Mark Penn's Winning Strategy

Mark Penn's Winning Strategy

Mark Penn's Winning Strategy

A campaign blog.
May 8 2008 7:39 PM

Mark Penn's Winning Strategy

In the new issue of Time , Karen Tumulty's list of the Five Mistakes Hillary Made includes a damning anecdote from a Clinton campaign strategy session last year:

As aides looked over the campaign calendar, chief strategist Mark Pennconfidently predicted that an early win in California would put herover the top because she would pick up all the state's 370 delegates.It sounded smart, but as every high school civics student now knows,Penn was wrong: Democrats, unlike the Republicans, apportion theirdelegates according to vote totals, rather than allowing any state toaward them winner-take-all. Sitting nearby, veteran Democratic insiderHarold M. Ickes, who had helped write those rules, was horrified — andlet Penn know it. "How can it possibly be," Ickes asked, "that the muchvaunted chief strategist doesn't understand proportional allocation?"

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So maybe that 's why Clinton says she'd be winning if the Democrats used Republican rules. Her chief strategist thought they did!

Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson tells me he's "denying on behalf of Penn" that it ever happened.