Top Clinton Strategist Says Obama "Can’t Win General Election"


I thought it had become clear in recent weeks that the Clinton campaign is much better off when Mark Penn, Clinton’s pollster and campaign strategist, isn’t talking to reporters. Indeed, over the last week or so, I’ve noticed that Penn’s name seems to be showing up in print quite a bit less.



But, alas, Penn piped up again yesterday and, of course, sparked a controversy.
Though the campaign later argued that he hadn’t said it, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s chief campaign strategist told reporters this morning that Sen. Barack Obama “can’t win the general election.” […]
Here is what Penn said…. It’s in the last 20 seconds or so that he says Obama “really can’t win the general election.” As you’ll hear, he also says that “if Barack Obama can’t win” in Pennsylvania, “how could he win the general election?”
Later, a reporter asks what he meant. Clinton campaign communications chief Howard Wolfson jumps in to say that “Mark did not say that.”

Regrettably, he already had. USA Today posted the audio clip.

The Obama campaign quickly responded, saying, “It can’t inspire too much confidence in the Clinton campaign when their pollster ignores both polls and math by making comments as divorced from reality as this one. Senator Obama is leading in delegates, states won, the popular vote, and fares better than Senator Clinton against John McCain in poll after poll, including critical swing states like Iowa, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Wisconsin.”
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