POLITICS

Mark Penn Gives Advice: Negative Ads Work

Yesterday's Atlantic piece on the inner workings of the Hillary Clinton campaign didn't do much for Mark Penn's reputation. On the contrary, it showed him to be an unabashed (and unsuccessful) dirty campaigner. But that doesn't stop Penn from offering some self-congratulatory campaign advice in the Politico:

Clever negative advertising works. That is reality.

The tactic meets with media and pundit disapproval and spawns accusations of negativity, but the reality is that a clever negative ad can be devastatingly effective. ...

Some negative ads crystallize voters' opinions without presenting any new information. That's what was behind John McCain's recent ad equating Barack Obama's celebrity status with that of Paris Hilton -- that viewers would associate the Democrat's leadership with mere celebrity, not substance. Fair or not, as advertising it did its job: It used humor, stuck viewers with memorable images and created a debate, just as Lyndon Johnson's 1964 "Daisy" ad, Walter Mondale's "Red Phone" spot 20 years later and Hillary Rodham Clinton's "3 a.m." commercial in 2008 did.

There's no mention of the memos he wrote pushing Clinton to paint Obama as un-American. But the whole thing can be read here.