Mark Penn, influential pollster and longtime adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton, quit Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign after his work to help the Colombian government pass a bilateral trade agreement with the United States clashed with Mrs Clinton’s opposition of it. Though Mr Penn’s private consulting often took time away from his role as the Clinton campaign’s top strategist–a source of tension between him and other top Clinton staffers, who often publicly voiced their frustration over his priorities–his work to pass a trade agreement was seen as especially detrimental in the run-up to the April 22nd Pennsylvania primary, a contest in which most voters believe trade agreements hurt the U.S. economy. As the campaign’s chief strategist, Mr Penn was largely responsible for its message emphasizing Clinton’s experience and strength in a general election, a theme that critics say harmed her personal appeal and helped primary rival Senator Barack Obama take her place as the Democratic frontrunner.
According to a statement released by the campaign, Penn’s own polling firm will continue to provide some polling and advice to Ms Clinton. Penn’s exit is widely seen as another impediment to her campaign, which has been beleaguered with several financial and public setbacks in recent weeks.
Top Clinton Aide Leaving His Post Under Pressure – [The New York Times]
Clinton strategist left mark, message – [Politico]