The fourth in a series of spin room interviews following this weekend’s debates.

MANCHESTER, N.H., 1:55 a.m. — A few months ago, Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 was the “inevitable” candidate.

Not anymore. And that puts Mark Penn, her chief strategist, in a precarious position.

But fret not, Penn says. Speaking to reporters this weekend, he offered nothing but confidence in Clinton’s prospects, even as polls place Iowa caucus winner Barack Obama far ahead among New Hampshire voters.

Just look at Obama’s record, he said. Then see whether he speaks for change.

“You’ll begin to find the contradictions,” Penn said. “When you do that, I think that this very powerful thought that [Senator Clinton] laid out — that it’s not just about what you say, but it’s about what you do and the actions you take — will catch fire here, and that will change the dynamic of this race.”

“I think it’s time,” he said, “that we focus on the actions.”

— Thomas Kaplan