A Media Guy’s Recommendation to the Presidential Candidates

Phil Cooke
Phil Cooke

Since it appears Mitt Romney has virtually won the GOP race for the nomination, it’s time to focus on the race between him and President Obama for 2012. From now until November, I’ll occasionally write about the candidates from a media perspective, so I’ll start here with a couple of recommendations. This isn’t about ideology, it’s about perception and how the candidates engage the media. Here’s one bit of advice each could use:

Romney: Embrace who you are. You’re a successful businessman who’s doing your best to hide from it. You look totally out of place in those jeans, so just stop wearing them. This is a great case of preaching one thing, and being another. You preach the gospel of innovation, original thinking, taking a risk, rising to the occasion and success. But you’re trying way too hard to look like you’re in a bowling league.

You’re rich. You’re successful. Stop trying to hide it. Embrace it and make it part of your message. Put the coat and tie back on. Look presidential and stop being ashamed about it.

And by the way—anyone who wears blue jeans with a dry-cleaning crease, has no business wearing jeans at all.

Obama: Stop looking for an enemy. So many other presidents were unifiers. They inspired people. They brought us together. But you can’t give a speech without blaming someone or pointing out an enemy. Suck it up. Be the man. And if you’re going to nail the Supreme Court like you did last week, at least get your facts straight. Making up stuff doesn’t help your cause. You were a constitutional law professor for crying out loud.

Ronald Reagan was brilliant at inspiring people to come together for a great cause. John F. Kennedy understood the power of grace. They looked at us eye to eye and made us believe we could be so much better. You look down to us and tell us our problems are someone else’s fault.

Blame doesn’t solve anything. Make us rise to the occasion.


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