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Media training for political candidates

By Suzanne Spurgeon  October 14, 2010

It's been an ugly election season.  In California we have been bombarded with one negative campaign ad after another. From Meg Whitman's "housekeeper gate" to Jerry Brown's "she's a whore" controversy, voters are left wondering if anyone is telling the truth.  To be sure every major candidate has had some media training.  Those who are more skilled at media interviews and in debate settings, have a definite advantage.  And then there's Christine O'Donnell, the Republican Senate hopeful in Delaware.  It's hard to respond to allegations you are a witch, while being the brunt of jokes offered up nightly by Leno, Letterman and Stewart.  But it wasn't witchcraft that tripped up O'Donnell in her debate against Chris Coons.  She was asked a "gotcha question" about Supreme Court decisions and she had no idea how to respond.  It was a deer in headlights moment.  She should have been prepped for these types of questions.  

In the Arizona and New York gubernatorial races, homosexuality has become an issue. Responding to media request for health records on Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, an aide suggested they look into old reports that her challenger is gay.  In New York, candidate Carl Paladino has demonized homosexuals.  Is this really what voters want to hear about just weeks before the election? Paladino went face to face with Matt Lauer over the issue on NBC's Today Show.  Guess the candidate didn't hear what happened to Tom Cruise when he lectured Lauer.  

Media training is only successful when those being trained are willing to take the expert advice that is offered.   

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