Dennis Culloton, Founder, CEO, and President
The political conventions are in the rear view mirror and the presidential candidates are honing the messages they believe resonate with voters. Developing the right messages started before the Iowa Caucuses so many months ago. Now the candidates are focusing on a handful of swing states and trying to energize voters to their side.
The way to do this is with sharp, tight, memorable—even sticky—ideas and messages.
President Obama appears to have won a bigger post-convention bounce in the polls than his Republican challenger Gov. Romney. It is no coincidence that the Democratic convention included one of former President Bill Clinton’s finest hours. He earned the title Secretary of ‘Splainin’ Stuff at the convention as he broke apart the Republican criticisms of President Obama’s past four years.
President Clinton mixed his encyclopedic knowledge of facts and data points with rhetoric, passion and terrific every-man turns of the phrase. One of his most memorable lines was when he claimed the “Obamacare” Medicare cuts blasted by Republicans are the same as the cuts to Medicare in the budget proposed by Republican U.S. Rep. and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Mr. Clinton said: “It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did.”
He took a complicated, even esoteric budget debate and turned into an easy to understand, unforgettable observation.
The message to be learned is to have your facts and information down cold, but then spend some time and energy making those facts understandable to your audience. Mr. Clinton’s job was to knock down some of the major arguments posed by the Republicans. Regardless of where you stand on the politics or of President Clinton’s legacy, as a substantive speech, it was a masterful performance. Here is a recent report on his reprise of the convention speech on the campaign trail.