Is Penn really out? Completely, positively out?
Here's the statement ...
Statement from Maggie Williams
After the events of the last few days, Mark Penn has asked to give up his role as Chief Strategist of the Clinton Campaign; Mark, and Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, Inc. will continue to provide polling and advice to the campaign.
Geoff Garin and Howard Wolfson will coordinate the campaign's strategic message team going forward.
The campaign statement says Geoff Garin and Howard Wolfson are taking over strategy and message. But Garin's a pollster. So the logic of the situation says he's taking over the polling. But it doesn't actually say that. Meanwhile the statement does conspicuously go out of its way to say that Penn and his firm will not only keep doing polling but also keep advising the campaign.
I'm going to have to wait to hear from some of my DC Dem consultant/polling community friends to get more of a feel for what happened here. Because if he was really sacked, the sacking announcement sort of reads like he helped draft it.
When you figure how much grief this swaggering oaf has caused the Clinton campaign, if you're going to can him you'd think you would want to present it as something of a clean break, even if in the background some ties might actually remain. Yet the statement seems to have been massaged in such a way as to leave the murkiest of impressions.