Bachmann Video: What a Long, Strange Clip It’s Been

 Bachmann Video: What a Long, Strange Clip Its Been

THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for Michele Bachmann.

US Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is a lot of things, but predictable isn’t one of them. The Minnesota Republican has once again made headlines, this time with the unexpected announcement that she won’t seek re-election in 2014.

The Tea Party darling’s reasons for stepping down are murky, and her announcement only made the waters more turbid. The first mistake was in dropping her bombshell via a YouTube video, an indication that she didn’t want to face questions about her decision or her future plans. Then there’s the video itself. Against an odd Chariots of Fire-style musical backdrop, Bachmann begins by rambling about term limits, then launches into a list of reasons she’s not retiring: certainly not because she faces a tough re-election campaign against a candidate she narrowly defeated last year, or because of a federal inquiry into possible misuse of her presidential campaign funds. In the remaining seven minutes of the video, she bashes the Obama administration, slams the “liberal media,” and rattles off a laundry list of issues she’ll continue to support or fight in her remaining 18 months in office.

Political swan song or groundlaying for another presidential bid? It’s impossible to tell. Bachmann says the country is on the wrong track and in the worst shape she’s ever seen, yet there is no opportunity, political or otherwise, that she won’t consider in the future. More than one copy editor must have smiled in appreciation at New York magazine’s headline, “Michele Bachmann Retires as President of Crazyland.”

THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for Michele Bachmann. The Minnesota congresswoman befuddles, per usual.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: If you’re not going to say anything, say it as succinctly as possible. Bachmann announced her retirement, yet her constituents still have no clue why she’s leaving or what the future holds. It may well be that she doesn’t want to reveal all at this time, but a concisely worded press statement issued through her office would have accomplished the same goal without a move that only added to her already bizarre reputation.

To watch the video, click here.

Is Chris Christie Shaping Up for President?

 Is Chris Christie Shaping Up for President?

The PR Verdict: “B” (Good Show) for Chris Christie.

New Jersey governor Chris Christie has been the subject of much political speculation in recent months, with both Democrats and Republicans wondering whether he’ll make a bid for the presidency. The one major obstacle? Christie’s weight. The media constantly debates whether possible health problems might keep him out of the big chair in the Oval Office. Christie has apparently taken on this issue; this past Tuesday, he revealed that he’d secretly had lap band surgery to lose weight.

Christie has been one of the more interesting possibilities as a Republican candidate, both despite and because of his seeming lack of rigid allegiance to his party.Republicans have to like Christie because, well, he’s a Republican. But Democrats like the way he occasionally dances on their side of the floor. No one, however, likes the idea of a President who might develop health problems while in office.

While Christie does not have any of the diseases typically associated with obesity, such as diabetes or hypertension, and has referred to himself as “the healthiest fat guy around,” everyone is aware that at his current weight, Christie is not a presidential contender. Hence, the lap band surgery. It’s less invasive and drastic than conventional weight-loss surgery, and Christie apparently recovered from the procedure over a long weekend – President’s Day weekend, to be exact. Hint, hint.

THE PR VERDICT: “B” (Good Show) for Chris Christie. He’s more willing than a Texan beauty pageant contestant to do what it takes to win.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: When issues are presented repeatedly and chip away at one’s PR, take action. Christie has tried joking his way out of charges that he’s too heavy to be a presidential contender. He tried saying he’s healthy. But when the issue blocking him from serious consideration for candidacy persisted, he took action. When charges won’t go away, they must be dealt with. The loss of an issue is a gain for positive PR. 


Will She, Or Won’t She? Hillary Gets Coy

 Will She, Or Wont She? Hillary Gets Coy

THE PR VERDICT: “A” (PR Perfect) to Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Rodham Clinton was so determined to succeed in her run for president, there were doubts that cooperation between her and the man who would be President, Barack Obama, was even possible. Vice President was out; would she even accept Secretary of State, or would she pack up her toys and go home? Everyone knows the answer to that one, as this week Secretary of State Clinton leaves her post having logged more flight miles than any of her predecessors. Now that her consolation prize post is over, is she setting her laser-beam sights again on the big chair?

There are no indications coming from her directly, though there are enough indications swirling around her to give political pundits much to speculate about. First came a positively chummy interview Sunday past, with Hillary and President Obama on 60 Minutes. When asked if she was considering another run in 2016, Clinton replied, “I don’t think either [Obama] or I can make predictions about what’s going to happen tomorrow or next year.” The interview was seen by many as an endorsement, despite the president’s attempt to laugh that off.

Clinton was more direct during an interview with CNN yesterday, during which she said she had “absolutely no plans to run.” A forthcoming memoir may provide a few more interesting clues – or not. For now, the former First Lady and outgoing Secretary of State will keep everyone wondering whether she’ll try to add the ultimate title to her resume.

THE PR VERDICT: “A” (PR Perfect) to Hillary Clinton. Altogether more intriguing than any other politician.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: Keep people guessing, and you keep people thinking about you. Clinton knows when to give, as she did during her very real testimony on the attack on the American consulate in Libya. She also knows when to withhold, with a blithe smile, as she does whenever she’s asked about another attempt at the presidency. Hillary Rodham Clinton has become a master of giving and withholding information, ensuring that the public, love her or hate her, will snap to attention whenever she speaks. Give a little . . . but not too much, and you’ll get the lion’s share of attention.