They Didn't Have A Plan
Former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta nails the Hillary Clinton campaign. In an interview with the New York Observer, Panetta says of Clinton strategist Mark Penn:
”I never considered him someone who would run a national campaign for the presidency,” he said.
He asserted that Mr. Penn “comes from an old school, like Karl Rove—it’s all about dividing people into smaller groups rather than taking the broader approach that was needed.”
He also praises Barack Obama for capturing the nation's deep yearning for change, and criticizes the Clinton campaign for doing so little with so much money.
Aside from his criticisms of specific people at the top of Mrs. Clinton’s team, he also asserted that the campaign in general had neither created an efficient ground operation nor shown tactical wisdom in its deployment of available resources.
“It seems to me like they rolled the dice on Super Tuesday, thinking that would end it,” he said. “And when it didn’t end it, they didn’t have a plan. And when it came to the caucus states, they did have a plan—which was to ignore them. I think those were serious mistakes.”
And that's the key to the entire fiasco. When Penn said the campaign would end on Super Tuesday, he meant it literally. Because the Clinton team had no plan, whatsoever, for the weeks afterwards. Panetta's also absolutely right about the Clinton campaign's failed ground war. They seemed to think steady polling and big media buys would be enough. They seemingly had no grassroots strategy, at all.
Panetta also says Bill Clinton means well, but needed to be more tightly controlled, and that the campaign failed to take advantage of Hillary Clinton's more informal strengths. As I have argued, people like the real Hillary, when they get to see her; but the campaign over-thought and over-managed her. Which comes back to Mark Penn, who should have been fired at least a month ago.
Panetta says the race isn't over, but admits that winning, now, would be quite the upset.