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Did Mark Penn Swiftboat Google?

Mark Penn was chief strategist and pollster for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2008
Mark Penn was chief strategist and pollster for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2008Photograph by Win McNamee/Getty Images

In July, Microsoft announced it was hiring Mark Penn—a longtime Democratic operative, pollster, and corporate strategist—to join the company in a newly created role, leading a “small interdisciplinary team,” focused on consumer initiatives that would report directly to Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer. At the time, Penn told reporters his first priority would be to focus on Microsoft’s search engine, Bing.

Fast-forward four months.