Charlie Crist has a new backer, Mark Penn, and he used to be one of the closest and most powerful advisers to Bill and Hillary Clinton. In fact, as the chief pollster and senior adviser for Hillary's 2008 presidential run, he is blamed for some of the worst tendancies of that campaign.
Is this a sign that more Democratic insiders are ready to throw their support behind independent Crist, or is this one anomaly that Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek (or, hell, Jeff Greene) should be happy he doesn't have to deal with?
Penn and his wife, Nancy Jacobson, will host a $4,800-per-person fundraiser in their home for Crist this Wednesday in Washington, according to the Buzz.
Penn came to prominence when he became a close adviser to Bill Clinton after the Democrats suffered a major electoral defeat during the 1994 midterm elections. He's cited as one of the most influential pollsters to catch the ear of a U.S. president. His polls and advice led to some of Clinton's most controversial political moves, including letting the federal government shut down for 21 days. In fact, when the Bush administration said it didn't pay attention to polls, it was probably a slight against Clinton's reliance on Penn's poll work.
Penn then went to work on Hillary's two Senate races and eventually became a senior adviser and chief pollster for her 2008 presidential run. He is credited with a lot of major fails in that campaign, including most of the negative attacks on Barack Obama and those ridiculous "3 a.m. phone call ads." Everyone else in the campaign pretty much hated him, and he was ousted before the election.
He's also the CEO of public relations megafirm Burson-Marsteller, which Rachel Maddow hates so very, very much for being the most unabashedly evil PR firm in the history of the world:
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"Ironic that Kendrick Meek worked his tail off for John Kerry -- whose media consultant Tad Devine is now helping Jeff Greene -- and Clinton, whose top consultant is helping Crist," laments the Buzz, but maybe this is one Democratic insider Meek should be glad he doesn't have the backing of.