Politico: The Strategy Corner with Mark Penn: Turning to the left or to the center?


Published November 17, 2009

Is President Barack Obama governing from the left or from the center? It’s a question no one quite seems to have a clear answer to. The post-ideological positioning that worked so well during the campaign is not proving as effective at holding the electoral coalition together given the mounting pressures of governing.

During the campaign, Obama nodded to the left on the Iraq war and civil liberties, but he also sent signals to the center that he would operate in a generally bipartisan manner, pursue the Afghanistan war vigorously and not raise taxes on 95 percent of all Americans. Centrist voters are looking to see that these promises are kept.

While the White House communications have been stellar overall, the echo chamber out there has left some uncertainty about important issues in the voters’ minds. Is the administration for or against waging the Afghanistan war on an all-out basis, including taking down the Taliban? Are jobs or regulating Wall Street its top priority? Should the insurance drug companies be reined in or an accommodation reached?

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MSNBC Morning Joe: Mark Penn on President Obama’s Iranian policy

Mark Penn participated in a Morning Joe panel prior to President Obama’s statement on Iran’s concealment of a nuclear facility. Mark predicted that foreign policy matters will now take center stage, and it will be a critical time for the Obama administration’s policies in both Iran and Afghanistan.

Watch the video in Windows Media Player:
Part 1 | Part 2

MSNBC: Mark Penn says President Obama is moving toward the center on foreign policy on Morning Joe

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Democratic Strategist Mark Penn discusses how President Obama has tacked to the center on recent foreign policy decisions, including those on Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, and that these decisions have been the key to his high approval ratings with the American people.

Watch the video now at MSNBC