Last week Hillary Clinton elevated a serious misstep into a disaster that will dog her campaign for months. Today some lessons all candidates running for office can learn from Mrs. Clinton.

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Who picked that backdrop?
A Picasso painting depicting the war-time slaughter of innocents. Oops. Not appropriate for a press conference, or pictures she knew would quickly be moved around the world.

Who picked the clothes she wore? Dark and foreboding. Something better suited to a stern Governess than a candidate, who should have worn something bright and cheerful. Oops.

Who coached her on her sound bites before the press conference?
Clinton essentially said she and she alone will decide what the public learns about her email records. That she and she alone will decide what reporters are allowed to see.
That she doesn’t have to live by the same rules as other public officials. Oops.

Who decided to cut her conference short?
If you are in a swamp, stick with it until the press is tired of asking questions.
Governor Chris Christie took questions for almost two hours when he was hit with the bridge gate scandal.

Who decided that Hillary was done before the press was done?
Clinton’s brief and clipped answers did nothing but raise more questions that were not answered.
All that did was entice the appetite of the fourth estate. Oops.
Within 72 hours the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times published stories that questioned her veracity. That is what happens when the press thinks you are hiding something.

 

Want to Know How to Win an Election?

These are lessons for a seasoned candidate running for office, any candidate learning how to run for office, and those who want to be a political consultant.

1. Pick an appropriate venue with appropriate backdrop.

2. Do not wear funeral attire.

3. Rehearse and practice, until you have formulated an answer to every conceivable and embarrassing question —answers that don’t set off the lie detector.

4. Perhaps most important, avoid situations like this.

If you know a scandal is likely to break, get in front of the story and put it out on your terms.

Sure, it might be a tad ugly. But the alternative is really ugly.

 

Stay tuned for more on the art of running for office and how to win an election.

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Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

How to win an election:

Running for office and knowing how to win an election is a challenge, especially for first time political candidates just learning how to run for office. Discerning the fine points of how to campaign, raise political contributions, and execute a political campaign strategy often requires the help of someone who has served as a political strategist or who has experience as a political consultant.

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