Friday, December 21, 2007

What Now? 

If accurate, this article raises an interesting problem . What does a candidate do when he or she becomes an issue for the wrong reasons? There are two candidates now in the race for president who have become media fodder because of backgrounds or affiliations. Both are dropping in the polls. In the ruthless spotlight of political campaigning, it is hard to influence journalists once they have turned on a person. This is true as well away from the campaign trail. Note the number of CEOs who haven't recovered once critical stories about them appear.

I had written earlier that it seemed a poor step to try to "humanize" a candidate who had already spent many hours meeting voters. It seemed then and now that the candidate had been over-programmed. On the other hand, maybe the candidate is at heart an overly controlled personality who distances people. Some candidates like Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan had attractive personalities. Others like Jimmy Carter or the current president were less so. They all reached the highest office.

There is a luck in campaigning that goes beyond PR tactics. One can do everything right and lose or bumble and win. There is no particular reason for it although commentators work hard to find one. It is a useful reminder to PR practitioners that message and media control only extend so far. After that, individuals decide for themselves, and there is little one can do.


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