Democratic Strategist: President Needs Similar Event To OKC Bombing

Sunday, November 7th 2010, 6:30 pm
By: News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Democratic strategist Mark Penn appeared on MSNBC's Hardball Saturday night and made comments that have stirred controversy across the nation, especially among many Oklahomans.

During the show, Penn discussed ways to improve the plummeting approval ratings for President Obama and compared the situation to the aftermath of the 1994 "Republican Revolution." Penn said it took the Oklahoma City Murrah bombing for President Clinton to "reconnect" with the American People.

"President Clinton reconnected through Oklahoma. Right? And the president right now..." said Mark Penn during the interview.

"Because of the bombing down there," Chris Matthews interjected.

"He seems removed. And it wasn't until that speech that he reclicked with the American public. Obama needs a similar kind of event," Penn said.

Oklahoma City National Memorial Executive Director Kari Watkins said she was shocked by the former chief strategist for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign's comments.

"It's a complete disconnect with the truth. I think it makes for good T.V. but it has no real practical sense. If you look at history, it didn't help President Clinton or President Bush, and why would you ever want the country to go through the trauma this country has endured over terrorist attacks," Watkins said. "I think at the part when you look at his comments, I just think it's really irresponsible."

Watkins said she hopes there was no truth in those comments and there is a different belief at the White House.

"I just have to believe that President Obama and his folks really don't believe that. This is just some pundit trying to make a name for himself," she said.

News 9 political analyst Scott Mitchell said he also believes Penn's entire premise about Clinton was wrong.

"The premise is silly. He didn't reconnect in Oklahoma City. He was in the middle of a massive battle with the new congress, just like this president is, and it's not true. It has nothing to do with what was happening at the time," Mitchell said.

Watkins also said no one should put a terrorist attack out there as a way to save a presidency.

"It doesn't matter if you're Democrat or Republican, black or white, rich or poor, we're all Americans. And in the end, we've got to come together and fight these problems. We have enormous struggles this country is facing, and we've got to figure out how to do it together," Watkins said.