The New York Times: Mark Penn participates in Room for Debate blog on Selling Health Care Reform to Voters

The New York Times Room for Debate: Selling Health Care Reform to Voters

Mark Penn participated in The New York Times Room for Debate blog, weighing in on the question of what President Obama needs to do to sell health care reform to the American people.

Cross Those Party Lines
Published July 29, 2009

The biggest problem with health care is that no one agrees on the solution, so people say they support reform but in practice the more they know about any specific answer, the more they have concerns. That is what happened in the ‘90s and what is happening now and why it is so much easier to shoot down a plan than to sell one.

The underlying tension is that 47 million Americans may not have coverage but hundreds of millions do and they worry that the stress and strains of trying to pay for the last 15 percent will cause their coverage to deteriorate or even be rationed as has happened in other countries.

Read Mark’s full post at The New York Times Room for Debate blog

CNN: Mark Penn reviews President Obama’s approval ratings on CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight

Mark says President Obama’s approval numbers are good, considering the tough economy and the fight for healthcare reform. View the video online at the Lou Dobbs Tonight website.

Politico: The Strategy Corner with Mark Penn: End class warfare


Published July 29, 2009

It sounds so simple: Just tax the few to pay for social programs that benefit the many.

Yet no political idea — embodied by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s call to tax the wealthy to cover health care for everyone else — has ever proved more contentious. The country was founded on the principle of unlimited and unbounded opportunity. Despite what poll questions often appear to say, class warfare language, outside the Democratic primary electorate, has always been politically counterproductive, because it divides Americans from one another and from their own aspirations and dreams.

And class warfare could be especially problematic now, considering that many of the Democratic Party’s newest supporters are among the highest-income categories — groups that had previously voted overwhelmingly Republican.

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Fox Business News: Mark Penn on the Health Care Debate

Mark Penn reviews the current health care debate on Fox Business News with Neil Cavuto. Watch the video at Fox Business News.

The Leonard Lopate Show: Mark Penn discusses Microtrends, now available in paperback

Mark Penn was on WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show discussing the ever-splintering subsets or “microtrends” that Americans identify with, including the new microtrends that have emerged since the financial downturn.

Listen to the show below or at

Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column: Lifestyle Inequality: The Habits of American Elites by Mark Penn

Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
From The Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
Published July 16, 2009

There’s always been lots of talk in this country about income inequality, but very little about lifestyle disparities, differences which are pulling American elites farther and farther away from mainstream America.

These disparities can be as profound as any class distinctions related directly to income; they go beyond having a bigger house, a nicer car or fancier vacations. America has always frowned on the idea of an “aristocracy,” but American elites today are increasingly creating their own separate world of activities, removed from the everyday pursuits of average Americans.

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PRWeek: Mark Penn on PRWeek Power 25

Mark Penn ranks #10 on PRWeek’s PR Power List of the 25 most powerful leaders in the industry in 2009.

Mark Penn [’08 rank - #10]
CEO, Burson-Marsteller

Last year wasn’t easy for Mark Penn. His candidate lost the presidential primary, and his actions were publicly cited for the loss of his firm’s client, Colombia. Yet Penn remains resilient. He is active on client work, including pitching key accounts, and he doesn’t shy away from defending the industry. When MSNBC personality Rachel Maddow took Penn and his firm to task for its client roster, including AIG, Penn defended the importance of its services, even to embattled companies, in an internal memo. And despite Hillary Clinton’s defeat, there’s no doubt that Penn will remain politically influential in the future.

Download the PR Power List 2009 (pdf format)

Politico: The Strategy Corner with Mark Penn: The 10 percent unemployment tripwire


Published July 9, 2009

Unless some tough decisions are made soon, rising jobless figures will most likely hit what could be a public opinion and political tripwire: 10 percent unemployment.

If and when the country crosses that line, it will be the No. 1 news story for days, recent stock market gains could recede, and consumer confidence will fall. And whether or not the economic crisis is coming to an end, such a high unemployment level has the potential to undermine the hard-won confidence enjoyed by the Obama administration. The Republicans will quickly claim all we have is more debt and fewer jobs.

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Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column: Smartphoniacs: Addicts of the Information Age by Mark Penn

Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
From The Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
Published July 7, 2009

Among everybody from our leaders to our teenagers, no habit is spreading faster than being connected 24/7 via a smart phone.

Its penetration in the U.S. is estimated at 18%, and it seems that everywhere you turn, people are using their smart phones in new ways and in new places. Samsung recently estimated that it expects 500 million global smart-phone users by 2012. Actual phone calls are becoming extinct compared with handheld texts and email messages — whoever thought people would prefer typing to talking? But the evidence appears to say they do.

This has also given rise to a group of people — the top 10% of smart-phone users — who just can’t stop. They are the smartphoniacs, the true addicts of the information age.

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