GQ: Mark Penn On Why She Lost

So let's talk about sexism. Where did you see it? …From the beginning, I thought she would get a tremendous amount of support from women. Women are 54 percent of the electorate. For all the talk about more young people coming out? More women came out. Millions more women came out than ever before. It was the largest increase. They're really energized. But you know, at the time that Obama said, you know, "She's playing the gender card," the media played into that, you know? She wasn't playing the gender card. If anything, there was a lot of other stuff going on here. Not from the Obama campaign, but just in society generally. And I think Chris Matthews owed her a major apology, and eventually delivered one. The media had been outrageous.

You mean Matthews's comment about "The reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around"? Right. And the kind of nutcracker dolls you could find at the airports. You know, the kind of stuff that would just never be allowed against anyone else was almost commonplace against Hillary. And I think, actually, after New Hampshire, women woke up to that. They supported her from that time on very solidly. And I think they saw her as both qualified for president and their champion, and I think that they became increasingly upset at the media over time. I think the media's got a lot of damage to repair with the women in this country.

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Umm, Bosnian snipers? Bosnia hurt. I think that it was, again, just an example of the mistakes she made as a candidate. I think it eventually died. Remember, see, this is why, when you come back to moments—even New Hampshire—that made a difference for her, they're not about weakness, they're about inner strength. And so I think that, at the end of the campaign, she has broken through here on this question of inauthenticity, and they see her as a true champion for causes that she's fought for. And it took them a long time to see that.

But how do you explain the snipers thing? And not just saying it once, but saying it a few more times? I think she just made a mistake. Look, she clearly remembered something, right? She remembered that there had been a threat. And sometimes I'm astounded by the number of things that she has to remember right. She has to remember every policy, everything she's ever done. I mean, look, it's easy when you— When you don't have a thirty-five-year record, you don't have to remember much. When you've got a thirty-five-year record, you can be held accountable for every single second.

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When you talk about the media and the treatment of her, you know, part of it—in the beginning of the campaign, back when it seemed like she was the inevitable nominee—she was really distant from the press. Don't you think that had something to do with the fact that the press fell in love with Obama? Well…no. [laughs] The press fell in love with him, period.

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