Mark Penn: It Was Obama’s Money, Not My Incompetence

Mark Penn: It Was Obama Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s chief strategist, has been given space on the NYT editorial page to explain that the reason Hillary Clinton lost despite beginning with every conceivable advantage was not, as widely speculated, that she ran perhaps the most ill-conceived campaign imaginable but, rather, because Barack Obama had a big pile of money.

I’m glad we cleared that up.

Left unexplained is why the candidate with every conceivable fundraising advantage got outhustled in fundraising. Or why they spent their money so foolishly.

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, Uncategorized, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Spoker says:

    Does anyone ever take the blame for their failures the way they want to take credit for someone else’s successes any more? One hell of a commentary on todays “adults”.

  2. Jim Henley says:

    I heard there was some kind of war recently. Any truth to that? Could we ask Mark Penn?

  3. James Joyner says:

    I heard there was some kind of war recently. Any truth to that? Could we ask Mark Penn?

    Indeed. No doubt, Hillary’s careful positioning on the war in 2003 in preparation for 2008 backfired. OTOH, she ran the worst possible campaign based on that original positioning, neither consistently explaining why she voted as she did, nor consistently explaining what she would, in the considered judgment gained in four decades of super-duper experience, do now.

  4. jainphx says:

    Her down fall dates to the question about illegals drivers licenses, ask by Russert. He was dared by Rush.

  5. Dave Schuler says:

    Or why they spent their money so foolishly.

    Technocrats are predisposed to spend their money on consultants.

  6. jeff b says:

    Please. There exist zero Democratic primary voters who give a flying handshake about the immigrant drivers license bogey man. Hillary’s downfall can be traced to the simple fact that she lost. That may seem tautological but she lost because Penn did not understand the caucus system nor how to exploit it. Even at the Nevada caucus, in which Hillary was nominally the winner, Obama came out with more delegates. It helps to know the rules of the game.

    Of course, why should Penn care? He and his firm made an insane amount of money in the process of losing.

  7. Steve Verdon says:

    I don’t buy this at all. The guy is clearly being dishonest. From what I’ve read Obama and his staff simply out manuevered Clinton and she wasn’t smart enough to see it.

  8. Reasons why Hillary Clinton lost:

    1. Hillary Clinton is a bad and badly flawed candidate.
    2. Barack Obama’s marketing of himself as a vessel for people to project their hopes and dreams, while he has studiously avoided specifics has largely been successful.
    3. Hillary Clinton mounted a poor campaign driven by arrogance and a sense of entitlement until it was too late. Just look at the final week to see this in all its glory.
    4. Clinton fatigue finally took its toll, even on Democrats.
    5. Hillary Clinton’s elevation of sycophancy as a principle attribute for her staff finally caught up with her. She paid the price for making it difficult, if not impossible, to get frank advice.

    Note, Obama’s pile of money did not make the list. Mark Penn is to an extent I am unable to completely discern responsible for item 3.

  9. vnjagvet says:

    Penn and McClellan have a major character flaw in common. They are blamers.

    Based on their performance, I would automatically discount the judgment of anyone hiring either of them.

  10. Patrick Vashon says:

    Politics like war is fought with strategies that worked last time thus it is the innovator that wins new wars and new political campaigns. Penn was so far out of step that he thought California was a winner take all state and not subject to the rules of apportionment. Ignorance like that is fatal. Even so Hillary’s final wins and her performance was good enough to bring her within a gnats eyebrow of winning the Nomination.