Politico: Clintonism lives

Politico

By MARK PENN
Published August 25, 2008

For eight years, President Bill Clinton prepared America for the 21st century, restoring optimism and activism to the presidency, redefining America’s role in the world, funneling more money to the poor and underserved while balancing the budget and creating the foundation for the one of the greatest economic expansions since the Industrial Age.

And yet as Barack Obama formally accepts the Democratic nomination, having defeated Hillary Rodham Clinton, people regularly ask whether is Clintonism dead.

No, not by a long shot.

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Politico: Mapping a path to the White House

Politico

By MARK PENN
Published August 19, 2008

During the Super Bowl, the seventh game of the World Series and the “American Idol” finale, Americans can be counted on to sit in front of their television sets. The same is true of the quadrennial political conventions. America is a country that tunes in for a good contest.

This year, the party that wins the battle of the conventions will likely win the election. In the past 60 years, few presidential candidates have overcome negative poll numbers taken after the conventions. While races have gotten closer and debates have had an effect, nothing in the months between convention and election has swayed the voters’ preferences.

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Politico: Negative ads: They really do work

Politico

By MARK PENN
Published August 11, 2008

Clever negative advertising works. That is reality.

The tactic meets with media and pundit disapproval and spawns accusations of negativity, but the reality is that a clever negative ad can be devastatingly effective.

The 2008 presidential race is shaping up to be a close battle, and the tighter it is, the more the advertising will be ratcheted up, by both of the campaigns and the myriad independent groups sure to emerge.

Of course, voters publicly condemn negative advertising and suggest they would never be swayed by it. That was my experience in focus groups more than a decade ago, which found negative advertising to backfire. But Republican consultants such as the late Lee Atwater have used these tactics successfully in campaign after campaign. When reality and research differ, it is the research that is wrong.

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Politico: In WH race, strong is often wrong

Politico

By MARK PENN
Published August 4, 2008

In many recent presidential elections, Americans have had a choice: pick the candidate they think is a stronger leader or pick the candidate they believe is right on the issues. Almost always, they have chosen the stronger leader — even though they have often come to regret that decision.

Strong and wrong or weak and right — that is the choice that Republicans have tried to present to the voters. They will try it again this year; as conditions in the economy worsen and with two wars in the background, Americans are again looking for a tough leader for tough times.

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