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Obama’s 5 Rules of Scandal Response

Posted December. 26, 2008 03:57,   


How has U.S. President-elect Barack Obama reacted if a major scandal threatens to hurt him politically?

The U.S. magazine Politico has analyzed Obama’s reaction to the scandal of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who sought to sell Obama’s soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat. The magazine listed “Obama’s five rules of scandal response.”

1) Be transparent, to an extent

As a weapon to prove his innocence, Obama has chosen the principle of transparency. He ordered his advisers to conduct internal investigations.

By doing so, he demonstrated that his team has nothing to hide and conveyed the message that he will run the most transparent presidential transition in history.

2) Don’t let the news cycle dictate the response

Obama demanded Blagojevich’s resignation the day after the governor was arrested on charges of trying to sell the Senate seat. This preemptive action gave no room for the media to attack him, given that Obama endorsed Blagojevich’s bids for the governorship.

3) No freelancing

Obama has forbidden his advisers to contact outsiders without his permission. Under this rule, his advisers received his permission when they met aides to the Illinois governor. Because of this, there is no reason for them to be implicated in the scandal.

4) Aides take hits to protect the boss

Obama’s advisers have made sacrifices to protect the president-elect. His political guru David Axelrod said Obama had a conversation with Blagojevich about filling the Senate seat. In the wake of the scandal, however, Axelrod immediately issued a statement saying, “I was mistaken when I told an interviewer last month that the President-elect has spoken directly to Governor Blagojevich about the Senate vacancy."

5) Shy away from even justified fights

Though Obama’s interest in his Senate successor can be justified, he has consistently said he supported no one for the vacant seat, apparently to leave no room for controversy.

These five responses have been successful. A CNN survey said Wednesday that 82 percent of Americans approve of the way Obama is handling his presidential transition, from 79 percent early this month.