Immediately following Hillary Clinton’s clutch victories in three of Tuesday’s primaries, Clinton staffers immediately turned their attention to a pressing matter: denying chief strategist Mark Penn credit for the wins.
That’s how deep the animosity runs between Penn and most members of Hillary’s staff, according to an in-depth analysis of the Clinton campaign by the Washington Post.
“A lot of people would still like to see him go,” a senior adviser told the Post.
The hostility toward Penn “even in a time of triumph illustrates the combustible environment within the Clinton campaign, an operation where internal strife and warring camps have undercut a candidate once seemingly destined for the Democratic nomination,” the Post reports.
Penn has battled with chief spokesman Howard Wolfson and others over his strategy of presenting Clinton as a strong commander in chief. Wolfson wanted to present a more “humanized” side of Clinton.
Penn also distressed other advisers by arguing against any apologies for Hillary’s vote to go to war with Iraq.
Most significantly, perhaps, Penn “mapped out a strategy emphasizing strength and experience but, in the view of critics, did not adjust adequately when it became clear that voters wanted change,” according to the Post.
One adviser confided: “Penn should have been let go. He failed the campaign in developing a message and evolving the message as things changed.”
Hillary’s primary victories have now quieted talk that she should drop out of the campaign, the Post added, “yet renewal has come so late that advisers worry it may be too difficult to overtake Obama.”
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