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Friday, April 4, 2008

Clinton Strategist Penn Talks Trade with Colombian Officials

In what will go down as a "not so smart" move, Senator Hillary Clinton's top campaign strategist, Mark Penn met with Colombian officials this past Monday to discuss free-trade issues. The Wall Street Journal has a story today - click here to read:

Penn reportedly serves as chief executive for a international consulting firm called Burson-Marsteller Wordwide which has a contract to represent Colombia's interests in free trade.

Prior to the primary in Ohio, a story broke of advisers to Senator Obama meeting with Canadian officials to discuss NAFTA. The opposition of the democratic candidates of NAFTA has been one of many issues where the campaigns have tried to show their differences on a position. In the case of the Canadian story, the Clinton campaign tried to show that while Obama was publicly expressing his opposition to NAFTA, his aides were meeting with Canadian officials indicating a different tact.

The appearance of direct involvement by Mark Penn representing Colombia's interest and his role of advisor to the Clinton campaign may well be pointed out as a conflict of interest by the Obama campaign. Clinton has also indicated her opposition to NAFTA and depending on how this story is spun, this could cut into the lead she now has in Pennsylvania. Both Pennsylvania and Ohio have been hit hard with the loss of jobs.

It has long been rumored that Mark Penn is not well liked and his campaign strategy questioned by others in the Clinton campaign. This latest action by Penn, if true, may well be the final straw and lead to his exit from the Clinton campaign.

Stay Tuned.

Update 6:50 PM Union Group supporting Obama wants Penn fired. Read more here from The Hill:

Update 4-5-08 1:24 PM Colombia Cuts Ties with Penn. Read more from
Looks like it is time for Clinton to make the same move.

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