Mark, Mark, Mark …

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April 3, 2008 10:30 p.m.

Just out from the Wall Street Journal

Hillary Clinton’s chief campaign strategist met with Colombia’s ambassador to the U.S. on Monday to discuss a bilateral free-trade agreement, a pact the presidential candidate opposes.

Attendance by the adviser, Mark Penn, was confirmed by two Colombian officials. He wasn’t there in his campaign role, but in his separate job as chief executive of Burson-Marsteller Worldwide, an international communications and lobbying firm.

The firm has a contract with the South American nation to help promote congressional approval of the trade deal, among other things, according to filings with the Justice Department.

There are so many reasons why candidates should be paying Mark Penn to stay as far away from their campaigns as possible. But this is yet another. Having your key campaign advisor also be an international man of mystery-cum-PR-lobbyist-cheeseball is fairly problematic. But for Hillary’s sake, when her political future is on the line in a state like Pennsylvania, wracked by the loss of industrial jobs for decades, you think he could have waited a few more weeks before prancing off to help get a new free trade pact passed?

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