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Hillary Clinton ’08 Vets Say No to ’16

Aboard Air Force One, 2009 Official photo by Pete Souza.

Aboard Air Force One, 2009
Official photo by Pete Souza.

“I’m doing something completely different… My passion for technology actually predates my passion for politics.” – Mark Penn

THERE is a lengthy piece in the Washington Post about the veteran Hillary campaign people who are unlikely to join her in 2016, if she decides to run. One of my favorite sections is onHoward Wolfson, who will reportedly will not be reprising his role as campaign chief. Other big names include Mark Penn, who if he is anywhere will be well out of sight, as well as Patti Solis Doyle, who should never have had the job she did.

A brief snippet:

Philippe Reines, one of those former Senate loyalists who followed her to the State Department and is now a paid spokesman for the former first lady, dismissed speculation about a 2016 run even as he pronounced that Clinton “would be a great president and I would want to help her do that.” He also contacted veterans of the ’08 campaign and urged them to avoid anonymous sniping that would reflect poorly on Clinton, according to several people who’ve been on the receiving end and who took the request as a warning not to criticize her. (Reines denied that he policed anyone’s conversations and insisted that he only encouraged former staffers to put their names to any comments.)

He and other boosters sought to put the lingering leadership concerns to rest by pointing to Clinton’s relatively smooth tenure as secretary of state. But even he acknowledged that running an existing bureaucracy is not analogous to building a billion-dollar campaign. That leaves Clinton with only one model as a reference point if she runs for president in 2016.

“I can go into the plus sides of the theory of the Team of Rivals and the downsides of the theory of the Team of Rivals, but I don’t want to do that,” Solis Doyle said. She explained that the past was too painful and filled with “so many” traumas.

You can’t know if you’re not involved, but it’s pretty hard for me to imagine Philippe Reines policing anyone’s comments. It’s been a long time, but I’ve had email conversations, as well as drinks once at the height of the McCrystal Rolling Stones scandal, where we had a friendly debate on the subject. I’m certainly not one of the ’08 campaign insiders, but I was very close to the campaign from the outside, and Reines just doesn’t seem that paranoid, though I have no doubt he wanted people to talk on the record and not be an anonymous sniping “source.” If you read “Game Change,” you’ll understand Reines’s aversion to traitors talking on deep background.

As I detail for history in my book The Hillary Effect, the slug fest of 2008 took the life out of a lot of people. It was difficult as hell writing that book, let me tell you. Howard Wolfson and I have not talked about this, but I would imagine that campaign finished him for good, which is what the Post claims.

It should have finished Mark Penn, with the Post writing politics is not in the future for him. Don’t believe it, because Penn clearly states in the Post article that if 2016 manifests it’s “up to them.” Penn turn down the Clintons? If asked, he will serve, but he just might not be asked.

You can bet almost everyone else doesn’t want to see Mark Penn anywhere near Hillary Clinton if she does run again.

The vast majority of the former Clinton aides – many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of upsetting the powerful Clintons – believed that it was impossible for Penn to rejoin an eventual campaign.

“If you are the losing team,” Penn said, “you get blamed. Hillary told me, ‘It comes with the territory.’ ” He said that he and the candidate had a “thorough post-discussion of everything” but wouldn’t divulge specifics. He admitted, though, “You are always a little bit haunted when something is lost.”

He said that he has had civil conversations with former colleagues, including frequent antagonist Mandy Grunwald, a media consultant for the 2008 campaign who has since worked on several Democratic Senate races; Grunwald declined to comment for this story. “We had a particularly nice talk at the funeral of Hillary’s mother,” Penn said.

Huge fan of Mandy Grunwald. As for Mark Penn, he’s the most overrated political strategist in campaign history, the bookend to Dick Morris.

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15 Responses to Hillary Clinton ’08 Vets Say No to ’16

  1. mjsmith May 20, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    The democratic primary in 2008 was a real long hard battle between Obama and Clinton. It really came down to, in my opinion, Sen Ted Kennedy endorsement of Obam and perhaps John Edwards. Not the full of crap psychic medium John Edwards, I mean full of crap trial lawyer Senator John Edwards. It is clear that Edwards stayed in the campaign to self serve his ambitions after the election by staying in the race and expecting a political payback from Obama. Perhaps Obama did not need or even want Edwards’ support. The Ted Kennedy endorsement really seaed the deal.

    Governor / Senator Mark Warner of Virginia had an exploratory group for 2008 and concluded that he was not going to step in. I think Mark Warner would be an excellent candidate and has many good ideas and solid experience.

    As far as I know, Hilary Clinton said she is not interested in running in 2016. I wonder why people hwo liked what she had to offer in 2008 would not like what she would have to offer in 2016? I would think the opposite would be true.

    • Cujo359 May 20, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

      Not the full of crap psychic medium John Edwards

      You might have had to point that out anyway, but the charlatan’s name is John Edward, with no ‘s’ on the end. The politician/lawyer has an ‘s’ at the end of his.

  2. JoeCHI May 20, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    “As for Mark Penn, he’s the most overrated political strategist in campaign history, the bookend to Dick Morris.”

    More of a bookend to Robert Shrum, than Dick Morris.

    • TPAZ May 20, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

      I agree. Bob Shrum is less than worthless.

  3. Ramsgate May 20, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    If, If she and the people she chooses, go in to this believing that the nomination is hers for the asking, with that aura of inevitability and invincibility, she just might lose again.

  4. StrideHyde May 20, 2013 at 11:39 am #

    Neera Tanden on Obama vs. Clinton:

    “On health care, on economic issues, she was the progressive voice in the presidential campaign,” said Tanden. She added, quietly, “We became the status quo campaign.”

    The sleepwalking Democratic wags have still not come to terms with this truth. Not sure they’ll ever figure it out.

  5. secularhumanizinevoluter May 20, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    1.” The democratic primary in 2008 was a real long hard battle between Obama and Clinton. It really came down to, in my opinion, Sen Ted Kennedy endorsement of Obam and perhaps John Edwards. Not the full of crap psychic medium John Edwards, I mean full of crap trial lawyer Senator John Edwards. It is clear that Edwards stayed in the campaign to self serve his ambitions after the election by staying in the race and expecting a political payback from Obama.”

    And John Edwards is a full of crap psychic?! What information are you basing this less then supported by any evidence psychic pronouncenebt on?

    2.” Perhaps Obama did not need or even want Edwards’ support. The Ted Kennedy endorsement really seaed the deal.”

    And perhaps aliens told Obama he was pre-destined to win the election and become King of the Universe? Just as much evidence for this projection as yours.

    3.”Governor / Senator Mark Warner of Virginia had an exploratory group for 2008 and concluded that he was not going to step in. I think Mark Warner would be an excellent candidate and has many good ideas and solid experience.”

    There are ZERO indications Warner has any plans on running.

    4.”As far as I know, Hilary Clinton said she is not interested in running in 2016. I wonder why people hwo liked what she had to offer in 2008 would not like what she would have to offer in 2016? I would think the opposite would be true.”

    Having read the piece I see no where anything about “people hwo liked what she had to offer in 2008 would not like what she would have to offer in 2016?” More like people who are burned out or people who’s preformance rendered them unemplyable.

    “As for Mark Penn, he’s the most overrated political strategist in campaign history, the bookend to Dick Morris.”

    Oh snap! Z snap with a talk to tha hand!!!

    • mjsmith May 20, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

      I would be happy to answer your questions. If you could explain what you mean by – ” any evidence psychic pronouncenebt on?” It would really help. Thanks!

      • secularhumanizinevoluter May 20, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

        Seriously…you are being nit picky about typos?!!!!!

        Does this look familiar? “The Ted Kennedy endorsement really seaed the deal.”

        Or how about this “I wonder why people hwo liked what she had to offer in 2008 would not like what she would have to offer in 2016?”

        I am sorry if you are not able to puzzle out the fairly clear meaning of my question as I was easily able to do with yours.

        However much like the edited E mails on Benghazi my quote seems to have been edited to creat a false impression.

        • mjsmith May 21, 2013 at 8:55 am #

          ok ok, look, I just do not understand the question.

          I make reference to 2008 and 2016 bbecause it relates to the topic of this article.

          I am not sure if you are upset about my comments about Sen. John Edwards
          or the charlaton John Edward. Either way, I could care less.

          I was talking about 208 when referring to Warner, not 2016.

          Here is a link to a page that concludes Mark Warner will most likely stay in the Senate and maybe perhaps a VP candidate in 2016

          http://www.2016election.com/mark-warner/

          “Warner is soft spoken and conciliatory, not as dynamic a speaker as Obama. On the other hand, his experience in the world of business grants him a degree of immunity from the recent public fears of a slide into socialism- at least in terms of independent voters who are the critical swing sector of the electorate these days. His approach to governance is to portray himself as a technocrat, a person who is interested in matching public policy to the challenge of the day, then fine-tuning the resulting policy to make it even more effective. He once told a group of Virginia legislators “that which gets measured, gets improved.” His greatest political triumph, the bipartisan effort to re-do the Virginia tax code in the wake of the Gilmore revenue shortfall during his time as Governor, rejected the traditional Republican no-new-taxes pledge in favor of Democratic Party tax raising. The tax raise, however, was in response to a real problem, and solved that problem. After resolving the budget shortfall, Warner asked the Virginia General Assembly not to get ambitious with new spending plans.

          It is possible to imagine independent voters flocking to Warner in a national campaign. As a person with a moderate image, his challenge is more likely to be one of energizing the Democrat left wing. At the present time, Warner is working with Georgia Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss to promote the idea of fiscal compromise in the face of a strong partisan battle between the President and the House Republicans. This effort seems calculated to position Warner once again as a bipartisan figure willing to deal with Republicans on a practical level. But Warner does still adhere to Democratic Party commitments to promote an economic future for low income citizens.”

          • secularhumanizinevoluter May 22, 2013 at 11:42 am #

            1″ok ok, look, I just do not understand the question.”

            Pretty simple question really…you make prounouncements and back them up with zero information and fact other then your apparent psychic knowlwdge.

            2..”I am not sure if you are upset about my comments about Sen. John Edwardsor the charlaton John Edward.”

            I can assure you I am not, nor have I ever been “upset” by anything you have posted

            3.”Either way, I could care less.”

            It is nice to know it is possible for you to care less about something.
            Exactly what that has to the subject at hand however escapes me.

  6. T-Steel May 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    I have an affinity towards Hillary Clinton. Don’t fully know why but I do. But I would only vote/support her in 2016 if she were running as an Independent. The Democratic and Republican machines are just full of finely processed BS. Why be part of those? Oh that’s right. They already have “things” in place. Well then we’ve lost already.

    • secularhumanizinevoluter May 20, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

      There is slightly less then zero chance of that happening.
      While I have plenty of problems with machine politics…Repu. AND Dem the plain fact is the Dems do far less damage on purpose then the Reps do blundering around and indulging their racism, homophobia and misogyny inadvertantly.

  7. Cujo359 May 21, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    Slightly OT, but Marcy Wheeler (AKA emptywheel) noted on Friday that one of Clinton’s last acts as SoS was a confidential memo to President Obama urging that he close it. In it, she makes clear what anyone with an understanding of how our government works knew already – that he has the option of closing it with or without Congress’ permission.

    Didn’t know if you’d seen that, Taylor, so I’ll pass it along.

    • Taylor Marsh May 21, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

      This confidential Clinton memo aligns with everything else that’s happened and includes: 1] Obama aides fortify & police the executive bubble at all times; 2] Clinton knows how to use executive power to do something that needs to be done.

      I call it an aspect of leadership, whether someone likes Clinton or not, though others will obviously interpret it in other ways.

      Clinton’s confidential memo also comports with Nasr’s review of what happened inside 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., which Ron Suskind also noted.

      As you and others have noted, Cujo359, Obama has the power if he wants to utilize it. He fears public opinion isn’t on the side of closing Gitmo, so that’s why it’s not getting done.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong