“Remember, President Clinton reconnected through Oklahoma, right?” said Penn on Chris Matthews’ Hardball show on Thursday. “And the president right now seems removed. It wasn’t until that speech [after the bombing] that [Clinton] really clicked with the American public. Obama needs a similar” defining moment, according to Penn.
Clinton realized a boost in his popularity ratings after the attack. On the day of the attack, April 19, 1995, Clinton had a 46 percent approval rating. A few days later, after delivering a speech on the attack, a Time/CNN poll revealed his approval had jumped to 60 percent. It subsequently slipped to 42 percent the following month.
Penn is the president of the polling firm Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates. He served as pollster to the president for Bill Clinton and became one of the Clinton’s most prominent and influential advisers. Penn has worked on the election campaigns of Tony Blair, Ed Koch, Menachem Begin, and a number of Latin American political candidates. His consulting firm works for large multinational corporations, including Texaco, AT&T, Ford Motor Company, Merck & Co., Verizon, BP, and McDonald’s. Penn has served as a key strategic adviser to Bill Gates and Microsoft since the mid-1990s.