GQ: Mark Penn On Why She Lost

Do you mean diffusing power? Yeah, diffusing authority. Letting experts in, in different areas. You know, that's why political was Harold Ickes, and you know, Patti was the manager, and Mandy was media. I'm just saying that this was set up as a diffuse organization. And I think, look, again, when you look at it under… Maybe a theory that this kind of creative tension would produce better advice—

What does that tell you about her ability to run the country? I think she'd be great at running the country. I wouldn't interpret how somebody organizes a campaign in terms of how they're gonna run the country.

Why not? Because the average person might think, if she can't run her campaign— Because never confuse running for president with being president.

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What do you say to the critics who think she should have gotten out sooner? No male candidate has ever been told to drop out. Ever.

Are you saying it was sexist that they wanted her out? I just think that no woman has ever—I'm sorry, no candidate has ever been pressured like this, to drop out! Especially someone who's within a couple…a percent. Who's within, you know, a hundred-plus delegates. This is an incredible phenomenon. It's an entirely new phenomenon.

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Highlights from the GQ Interview with Mark Penn (cont.)

At the end of the day, Bill's [Clinton] influence—did it hurt or help…? Look, there's no question that the Obama campaign took comments that could not in any way, shape, or form in an objective reality be seen as racist, and they told surrogates to characterize them that way. And I think that was the… And not only that, but when you look at who was making the comments, people who devoted their lives, you know—President Clinton was there in Little Rock—who devoted their lives to kind of repairing the breach racially in this country, it was doubly, it was really doubly unfair and troubling.

What you've described sounds an awful lot more nasty and ruthless than— …Just because, you know, people think Hillary was more negative than he was doesn't mean in fact that it was the case. Look, I just think, you know, President Clinton was extremely valuable. He was out there seeing people and putting the case for her, you know, day after day. And everyplace he went, she got more votes than she would have.

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Let's talk about the whole vice president thing. Should she be talking about it? Do you think she wants it? Look, I think that's totally gonna be up to Barack Obama and what he wants. And I don't think that she's gonna have any other comment on it. I don't think that it's really appropriate for anybody to talk about. It's Barack Obama's choice. And he's gonna make the choice that he thinks is best for his ticket, for the party, for the country…

But how do you feel about the idea? I think that the two of them together would make an excellent ticket.

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