Eight Lessons for the Presidential Debates
What are the key dos and don'ts the candidates should remember when campaigning for the White House?
- By Kenneth C. Davis
- Smithsonian.com, October 03, 2012
Admiral James Stockdale was a highly decorated navy pilot who had been a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam along with future GOP presidential candidate Senator John McCain. When first named Ross Perot’s running mate in 1992, Stockdale was a “place holder” to qualify Perot for ballots until a more experienced running mate was found. But Perot stuck with the admiral, who attempted to introduce himself to a national audience by asking, “Who Am I? Why I am here?” His follow-up statement, “I am not a politician” got lost and he seemed befuddled. His gambit made Admiral Stockdale fodder for “Saturday Night Live.”
But Stockdale, who died in 2005 at age 81, later wrote defiantly that he had chosen his words that night very deliberately, inspired by the Stoic philosophy of rigorous self-discipline and individual responsibility that helped him survive four years in solitary confinement. His erudition was lost on late night comics.