Penn Strategy Memo for New Hampshire, December 30, 2007
On the eve of the Iowa caucus, the race was too close to call. In this memo, Penn ranked the “six potential scenarios coming out of Iowa” in order of preference. The best had Clinton winning and Obama finishing third. The worst-case scenario had Obama on top and Clinton in third—which ended up being the result. Penn laid out options for how the campaign might respond, including attacks on Obama and Edwards.
Patti Solis Doyle Welcomes Her Eventual Successor, January 13, 2008
In the wake her Iowa loss, Clinton chose not to fire anyone. Instead, she added another layer of advisers, including Maggie Williams, her former chief of staff. In this email, Patti Solis Doyle, Clinton’s embattled campaign manager, welcomes the woman who soon succeeded her.
"Move Your Cars!"
A memo to the entire D.C. staff.
Guy Cecil Memo Projecting Clinton’s Super Tuesday Performance, January 21, 2008
With the February 5 primaries just ahead, senior adviser Guy Cecil circulated this targeting memo to staffers. While Clinton had once expected to wrap up the nomination on Super Tuesday, Cecil recognized just how imperiled her candidacy was as that fateful date loomed. Nevertheless, he predicted that she could net 58 delegates.
Internal targeting projections for February 5th states, January 21, 2008
Harold Ickes post-Super Tuesday strategy, February 4, 2008
In this strategy memo on the eve of Super Tuesday, Harold Ickes surveyed the grim landscape ahead. Having cut the polling budget for many February 5 states, the campaign was essentially flying blind. “We are in for a real fight,” Ickes wrote, “but ... given some breaks, it is a fight that she can win.”
Letter of Complaint from the Washington Post’s Managing Editor, Philip Bennett, February 11, 2008
The Clinton staff engaged in epic battles with the press. As the campaign’s fortunes worsened, resentment at the press turned into personal attacks against reporters. In this letter to Clinton’s campaign manager, the Washington Post’s managing editor complained that Phil Singer, a senior Clinton spokesman, was spreading malicious—and false—rumors about a Post reporter to one of her own colleagues.
Penn Strategy Memo, March 5, 2008
On the heels of critical wins in Texas and Ohio, Penn continued pushing the ideas of “strength” and “leadership.” He worried that white male voters were “steadily eroding” and railed against the idea of showcasing Clinton’s softer side. “The idea,” he wrote, “that this can be won all on smiles, emotions, and empathy is simply wrong.”
Robert Barnett Email to Clinton and senior staff, March 6, 2008
A Washington wise man loses his cool.
Penn’s “Path to Victory,” March 30, 2008
After death-defying wins in Texas and Ohio, Mark Penn circulated his “Path to Victory,” which included portraying Obama as “a doomsday scenario.” He chided his adversaries for their timidity about attacking Obama’s pastor, Reverand Jeremiah Wright, Jr. “Many people,” Penn wrote, “believe under the surface that 20 years sitting there with Goddamn America would make him unelectable by itself.”