Why a debate is different than a campaign stop

The presidential debate showed a different side of both Barack Obama and John McCain than I had ever seen before. This is probably because the debate environment is closer to what an executive experiences on the job has to deal with as opposed to campaigning and interviews which are more like sales situations.

Barack Obama is a gifted speaker and has the ability to arouse an audience and to get others to follow his dreams. He is an incredibly persuasive orator and his rapid rise to political prominence reflects that ability.

John McCain is no salesman and on the campaign trail his speeches have not seemed inspiring, only reassuring us that he means well. Until Sarah Palin joined his campaign, there was no sizzle. A sales campaign without sizzle is a non-event.

A live, in-person debate is much more like the kind of challenge executives face every day in the business world and in the political world. Courage and the confidence that comes from actual experience are essential for handling pressure and making decisions when there is a lot at stake.

There are no retakes or Photoshopping in real life situations. In a presidential debate, as in real life, your opposition can see you sweat and every tremor and bit of nervousness is there for all to see. There is no provision for a "Do Over" call. What goes down in a crunch situation is there for all to see.

In last night’s debate John McCain’s experience served him well. Barack Obama’s obvious brilliance and oratorical ability were on display and were tested to the fullest. Only the voters can decide which man is the better choice to be President of the United States for the next four years.

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