by D. Cupples | Sometimes, it would be nice if Hillary Clinton's campaign "strategist" Mark Penn would diligently engage in a moment of silence. Make that six weeks of silence.
According to a USA Today blog, Mr. Penn said that Barack Obama "really can't win the general election." Actually, Mr. Penn didn't make a Kreskin-esque pronouncement, but he should have known that his statement would cause trouble. Here's the fuller version of what he said, according to the recording that USA Today had embedded in the blog post:
"We believe this [the Pennsylvania primary] will again show that Hillary Clinton is ready to win and that Senator Obama really can't win the general election."
Neither the statement (on its face) nor the sentiment is outrageous or controversial. Of course the Clinton campaign believes that Hillary is more likely to win the general election (if it makes it that far) -- just as Obama's campaign likely believes that Obama would win. otherwise, we'd have heard the sound of tents folding.
That aside, Mr. Penn should understand the media well enough to know that reporters (and bloggers) often prefer snippets of quotes to larger chunks -- especially during a contentious campaign that's fueling hockey-game headlines.
Mr. Penn should understand that instead of quoting his whole sentence, the media would quote just enough of it to make Penn sound arrogant and silly, just enough to bait the Obama campaign into responding.
This does not reflect well on Hillary's campaign, who is already facing general unfriendliness from the media.
Please, would media people re-aim the spotlight onto things like our economy, health care, wars, contractor fraud, energy independence, corporate fraud....
Thanks to Mr. Penn, Memeorandum has plenty of commentary: The Moderate Voice, Balloon Juice, The Times-Tribune, NPR, AMERICAblog, National Post, Booman Tribune, Scripting News, TPM Election Central, Wonkette, TalkLeft, Donklephant, The Impolitic, Jules Crittenden, Don Surber and The Page
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