Edwards Cost Clinton Dearly: Penn

Ex-senator's fall from grace touches off second-guessing
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2009 4:24 PM CDT
Mark Penn, chief strategist and pollster for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton, speaks to reporters in the 'spin room' after the Democratic debate at Saint Anselm College January...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Hillary Clinton strategist Mark Penn is kicking himself in the wake of reports that Elizabeth Edwards thinks her husband shouldn't have run for president, ABC News reports. If news of John Edwards' infidelity had forced him to drop out of the race, Penn said, “No question in my mind, it would have been a very different race.”

"Most likely it would have been a two-way race"—Clinton-Obama—said Penn. He noted that Edwards’ strong showing in the first Iowa caucus siphoned off votes from Clinton and shattered the image of her as the “inevitable” candidate. “If Edwards would have dropped out there would have been a real contest for those votes," said Penn. "I think a lot of voters would have taken a good fresh look at Hillary Clinton.”