Mark Penn Is Not Out

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Two sources confirm Marc Ambinder’s scoop that Penn was on the campaign’s message-of-the-day call this morning, and was involved in debate preparation this afternoon.

UPDATE: Huffpost listened to audio of Penn’s conference call today with Burson-Marsteller’s managing directors. Key quotes:

“I think you’ve heard that I made the decision to step down as chief strategist of the Clinton campaign. Penn Schoen and Berland is going to continue to poll for it and I’ll continue to play a role advising Senator Clinton and former President Clinton as well as the rest of the leadership of the campaign,” he said.

Later, he added: “The title, the position of chief strategist tended to be one that drew a tremendous amount of attention. And, number two, yes, I will have more time. We will continue – Penn and Schoen will continue to do the polling and I will be advising, but the net of it will still be that I will have more time than I otherwise would have had so that definitely is going to be the case.”

So, let me see if I’ve got this straight: He’s still with the campaign, but he will now have more time to do MORE of the kind of work that created a conflict in the first place. Something tells me Clinton’s organized labor supporters are not going to like this. Rather than putting the story to rest with the announcement that Penn’s role has been reduced, as the campaign had hoped, this guarantees the saga continues. Oy.