Posted by Mark Abrams
Well that makes 10! As you know, last night Barack Obama added Wisconsin and Hawaii to a historic primary winning streak. The Illinois senator's Wisconsin victory gives him 1,303 delegates compared to Clinton's 1,233. Funny, as in ironic, he seemed to not so subtly give a lot of credit to his opponent’s chief strategist.
According to The Washington Post: “While not [Hillary's] campaign manager in name, [Mark] Penn controls the main elements of her campaign, most important her attempt to define herself to an electorate. Armed with voluminous data that he collects through his private polling firm, Penn has become involved in virtually every move Clinton makes, with the result that the campaign reflects the chief strategist as much as the candidate. If Clinton seems cautious, it may be because Penn has made caution a science, repeatedly testing issues to determine which ones are safe and widely agreed upon. If Clinton sounds middle-of-the-road, it may be because Penn is a longtime pollster for the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. If Clinton resembles a Washington insider with close ties to the party's biggest donors, it may be because her lead strategist is a wealthy chief executive who heads a giant public relations firm [Burson-Marsteller], where he personally hones Microsoft's image in Washington. And if some opponents see Clinton as arrogant, her campaign a coronation rather than a grass-roots movement, it may be because of the numbers wizard guiding her campaign and the PowerPoint presentations he likes to give on the inevitability of his candidate.”
Today, in a follow up email to his constituents, Obama said: “Last night, the people of Wisconsin voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new kind of politics. They rejected an onslaught of negative attacks and attempts to distract them from the common concerns we all have about the direction of our country.”
Obama's victory came after a week in which Clinton and her aides tried to derail his momentum. They criticized him in television commercials and accused him of plagiarism. Obama shrugged off the attack saying simply that while he should have given Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick credit, the controversy wasn't a controversy. Consequently, the voters agreed.
In a conference call last week Penn articulated how the Clinton campaign will try to frame the message going forward: Clinton will draw a “clear contrast” between herself and Obama by showing that she is in the “21st Century solution business and not the promise business.”
But apparently the majority of voters are no longer buyin' the politics of spin and PR.
Keep up the good work Mark.
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Candidate Clinton has always deserved better counsel than that from a political pollster and about-average flack. While Mr. Penn may be a prosperous political operative, he has demonstrated that he is no communications strategist, and clearly is not in tune with the pulse of America.
It really doesn't matter who advises Ms. Clinton at this point. She is just on the wrong side of history. Obama is a light that captures the imagination of Americans of all political stripes, but mostly he represents a new generation. 2009 may be the beginning of a powerful progressive reawakening, the likes of which Rush, Rove, Rummy, Wolfiwicz, W., Cheney and the whole gang of right-wingers have wrought by their persistent march toward exclusion, excess and expensive foreign policy. Over $3 per gallon of gas, I mean really, what in the sam blazes is that? Here's to Obama and a new way forward.
From the Beach Chair,
I'm feeling really good about Barack Obama going all the Way!
Both Hillary + Barack would make a Great Prez too bad they're both running in the same Year*
I just spotted today an Economist figgers Bush's Illegal Iraq War will Cost Americans $3 to $5 TRILLION Dollars!
Honestly I can't believe Americans haven't Marched down to the Whitehouse + Yanked Bush + Grampa Cheney's Sorry Asses outta there yet!!
Where's Mangy Cur Rabid Hyena Jackal Bob Barr when we Need him??
Mark Penn personifies just about everything that gives public relations a bad reputation. If he is indeed controlling the main elements of her campaign, we can be thankful he's screwing it up big time.
I knew it was over when during the last debate Clinton chastised Obama for saying he'd "bomb Pakistan." This same lame chestnut was put forward by the Republicans (the party of the 100 Years War) two weeks before and was shot down as being totally out of context. Since Clinton's staff can't do any better than recycling GOP crap, you know the fat lady is about to sing for Hillary.
I might have missed the key word that describes Penn and the Clinton campaign - cynicism! If you covered it, my apologies. The contrast between the Obama and Clinton campaigns is that while Obama is hopeful, Clinton is cynical. Money drives politics and online organizational tools have allowed Obama to tap into a huge pool of small dollar donors who truly believe we can do better than the cynicism of the past couple of decades. Thanks for the story.