Another Clinton aide apologizes

April 4, 2008 7:03:38 PM PDT
Hillary Rodham Clinton's chief strategist is apologizing for a recent meeting with a South American diplomat.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Mark Penn met earlier this week with Colombia's ambassador to the U.S.

Colombia wants Congress to pass a free trade agreement signed two years ago by President Alvaro Uribe (oo-REE'-bay) and the Bush Administration. Clinton opposes the agreement. So does rival Barack Obama.

Campaign advisers say Penn's meetings were part of his job as chief executive of a Washington P.R. firm and not connected to the campaign. Colombia is paying Burson-Marsteller $300,000 to lobby for the deal.

But Penn calls the meeting "an error in judgment." He says Clinton's opposition to the deal is "well known" and he did not discuss it with the Colombian ambassador.

A campaign spokesman says Clinton has not discussed the trade deal with Penn.