April 7, CNN

Sen. Hillary Clinton's chief presidential campaign strategist is quitting his post amid criticism of his public relations firm's contacts with the Colombian government over a pending free-trade deal, Clinton's campaign announced.

Mark Penn and his political consulting firm will continue advise the New York senator's Democratic presidential bid, but Penn will give up his job as chief strategist, campaign manager Maggie Williams said.

"After the events of the last few days, Mark Penn has asked to give up his role as chief strategist of the Clinton campaign," Williams said.

Clinton did not answer reporters' questions about Penn's exit during a campaign stop in New Mexico on Sunday.

Penn is CEO of public relations giant Burston Marsteller and is president of Penn, Schoen and Berland, his political consulting firm.

Friday, he acknowledged he had met with the Colombian ambassador to the United States earlier in the week in his role as Burston Marsteller's chief to discuss the pending U.S.-Colombia trade pact, which Clinton has criticized on the campaign trail.

Penn called the meeting "an error in judgment that will not be repeated," and apologized. That prompted Colombia's government to fire the company Saturday, calling the remarks "a lack of respect to Colombians."

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photo: Mark Penn will continue to advise Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign (Getty Images)