Top Clinton Adviser Mark Penn Blames Money Issues For Defeat

06/16/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Mark Penn New York Times

Perhaps the most frustrating part of losing a close race is thinking about what else you could have done to win. You replay the campaign over and over again in your head. As an adviser to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, I sure do.

But the endless armchair chatter often obscures what actually needed to be done.

The conventional criticisms of Mrs. Clinton's campaign are these: she had no message; she ran just on experience; she should have shown more of her warmer side; she was too negative; President Clinton's campaigning hurt her; and she presented herself as inevitable. It is amazing she got any votes at all.

So let's take on a few of the myths. Even schoolchildren got the message that Mrs. Clinton was ready to be president on Day One. As a result of her campaigning and ads, people saw her as a strong commander in chief, a good steward of the economy and a champion for people who needed one.

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