is There a Show to Run?

On a conference call among high-level Clinton staffers on the morning of April 7, longtime adviser Mark Penn was arguing about a proposed advertisement for Hillary Clinton.

“Mark, Mark, Mark,” said Geoff Garin, a pollster who had taken over some of Mr. Penn’s duties as chief strategist, as Mr. Penn continued to press his point. “A decision has already been made.”

The mighty Mark Penn had been shot down.

The exchange, recounted by a campaign source who was on the call, was perhaps the first concrete indication of a post-Penn era of sorts in the Clinton campaign. Before Mr. Penn was officially stripped of his title as chief strategist on the evening of April 6, he was the one aide with an effective veto over the message-related and tactical ideas of other top advisers, several Clinton staffers said in interviews. Now, they say, he is relegated, at best, to co-equal status with all the other aides called upon regularly to offer their two cents.

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