Mark Penn's spox: Maddow's report unfair, outdated and misleading

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 - 12:30 AM

A spokesman for the p.r. firm run by Mark Penn, Burson Marsteller, is calling Rachel Maddow's description of them tonight inaccurate and misleading.

Maddow singled out Penn's company for having represented the people behind the "1976 Argentian military junta" and "that super creepy Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu."

"They had an American p.r. firm, working for them," Maddow said.

"Burson Marsteller, remember them? The p.r. firm now run by Hillary Clinton's pollster from 2008, Mark Penn, who continues to pop up as a talking head. Burson Marsteller represented those guys. They also represented Indonesia when they were putting down the uprising in East Timor. Three days after 9/11, Saudi Arabia hired Burson Marsteller, I wonder why?"

A spokesman for the Burson Marsteller, said Maddow's piece is misleading, and unfairly tries to tie the company's current leader to former clients that predated him. Penn joined Burson Marsteller in 2005, years after the junta, Indonesia and Saudia Arabian clients contacted the firm. The people cited by Maddow are no longer clients of Burson Marsteller, according to the spokesman.

The news hook of Maddow's piece is the return of Baby Doc to Haiti - the country he and his father terrorized. Doc now employs a former Republican congressman, Bob Barr.

Maddow said the practice of having unsavory, foreign leaders hire American companies who have ties to politicians here is, um, unseemly, at best.

"There is this class of american politicos who build up their rolodex and reputation and D.C. contacts and political capital by participating in American politics," she said, "but then they sell it abroad. They sell all that clout they build up here to the world's scuzziest dictators in the world."

"But it's not just Mark Penn and Bob Barr. This is a big industry," said Maddow.

Maddow criticized Rudy GIuliani for ripping up a $10 million check from a Saudi Prince who was critical of American foreign policy, but later accepting as a client, the Saudi government.


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