POLITICS
09/11/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The (Innocent) Obama Tapes Mark Penn Wanted Released

On Monday evening, the Atlantic Magazine released its long awaited opus on the downfall of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

The piece, titled "The Front-Runner's Fall" was based off of more than 200 internal emails and memos many of which were posted online. And, sure enough, within a matter of minutes one of those documents was causing quite a buzz.

On December 30, 2007, pollster and chief strategist Mark Penn wrote fellow staffers that if it was a two way race with Obama after Iowa, Clinton would best be suited to launch several hypothetical attacks. "[O]n Friday we do a media interviews (sic) and basically say that he is unvetted, discuss his ever-changing positions. Release the tapes. Create immediate pressure that deprives him of oxygen."

The tapes? Or, as Jake Tapper over at ABC wrote: "Release the tapes???? What tapes?"

Could Penn have been referencing the long-rumored "October surprise" that may still be lurking? Was this an admission that the Clinton campaign had shopped around the footage of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, which nearly derailed Obama's candidacy?

Actually, a one-time staffer says, neither.

Asked about "the tapes" a former aide who had direct knowledge of the footage, deflated all the drama from the room.

"These were various tapes we acquired from previous campaigns that showed Obama had flipped positions. Penn was obsessed with these. This actually pretty much played out. One of the tapes aired on ABC News and others were published in the Washington Times."

Sigh. But, did Penn's obsession make a difference"

"No one cared," said the aide.

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