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Clintons Silent On Mark Penn Role

This is why everyone loves dealing with the Clinton press office.

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I emailed Clinton spokesman Matt McKenna to ask if controversial pollster Mark Penn is again advising the Clintons, as a Democratic strategist told BuzzFeed Penn had said. The response:

(McKenna's email address and the name of a reporter for a competing outlet, who had presumably been asking similar questions and was copied on the chain, have been redacted. The answer to the question is just absent.)

Penn was a key architect of Bill Clinton's 1996 victory and of Hillary Clinton's 2000 Senate win. He was ousted from her turbulent 2008 presidential campaign, and has many enemies among her former aides.

Win McNamee / Getty Images

Penn, seen here in New Hampshire in 2008, didn't respond to an inquiry about whether he is "back" in Hillaryland.

Some former Clinton aides say they won't work for a 2016 campaign if Penn has a major role. There would be "great rejoicing" if Penn returned," one old foe, Paul Begala, told BuzzFeed. "The problem is the rejoicing would be among Republicans."

Says a top Democrat: "There are 2 constituencies: There's a whole lot of political professionals who think Penn was a big problem in her last campaign, but there's another constituency of Bill and Hillary Clinton who may feel otherwise."

Ben Smith is the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed and is based in New York.

Contact Ben Smith at

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