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Hillary Pollster’s Pro-Lefty Theory

Mark Penn writes a book, focus-groups it, too.


Mark Penn serves as the chief strategist to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, runs global PR megafirm Burson-Marsteller, and is recognized as a high priest of that Washington religion, the poll. So he wasn’t going to let the publisher of his upcoming book, Microtrends, slap an image of a snowball on the cover just because they liked the way it looked. He put together a focus group of about 200 book buyers to choose a cover image for him, and the snowball “really died in the testing,” Penn says. “A dud.” Now there’s a magnifying glass on there instead. Another dud: Minitrends, a potential title. The 425-page book took him only about five months to write—“Most of it was in my head”—and Penn claims his most startling discovery was finding out that there are a lot more left-handed people around today than in Victorian times. In the book, he ventures that being a southpaw “could mean more executive greatness,” and notes that, Dubya aside, every president since Jimmy Carter has been left-handed. So did he know Obama was a lefty? “No, but we’ve had a lot of candidates that are.” Hillary, on the other hand, is a righty.

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