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article imageOp-Ed: Top Clinton Strategist Quits after Columbia Trade Fiasco

By Mr Garibaldi     Apr 7, 2008 in Politics
One of the unwritten rules of working for the Clintons has always been not to make either of them look bad. Clinton has taken yet another hit this week with the resignation of chief strategist Mark Penn, after failed talks with Columbia.
The government of Columbia has ended it's contract with the lobbying firm of Mark Penn one day after he made a statement that meeting with members of the Columbian government over a pending free-trade agreement was "error in judgement." Columbian officials have stated that the now former chief strategist of the Clinton campaign failed to show them proper respect, calling the statement an "unacceptable error in judgement."
Following Roman tradition, Penn has chosen to metaphorically fall upon his own sword, resigning from the Clinton campaign.
Mark Penn and his political consulting firm will continue advise the New York senator's Democratic presidential bid, but Penn will give up his job as chief strategist, campaign manager Maggie Williams said.
Trade has been a major battle point for the Clinton and Obama fight for the nomination for the Democratic party, with both candidates having suffered losses in the polls after failed negotiations of their staffers with foreign governments. Both candidates have publicly called for a slow-down of foreign trade, stating that continuation costs jobs for American workers. Both candidates, however, have had embarrassing situations arise from the meetings that members of their campaigns have had with foreign officials.
The current trade agreement Penn was discussing with Columbian officials is one that had been set in place by the Bush administration in 2006, and has faced heavy Democratic opposition.
The question is how many more black eyes can Hillary Clinton, or indeed Barack Obama, take before the August convention in Denver? They only have two eyes apiece, and yet they are both constantly taking negative hits in their attempts at showing themselves to be capable leaders ready to take on the mantle of office of the Presidency.
Penn, spokesmen for his lobbying firm, and spokesmen for the Clinton campaign have all declined comment. Perhaps this is best, as the situation itself speaks volumes without trying to add additional spin to it.
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