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Mark Penn Speaks

I suspect Noam and I may both have more to say about Penn's long, interesting, blame-dodging GQ interview. (Short version: Blame the political/organizational team, not the message/polling team, i.e. Penn). But here's one very weird thing that jumped out at me:

You’ve been accused of making obscene amounts of money from this campaign. Can you clear that up for us?
Well, people think, you know… The reality is, the way that money’s been reported, all the printing and the postage—you know, 85 percent of the work has been for direct mail, of which almost all that is postage and printing and all that

So when they come out with, like, “Mark Penn was paid $4 million,” 3.4 million of that was postage?
The actual consulting fee is, you know, we received $27,000 a month, which is split between me and Sid Blumenthal [a senior adviser]. So it makes the net around half that.

Wait, Sid makes as much as you?
You know, again, I don’t own these companies, so—

No, really, Sid Blumenthal makes as much as you?
His fee is about the same.

This is pretty difficult to believe--Penn was at the core of the campaign, Blumenthal had a far more marginal role (as far as we know, at least)--and I suspect the explanation may lie with the phrase "actual consulting fee." That was presumably not the only way Penn profited from the campaign. Unless we're supposed to believe he was only earning around $150,000 per year from it.

--Michael Crowley