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Smith Reports on the Greenberg-Penn Feud

Topics: Dispatches from the War Room , Mark Penn , Stan Greenberg

Over at Politico, Ben Smith picks up the story of the Greenberg-Penn feud:

Greenberg’s new book ups the stakes. He argues that Penn played dirty inside the Blair campaign, tweaking the questions and introductions in his polls to produce results that favored his “mindless, fixed theory.” Through “biased wording,” Greenberg writes, “the tests were rigged.”

Penn fired back Monday on a polling website and in an interview with Politico, calling Greenberg’s charges of rigging “ludicrous,” his strategic theories “unsubstantiated,” and his attack the product of “sour grapes.”

The spat between the two men comes, perhaps not coincidentally, as Greenberg is selling his new book, Dispatches from the War Room. Their dispute offers a behind the scenes glimpse into the big-ego, big-bucks world of top-shelf political consulting, where franchises and reputations are made being the kingpin in a presidential campaign.

The small fraternity of top Democratic pollsters watched the fracas with amazement and amusement Monday, and sniped from the sidelines.

“This is ridiculous – this isn’t about polling and strategy,” said one, describing it as “a pissing match” that will, incidentally, “sell books.”

On a somewhat related and personal note, we will be back to other topics soon. I'm still depleted from a 24-hour viral bug that hit me yesterday, so apologies for less productivity than usual over the last two days.

 

Comments
Emily:

What a hoot! Mark Penn fabricating poll results? Hiding data? Taking all the credit? Gambling at Rick's Cafe? I am shocked.

The funniest thing is that years later, including in his reply to Greenberg, Penn takes credit for the "Forward, not back" theme for the Blair campaign with an abolutely straight face.

As reported in The Independent, and many other places, that line was essentially lifted from an episode of The Simpsons:

"Thursday, 28 February 2008
Blair, Hillary, and Kang from the Simpsons
By John Rentoul

"More trouble for Hillary Clinton's campaign. Her consultant, Mark Penn, boasts that he worked for Labour in the 2005 election. Well, that was a win. But of what single contribution is he most proud?

"'I have won about 70 major elections around the world, including many presidents, and I devised the simple message for Tony Blair in his last successful campaign: "Forward, Not Back'".

"And there was I thinking it was the work of supreme post-ironist such as Peter Mandelson. Not only is it one of the worst slogans ever devised, though, it is not even original.


"Christopher Orr, an American blogger, points out that it was used by Kang, the extraterrestrial, in his 1996 run for the US presidency on "The Simpsons":

"'We must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.'"

Her's the link to the article, which can link you to the epsode:
http://blogs.independent.co.uk/openhouse/2008/02/why-hillary-is.html

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