The Spectacle Blog

Penn’s hindsight

By on 6.12.08 | 6:08PM

What went wrong with Hillary's campaign? The much-blamed Mark Penn speaks:

We had a great start in Iowa. The first town halls she gave, people were amazed. We opened up with that video on the Web -- 500,000 people came. She wound up raising what would have been a record amount of money. I think you look through this race in terms of, from when it began, the first phases of this -- through October, I think -- could not have gone better. What happened was that there was a second extremely well-funded media-beloved candidate who entered the race at about the same time, who then had equal resources and, you know, an attraction, and received unbridled glowing coverage.

Very interesting to see a Democrat testifying to the impact of media bias. I think the key turning point was Oct. 30, when Tim Russert pinned her down on then-Gov. Elliott Spitzer's push to give drivers licenses to illegal aliens:

If you go back and look at the polls, you can see that in an American Research Group (ARG) poll Oct. 26-29 in Iowa (right before that debate) it was Clinton 32%, Obama 22%, Edwards 15%. An ARG Iowa poll two weeks later had it Clinton 27%, 21%, Edwards 20% -- she'd lost 5 points, and her two leading opponents had gained 6. By the time of ARG's Nov. 26-29 poll, it was Obama 27%, Clinton 25%, Edwards 23%. Thus, Hillary blew a 10-point lead over Obama in the space of a month, and the debate question about illegals was the major negative news development for her during that period.

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