Penn Quits as Clinton Strategist

Top adviser out after Colombia trade meeting flap
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2008 6:14 PM CDT
Mark Penn speaks in this undated file photo.   (Getty Images (by Event) Individuals)
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(Newser) – Hillary Clinton's top strategist stepped down today after drawing fire for his trade meeting with a Colombian envoy last week, the Wall Street Journal reports. Clinton advisers said Mark Penn was all but pushed out, a move many in the camp had sought after Clinton lost key primary races. But campaign manager Maggie Williams said Penn's polling company will still give data and counsel to the campaign.

Geoff Garin and Howard Wolfson "will coordinate the campaign's strategic message team going forward," Williams said. Penn met with Colombia's US envoy last week as CEO of a Washington lobbying firm in support of free trade, which Clinton opposes. Penn later called the meeting “error in judgment," which prompted Colombia to fire his firm yesterday.