How Not to Run a News Conference

While this is not meant to be a political blog, I do believe the best politicians are the ones who know how to communicate clearly in plain language that regular people can understand – think Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Businesspeople understand this implicitly. Politicians and businesspeople know that their job, whether it’s to get a vote or win over a customer, is to tell stories.

Telling your story at this point in a campaign is difficult because you’re exhausted and you’ve repeated your key themes to voters and reporters thousands of times. You’re working on very little sleep, you’re eating poorly and you’re getting no exercise whatsoever. It’s at this point — 30 days before the election — that candidates and their staffs make mistakes that sometimes cost them elections.

The video below is a pretty big one made by a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman. Sen. Coleman is in a competitive race in Minnesota against comedian Al Franken of Saturday Night Live fame. I’m not familiar with the details of what the reporters are questioning the Coleman spokesman about, but his answers clearly miss the mark.

If the spokesman has been advised by lawyers to limit his remarks, and that appears to be the case, he never should have called the news conference in the first place. On the face of it, there is nothing objectionable about the questions and the spokesman makes it look like the Senator has something to hide by the way he’s chosen to manage this news conference.

Watch this video and tell me what you think. And if you’re a Minnesotan, I’d be interested in hearing how your local media is reporting this controversy.


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