The Fallen: Lessons of Bachmann #2

In a previous video I noted how Michelle Bachmann forced Tim Pawlenty to exit the race early by bettering him in the Iowa Straw Poll.

So what derailed her campaign? One was the candidacy of a better funded and more formidable candidate named Rick Perry who announced his candidacy in South Carolina the same day Bachmann won the Straw Poll. It stole some of Bachmann’s thunder, and deprived her of the fundraising boost she had every right to expect. We’ll talk more about that later.

She might have survived Perry but for some mistakes that could have been avoided.

Voters don’t expect candidates to know everything, and they know that candidates are human and occasionally make mistakes. But Bachmann made too many—so many that her gaffes overwhelmed her message. That cost her support, conservative money and the help of influential conservatives. What were the gaffes? Asserting that the founding fathers ended slavery. Bemoaning the rising power of the Soviet Union, which crumbled more than 20 years ago. Asserting that President Obama has drained the Strategic Oil Reserve. He hadn’t. Wishing Elvis a happy birthday on the anniversary of his death. Asserting that the HPV vaccine causes mental retardation, a fact disputed by the medical community. These were just a few of the many.

And therein lies the lesson. Candidates must be disciplined. Candidates for President are expected to know what they are talking about. And candidates who make repeated factual mistakes on the campaign trail will soon find the gaffes getting in the way of their message. Too many gaffes and the mistakes become your message.

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.

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