POLITICS

McAuliffe Tells Penn: Stop Talking To The Press

03/28/2008 02:46 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

For the second time in as many days, a Clinton surrogate bristled at the public infighting involving the campaign's chief strategist Mark Penn.

As Tuesday's primary elections we getting started, Terry McAuliffe, one of Clinton's highest ranking advisors, was asked to respond to recent comments Penn made in which he significantly downplayed his role in the campaign.

"Why are you paying so much money to a guy that's doing nothing but licking stamps?" MSNBC's Joe Scarborough asked jokingly.

"People ought to quit talking to the press," McAuliffe said, before adding, "When we get through with Texas and Ohio, I'll go talk to Maggie Williams, our campaign manager, about that."

On Monday night, on Tucker, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, a Clinton supporter, offered a similar non-endorsement for the campaign's chief strategist.

"I'm not worried about Mark Penn, she said. "We'll deal with him later."

In Monday's Los Angeles Times, Penn sought to distance himself from the Clinton campaign's shortcomings, saying that he had "no direct authority" in the how the Senator ran her race.

"[I'm] an outside message advisor with no campaign staff reporting to me," he told the paper. "I have had no say or involvement in four key areas -- the financial budget and resource allocation, political or organizational sides. Those were the responsibility of Patti Solis Doyle, Harold Ickes and Mike Henry, and they met separately on all matters relating to those areas."

As Scarborough noted in his interview with McAuliffe, Penn had already billed Clinton more than $10 million for consulting, direct mail and other services, a hefty amount for someone who claimed such a minor role in campaign affairs.

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