The Democratic primary race is not going as smoothly as Clinton had hoped. She won Iowa by a tiny margin, and she’s expected to lose in New Hampshire’s primary on Tuesday. Now, Politico is reporting on Clinton’s plans for a shake-up of her senior campaign staff.
Campaign chairman John Podesta denied a shake-up was imminent. But the report was damning all the same. The main problem is that the Clintons keep falling back on a galaxy of longtime advisers that include the likes of Sydney Blumenthal and Mark Penn, the effect of which has been to tangle lines of communication and muddle the campaign’s message. We learn that Penn “speaks exclusively” to Bill Clinton outside official channels, and that Hillary, ominously, longs “for a chief strategist in the Mark Penn mold.” This is the Mark Penn who squandered all of Hillary’s advantages when he helped her lose her last presidential campaign to Barack Obama.
At the beginning of the 2016 campaign, Hillary brought on former Obama staffers in what appeared to be an acknowledgment that her circle needed some new blood. But with the latest news, it appears her problems may not come from her staff, but from somewhere closer to home, as David Axelrod was happy to point out.