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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Hillary’s Strategist, Everything the Netroots Hates in One Man



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You know, reading yesterday’s front-page profile on Hillary Clinton’s pollster and key strategist Mark Penn, for the first time I began to think her problems with the antiwar base of the party might be insurmountable. Count the number of “anger points” that come up in the profile:

Gore fired him because of fears he was more loyal to the Clintons than him… “has made cautious a science”… longtime pollster for the centrist Democratic Leadership Council whose clients have included Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman… is a wealthy chief executive who heads a giant public relations firm, where he personally hones Microsoft’s image in Washington… Penn has been among her strongest backers on that score, according to Clinton’s advisers, agreeing that to apologize would be disastrous both politically and on the merits… picked a fight with Obama strategist David Axelrod at a Harvard forum this year… has a $5 million Georgetown mansion… hosted David Brooks for a dinner party… “helped reelect [Israeli Prime Minister] Menachem Begin, one of the most right-wing prime ministers in the country’s history…” ran Lieberman’s 2004 presidential campaign, advised Tony Blair’s reelection campaign in 2005… was hired by Dick Morris… past corporate clients include AT&T, Eli Lilly, Texaco and Microsoft… his firm billed the campaign $277k last quarter…

It’s like a highlight show of everything about the Democratic party’s elites that so outrages the netroots.

(This is more of a question for Spruiell and Media Blog, but I wonder if the rise of the netroots as a key constituency in the Democratic primary alters the way someone like Post staff writer Anne Kornblut writes a profile like this. She made sure to include every detail that could trigger a spasm in an antiwar Deaniac/Kossack type.)

Given a choice between Hillary and say, McCain, Rudy, or Fred Thompson, I’m sure the Kos readers of the world would hold their nose and vote for Hillary. But I’ll bet they’ll fight like mad to make sure they don’t face that choice.


Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson


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