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2008 Presidential Campaign

Question: Who is your choice for President?
Hillary Clinton
Rudy Guiliani
Barack Obama
John Edwards
Mitt Romney
Ron Paul
Dennis Kucinich
Fred Thompson
John McCain
Bill Richardson
Joe Biden
Chris Dodd
Mike Huckabee
Tom Tancredo
Mike Gravel
Ralph Nader

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Author Topic: 2008 Presidential Campaign  (Read 780 times)
Superhero Member
Posts: 41646

« Reply #30 on: June 27, 2008, 12:07:39 pm »

Use the Godfather Test

Political pollsters love the beer-buddy question namely, to ask voters which candidate they'd most want to hang out with over a couple of cold ones or a cup of coffee. But I prefer to use the Godfather (or Godmother) Test.

What that means: Pick a candidate as if your child's life depended on it. While liking the politician should be part of your thought process, having a Best Pal in the Oval Office isn't enough. The decisions made by the next President will help determine whether your children will have to fight in wars, how dependent they'll be on foreign oil, and whether Medicare and Social Security will be there when they retire. Vote for the candidate who has the competence and character to guide your child and the country.

Find Out What Your Friends and Family Really Think

In addition to getting news from the TV, try to check out a solid newspaper every day. It will give you some breadth of coverage about the election and the context of the campaign. And, as you're making up your mind, don't be afraid to engage friends and family in debate. Not surprisingly, I disagree with the old saw that you should never discuss politics at the dinner table (although I do my best not to bore my toddlers). When I worked in politics, the best decisions I ever made came after conversations with my friends. So go at it just try not to pick a fight at every meal.

During the Debates, Focus on What the Candidates Say and Do

Record numbers of viewers tuned in to this year's primary debates and for good reason. They matter. Though face-to-face televised debates are a relatively recent phenomenon (the Kennedy-Nixon debates in 1960 were the first ever), they've been key turning points in just about every campaign since. 

Both Richard Nixon in 1960 and Al Gore in 2000 might have been better off sticking with radio broadcasts. Many observers thought each had won his first televised debate on points, but Nixon was undone by bad makeup that failed to hide his 5 o'clock shadow, and Gore was undercut by reaction shots that caught him sighing and rolling his eyes while George W. Bush was speaking. Viewers were turned off. 

Gerald Ford's bid against Jimmy Carter in 1976 stalled at the second debate, when Ford declared there was "no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe." Meanwhile, Bill Clinton sealed his 1992 victory during a second debate with George H.W. Bush. As Clinton engaged a questioner on the economy, Bush was caught checking his watch. The metaphor stuck.

While nothing in a campaign can match the demands that a President will face in the White House Situation Room, debates can offer a glimpse of how candidates perform when everything's on the line. Watch how they handle the pressure and give extra credit for spontaneity. Are they thinking on their feet or reciting canned talking points? Which one can defuse a difficult moment with humor, recover from a gaffe with grace, or pounce on an opponent's mistake without seeming too mean-spirited?

Wit and showmanship are important. They feed into what political scholar Richard Neustadt considered the most essential Presidential power "the power to persuade."
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Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
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