Arkansas News: Obama should learn from Clinton says political strategist Mark Penn

February 18, 2010

Obama should learn from Clinton, political strategist says

What the Obama presidency needs now is “a good dose of Clintonism,” the chief strategist for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign said today.

Mark Penn, who first went to work for the Clintons in 1994 when then-President Bill Clinton hired him as an adviser following the Democratic Party’s dramatic losses in that year’s midterm elections, said Obama faces many of the same challenges President Clinton faced 16 years ago.

Clinton bounced back from those losses with “some small things like balancing the budget, reforming welfare and creating 24 million jobs,” Penn said during a talk at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.

Clinton learned from the 1994 losses and began “moving the country to the center in a way that people felt the president was listening to them,” Penn said, adding that Clinton’s successes could be traced back to the fact that he had clearly defined strategies.
“As you recall, President Clinton had a very clear economic strategy,” he said. “Elements of his economic strategy were popular; some were not so popular. He believed in expanding trade, he believed in expanding investment in infrastructure, education — math and science. He believed in closing the federal deficit. Those three elements were a strategy that everybody understood.”

Obama should follow suit, according to Penn…

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