October 29, 2008
McCain’s Top 3 Mistakes
Today, Mr. Greg Schneiders who was Deputy Assistant to the President for Communications in the Carter White House – speechwriting and communication strategy – talked to us about branding and marketing of Presidential candidates. Some of the interesting things to note if you want to take over the country (hint, hint, Anwar Ibrahim.. or Najib Razak..):
“You want to allow people to be able to imagine you as President.”
This is what Obama did, and all three Presidential debates helped him. He was always at ease and cool, even when McCain was attacking him. In the first debate, McCain did not even look at him squarely in the eye. In terms of physique, McCain is old and bent (no fault of his, he is old of course and had severe injuries when a prisoner of war, so his arms can’t fold properly and neither can he do up his own tie), whilst Obama at 48 is energetic, tall and strapping, emanating new life in his very being. But all these aside, McCain could have very well rode on his own personality of stability and comfort, things that Americans actually love. Instead, he made 3 big boo-boos, according to Schneiders. These are:
- Sarah Palin: Palin, oh Palin. Instead of the capable Alaskan Governor she was known by, the campaign turned her into a bimbo who understood foreign policy from her window looking over to Russia, moose-shootin’, lass who allowed campaign money to be spent lavishly on her wardrobe. “Is she doing more harm than good” to McCain’s campaign is what everyone is asking in the final few days.
- Deciding to go back to DC to “help with the economic crisis” and almost missing the 1st Presidential Debate. Instead, Obama just acted cool about the whole thing, and used it to his advantage even. The President of the United States, he said, must be able to handle more than one thing at a time. Simultaneous task-juggling was what he could do, and millions of Americans across the country would have seen him doing so with not so much as a quiver in his voice.
- Joe the Plumber – When “Joe the Plumber” (he’s not even a plumber, really – just works in a plumbing company) was introduced in the Presidential Debate, it may have been relevant and even unique to introduce an actual person, but the Washington critics are saying he has oversimplified the economic situation. Further, he keeps on raising the issue of Joe even today. No sophistication of argument. Repeating it over the TV ads may be shooting himself in the foot.
Obama has a strong sense of self, confident and comfortable in his own skin, and everyone can see this plainly. To be a leader, it is said that you have to know yourself first, and know what you are after.
Americans have had Obama screened in their living rooms for so long that they can see this for themselves. Seven days to go, and McCain seems to be losing ground… (but you can never tell, things change quickly in the final days!)
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