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Penn was like an "editor-in-chief" says Wolfson. Still important, not in charge. Shines light back on Goolsbee.


WASHINGTON—The Clinton campaign handled two storylines in its just concluded conference call: Dealing with Mark Penn’s role on the Clinton team (turns out to still be pretty substantial, but still a demotion) and trying to push Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee back in the spotlight with the unwitting help of Obama backer Teamster chief James Hoffa.

Penn was like an “editor-in-chief,” Clinton communications ace Howard Wolfson said. Now he is important, but not in charge.

On ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y,) deflected her Penn problem by bringing up Goolsbee and the jam he got Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in late February/early March before the Ohio and Texas votes. At the time, the Obama camp made matters worse by denying at first that Goolsbee ever met with a Canadian official.

“Well, you know, I think that I took appropriate action with respect to my campaign when there was a conflict with what I have said. I notice that Senator Obama has never said or done anything with respect to his campaign representative who went to a foreign government and certainly gave a very different story about where Senator Obama stood than what Senator Obama had been stating in the campaign,” Clinton said.

“I think what not only voters but all Americans have to look at is where we stand and where we've always stood, and what we believe in and what we would do as president. And I feel very comfortable that, as we saw in Texas and Ohio, that's what voters are interested in. They're not so interested in all of the back-and-forth and the inside stories as they are where do you stand and what do you believe and what will you do as president.

Clinton communications chief Howard Wolfson took advantage of the opening Obama backer and Teamster leader James Hoffa just gave them. In an Obama conference call that preceded, Hoffa got off message in calling for Obama economic advisor Austan Goolsbee to come clean and say what happened when he met with a Canadian official to talk about NAFTA. Goolsbee gave one interview to an AP reporter and then was muzzled by the Obama campaign.

Hoffa “makes a very powerful point,” Wolfson said, careful to be very respectful to Hoffa. ‘’When it is that they are going to clarify what it is that Austan Goolsbee said?’

Wolfson was asked about the role Penn really has. Penn plays “a continuing role in strategy. There is clearly a difference between a senior strategist and somebody who is playing a role in strategy and I think most people understand that.”

What is the difference?

“The difference between the editor –in-chief of your newspaper and somebody who plays an important role at the newspaper but isn’t in charge. ….somebody who is playing the key role and somebody who is playing an important role but playing that role with other people.”

He said he is not going to answer who is on campaign strategy calls…

“I am trying to be very clear on this that he is going to continue to participate in this campaign in formulating strategy and has done so since Sunday.”

"I would ask, pursuant to that,…calls into question why Sen. Obama took no action when his chief economic policy advisor was found to be saying something very different about his postion on NAFATA than he was telling the people of Ohio," Wolfson said.


Wolfson was asked about the role Penn really has. Penn plays “a continuing role in strategy. There is clearly a difference between a senior strategist and somebody who is playing a role in strategy and I think most people understand that.”

What is the difference?

The Senior strategist title was dropped, but if still playing a role in strategy, Wolfson still holds this title yet the Hillary camp is LYING (Parsing words) about it.

When the last time anyone noticed a Senior anything on their job, now delegated to a MUCH LESSER role without continuing to use previous input or leadership this person was dispensing before?

Penn may not be Clinton's chief strategist anymore, but he still is a senior advisor who is doing her polling. Sounds like he is remains intimately involved in her campaign, which means there's still a BIG conflict here.

Another Gem from Wolfson, trying to clarify the matter and make the position clearer, in fact why could he not have said, Mark Penn has a new role doing just the same as before! - Clinton "Whiter than White" as always.

It is a disservice for the Media to claim that Mark Penn has been fired or has stepped down or that he will not be affiliated with the campaign. This is contradicted in Maggie Williams' statement which says "After the events of the last few days, Mark Penn has asked to give up his role as Chief Strategist of the Clinton Campaign; Mark, and Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, Inc. will continue to provide polling and advice to the campaign. " From the following statement it is accurate for the Media to say he has been DEMOTED!
Although many in the Media are trying to insinuate that he has been fired or has stepped down, this is a FABRICATION and Media has a right to inform Truth and not falsifications.

'"The president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, James Hoffa, said through an aide tonight that the change is of little significance, since Mr. Penn will continue to advise and poll for Mrs. Clinton's presidential bid. "Demotion doesn't answer General President Hoffa's concerns. Mark Penn is still on her payroll and Burson-Marsteller's payroll," a spokeswoman for Mr. Hoffa, Leigh Strope, said. "Title demotion doesn't indicate loss of influence."' "In a statement on Friday, Mr. Hoffa called for Mr. Penn's ouster. "Someone like Mark Penn should not be dictating strategy, and possibly legislation, for a Democratic candidate for president," the Teamster leader said."
Hari Sevugan, spokesman for Obama for America, released the following statement in response to the Clinton campaign’s attempts to distance themselves from long-time strategist Mark Penn: “Even though Senator Clinton said she’d distance herself from her chief strategist for meeting with the Colombian government, we later found out that he’s still very much part of her strategy team. The comparison Senator Clinton tried to make today is laughable, but also typical of a candidate who has said one thing but done another this entire campaign.”

Anyone with any Political smarts and savvy, should know that the Clintons are not REALLY getting rid of Penn and that this is just a smoke screen -- he is far too valuable to them and knows WAY too much for them to push him under the bus. He will still be pulling the strings behind that Wizard of Oz Curtin, as they say,polling and advising! This is just more double talk, double speak, misstate, misspeak and misspoke moment. Mark Penn should step down for Real!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on April 8, 2008 1:56 PM.

First appearence of Obama grandmother in ad. Pennsylvania pitch to women.UPDATED 4 new ads. was the previous entry in this blog.

Hoffa damage control. Obama backer Hoffa takes backs words about Austan Goolsbee is the next entry in this blog.

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