Hillary Strategist Mark Penn Steps Down After Meeting With Officials From Colombia
Chief Strategist Mark Penn stepped down from his position with the Clinton campaign after he met with officials from Colombia- America’s staunch ally in South America.
Democrats were outraged that he would talk with this important US ally.
ABC News’ Jake Tapper, George Stephanopoulos and Eloise Harper report: Mark Penn is giving up his role as chief strategist with Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in the wake of “the events of the past few days,” campaign manager Maggie Williams said.
Mark Penn (pictured) realized that he needed to step down after it was discovered this past week that Penn, who also is chief executive of the lobbying and public relations firm Burson-Marsteller Worldwide, had been hired by the Colombian government to help secure a trade deal that Sen. Clinton has said she opposes, sources told ABC News.
Penn’s resignation from his role as chief strategist came under pressure from an angry Sen. Clinton, who believed that Penn had recused himself from any clients who might pose a conflict for her campaign.
Clinton joined Barack Obama in upsetting the Colombian government.
Colombia ended its relationship with Penn’s firm after being attacked by the democratic campaign.
The Caucus reported:
The Colombian government said on Saturday that it was ending its relationship with Burson-Marsteller, the global public relations firm headed by Mark Penn, who is also Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s pollster and chief strategist.
Colombia had hired Burson-Marsteller to help it win passage of a bilateral trade agreement with the United States. Mr. Penn, in his capacity as chief executive of Burson-Marsteller, met with Colombia’s ambassador to the United States on Monday to discuss prospects for the treaty. Mrs. Clinton has publicly and firmly opposed the deal because of Colombia’s history of suppressing trade unions. Many Congressional Democrats and most unions also oppose the treaty, which President Bush supports.
Several union leaders on Friday called on Mrs. Clinton to dismiss Mr. Penn for double-dealing.
American ally President Uribe blasted Democrat Barack Obama last week for his campaign rhetoric against Colombia.