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February 25th, 2008
04:59 PM ET

How much does experience really matter?

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(PHOTO CREDIT : GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

"Ready on Day One?" That's the question posed by a front-page story in USA Today.

The story looks behind the political slogan and makes a startling discovery. None of the three main candidates for the White House is very long on the kind of experience being touted as necessary to run the country. You see, these three have never run anything that amounted to that much. Not a business, not a large corporation, not a state. No governors here, nothing. They are professional politicians whose managerial experience amounts to overseeing their campaigns and managing their offices in the Senate. Although truth be told, they probably all have someone else who actually does both of those things.

In fact, these three candidates have less executive experience than any president in nearly 50 years.

The irony is the candidates who had the most executive experience – Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Bill Richardson – are out of the game already. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is still in it, but probably not for that much longer.

Experts say voters haven't focused on the readiness issue yet, but eventually they will. Maybe that's because so far, the campaign has been all about "change." And, as hungry as voters are for change, there's probably still something to be said for experience. Some former presidents have dealt with some pretty serious stuff just months after taking office – like JFK and the Cuban missile crisis and Harry Truman's decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan.

Here’s my question to you: When it comes to being president, how much does experience really matter?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Jim writes:
Cheney and Rumsfeld had lots of experience. It's the quality and attitude of the president and that of the people who surround him that count. Obama has both the quality and attitude that is needed in the next president of the U.S.

Penny writes:
Experience is crucial! Would you go to an inexperienced doctor, dentist or lawyer? Would you let your child undergo major surgery with an inexperienced surgeon? I don't think so. So why in the world would we even consider letting someone as inexperienced as Obama be in charge of ours and our children’s future?

Daniel from Chicago writes:
Experience is certainly helpful, but it's meaningless if your principles aren't consistent.

Nicki from Detroit writes:
A candidate's "experience" gives us a chance to check out our candidates. We have just spent seven years with a young president who has misused and abused power. Maybe if we had required more experience, we wouldn't be regretting the choice now.

Gina from Racine, Wisconsin writes:
Jack, I think good judgment, diplomacy and the ability to speak to people and bring them together trumps any type of "experience" that McCain or Hillary can boast. After all......most of their experience is the experience of taking handouts from lobbyists.

Michael writes:
I don't know about experience. All I know is that I want a president who is brilliant and wise and surrounds himself with brilliant and wise people, with experience, who are allowed to disagree.


Filed under: 2008 Election
soundoff (224 Responses)
  1. Gina Racine, Wisconsin

    Jack,

    I think good judgement, diplomacy and the ability to speak to people and bring them together trumps any type of "experience" that McCain or Hillary can boast. After all......most of their experience is the experience of taking hand outs from lobbyists.

    February 25, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  2. Rex in Portland, Ore.

    Some of the presidents we have elected have had experience being president. That is, arguably, the only experience that counts. But then again there is bush (no capital, dammit).

    February 25, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  3. stan

    jack, apparently not much, voters are choosing, unity over division and good judgement is now as important as any washington experience!

    February 25, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  4. Nicki, Detroit

    A candidate's "experience" gives us a chance to check out our candidates. We have just spent seven years with a young president who has misused and abused power. Maybe if we had required more experience, we wouldn't be regretting the choice now.

    February 25, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  5. RENEA,PLYMOUTH.MI

    IF EXPERINCE WAS SUCH GOOD THING WASHINGTON WOULD NOT BE IN MESS IT IS NOW!

    February 25, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  6. Tina Tx

    Experience does not matter. Look at Bush. He has none and Cheney is really the Prez and dictates to Bush and what to do.

    February 25, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  7. Jim Galvin

    Cheyney and Rumsfeld had lots of experience.

    It's the quality and attitude of the president and that of the people who surround him that count.

    Obama has both the quality and attitude that is needed in the next President of the U.S.A.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  8. Carly Grayson from Monterey, TN

    Jack, I believe only a Vice President or former VP can truly claim experience; Al Gore anyone???

    February 25, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  9. doug gengler

    honesty far over powers experience. look what 7+ years of experience got us. decisions at the presidential level requires relying on the quality staff you surround yourself with.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  10. John Kish

    I don't give a hoot about experience, because the records of these candidates are all painted in grey and cherry picked before being spoonfed to us anyway.
    What I want to know is what they planning to do when they get to the Whitehouse.
    Will any of them seek criminal charges against Dick Cheney, George Bush, and Haliberton for the tons and tons of $100 dollar bills sent to Iraq, that are now lost and unaccounted for?
    Keep up the good work!
    John Kish
    Columbia, MO

    February 25, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  11. Ron

    If you keep pushing Obama, your going to find out and it will be bad for everyone!

    February 25, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  12. Terry, Chandler AZ

    Experience does not matter much. To be an effective leader a president must surround himself with smart people who really care about the future of the country. The president must also know how to inspire and excite people. Obama inspires and I have faith he will surround himself, unlike the current president, with quality people.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  13. Dexter from Atlanta

    Let's see.....Bill Cinton didn't have a ton of experience but he got elected in '92. If I remember correctly, Clinton made a comment during the DNC that experience is overrated, especially if those with all the experience are doing the same things. Clinton called this type of thinking "insane".

    Also, current president George Bush didn't have a lot of experience but he chea–, uh, got elected. Nevermind....that was a bad example.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  14. Daniel in Chicago, Illionis

    Experience is certainly helpful, but it's meaningless if your principles aren't consistent.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  15. Karen P

    There's Obama's good experience and judgment then there's Hillary's bad experience and corruption.

    Obama shows dignity, the ability to bring parties and people together to GET SOME WORK ACCOMPLISHED IN CONGRESS and can bring respect from foreign leaders.

    Obama has charisma and character...Hillary needs some Prozac

    February 25, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  16. Dia, Dayton, Ohio

    I don't see any candidate who has the experience to be president, because none of them has been president before. It is impossible to have a president who has experience in all the issues facing the nation. That is why a president needs a great vision about what he or she wants to do, and then surrounds himself or herself with people who have expertise. I want somebody to tell me what experience Bill Clinton or Bush 43 had on foreign policy before taking office. I don't mean, though, to compare by any means their records in that issue.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  17. Terry North Carolina

    Jack
    If you dont have the experience necessary, then you had better surround yourself with people that do or you will be in deep -- !

    February 25, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  18. John - Chicago

    To get elected, no experience, nor any track record of success at anything at all is required. Just ask Dubya.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  19. Mary

    Apparently, a lot of bozos out there are falling for the feel good rhetoric of Barack. Kinda reminds me of the way voters decided on GWB. He was the kind of guy you could have a beer with, as I recall. Duh...... Look where that got us!

    Hopefully, good sense will prevail this time, and the level headed person with experience, Hillary Clinton, will win. Barack reminds me of an overeager stallion bristling to change things with neither the experience nor the common sense necessary to achieve his goals. Does he have any goals, I wonder?

    When listening to the 2 of them the difference is like night and day. One is full of catch phrases designed to rouse the masses, while the other one is full of knowledge and facts, and knows change will not come easily, and can only occur with work.

    Mary from Florida

    February 25, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  20. dan, NY

    Dear Jack,

    Intellegence trumps experience. The history books are full of inexperienced but intellegent leaders who have ruled quite effectively, but I don't know of any idiots who have governed well, regardless of their experience level. Witness the devastation heaped upon this country in the last seven years to see what the lack of both can produce.

    Dan NYC

    February 25, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  21. James in Cape Coral, FL

    Jack,
    Experience has always been one of the driving forces behind a campaign. I suspect it's that way because people in power are unwilling to give up that power and fear of the inexperienced keeps them there. Unfortunetly for them American's have caught on to this B.S. Yes, in most cases experience is a good thing. But when experience is the very thing tearing this country apart, we must put our faith in the untainted and inexperienced to set this country back on track. I can only hope that the time comes again when experience in government is judged as a good thing and not the thorn that sticks in our countries side.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  22. John - Spokane, WA

    Successful Experience is far better than no experience. We can't afford to experiment with our Country right now (Or ever). As I recall, it was the Reagan/Bush Sr. era that brought us a stifling defict well over a trillion dollars back in the late 80's & early 90's (some of you Obama supporters may not remeber this since most of you are about 18 yrs old) – CLINTON Turned it around and we were operating in surplus again for the first time in ages. Then came "W", you know the rest. America needs someone with the knowhow like Hillary Clinton.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  23. John Lundin in San Diego

    When it comes to being president, how much does experience really matter?

    No president has ever had experience being president. Each has had relevant experience, just as each of today's candidates has. The truly important experience is having been an effective leader who has exercised maturity and solid judgment. Again, all three candidates possess this experience. The election will be decided on the basis of trust – who can we trust to lead us during a time when the people of the U.S. and the world need healing and leadership they can respect?

    John in San Diego

    February 25, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  24. Bob from Traverse city Michigan

    Jack: It matters less if you have the good sense to surround yourself with the right people. There are lots of different ways to aquire experience.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  25. Sharon

    Well, perhaps we should all ask ourselves, in whatever positions we now find ourselves, does our experience matter? Should CNN go out and find a new college graduate to replace you Jack? Do you think your years of experience bring anything to the table? (Although I don't always agree with you, I would argue that your experience has value.)

    For those of you that lived through corporate layoffs, downsizing, restructuring or right sizing - did you find that some value was lost when higher paid experienced employees were replaced with new lower paid workers? In all fairness, a little of deadwood was let go, but so was a great deal of experience and long term knowledge that can only be gained by working through various economic cycles and trends.

    Trafalgar, IN

    February 25, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  26. RRH

    Just take a walk down memory lane with the Bush Administration. OJT ring a bell? If there is no requirement for experience, we're all going to revisit memory lane seven years from now.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  27. roberto

    Being truthful is more important than experience. What a person says should not be at variance with their actions. If experience was so important, then how do you account for the current state of affairs in this country?

    February 25, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  28. Ted in Portland OR

    Experience means nothing if the people you are trying to lead just don't like you and they are divided, and against your ideas.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  29. stan

    jack if you keep pushing obama, you will get a president who knows what he is doing, competent, who doesnt wish other foreign leaders we dont agree with the u.s.a to die, like mccain said on the weekend about castro,i like the effective way he has run his campaign, thats the type of skill we need to run the white house in 2009!

    February 25, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  30. Greg From Mechanicsburg, PA

    I'd rather have someone sitting in the White House with only a modicum of experience as long as they have a clear vision of where America needs to be and the capacity to lead us there. I don't want someone with twenty-five years experience who wants to lead us down the same path that got America into the mess we're in.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  31. Eleni NJ

    Experience is important but VISION and good Judgment is more important. We have had experience the past 10 years and look where that has gotten us! I think Barack has a positive vision and a good attitude towards the responsiblities he will be burdened with.
    Mc Cain has experience but his temperament scares me, Hillary is acting too unstable and schitzophrenic. So far only Obama seems to be stable even headed calm cool and collected and that is what we need in moments of crisis.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  32. MIchael "C" in Lorton, Virginia

    I will answer like this, "Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you. Experience is a great advantage, however, the problem is when you get the experience you are too dam old to do anything about it.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  33. Yvonne

    Experience and longevity dont always equal success. For example there are a lot of companies that have been around longer than Google and have more business experience than the founders of Google, but Google is the one thats leading.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  34. Jeri

    Jack, did you see Saturday Night Live? They have your number. Showed your unwillingness to give Hillary fair and unbiased coverage! Why do you guys push an inexperienced Obama! He has no specifics at all. Wishing is not leading. CNN has not reported the news, it's making the news up! Obama has nothing! Hillary Clinton is the only hope for change in the United States!

    February 25, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  35. Alan

    We had a president with very little experience in IKE & he turned out ok, same with Bill Clinton. We have a president with very little experience in the current idiot & look what he's managed to accomplish: a stupid war, squandering a 5.5 trillion budget surplus, wiped out a balanced budget, partially destroyed the the Constitution, turned his back on science, probably committed high crimes & misdemeanors and has lowered our reputation with the rest of the world.

    I will probably go for less experience & more optimism.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  36. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    Experience is very important,as long as the experience is in something outside of being a lifetime politician. A president should be someone who has managed a company and people and has a track record of actually having accomplished something besides taking political cash hand-outs. Any company hiring any executive will conduct an extensive interview and background check to make sure the person that they are going to hire is qualified and telling the truth. We should expect no less of a president.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  37. Karl in CA

    George Washington didn't have any experience in running a government, nor the next several Presidents after him, but they had a vision of what this country should be, common sense, and a great love for this country. That's why we are here today. Unfortunately this current President had blurred vision, no experience, common sense or any love for this country or he wouldn't have done what he has done to it in the past seven years.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  38. Jorge from Monterey, California

    Jack,
    Come on... Experience! you can have all the experience in the world but if your judgement is as bad and bias as Hillary's then I rather have some one with better judgement!!!

    February 25, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  39. APRIL

    What do we have now in the White House. Bush–no previous experience. I think he has lead to the dumbing down of the presidency. Let us not vote another Bush into the White House. Obama has only been a first term one-two year Senator. When he was in the Illinois Senate he played the game by pushing the wrong button 6 times when voting and then also voted present 130 times. Hey, this was his job. He admitts to being disorganized, he struts his youth but then has Ted Kennedy campaign for him. This is sure a dichotomy in character.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  40. Ed Reed

    Lyndon Johnson had a lot of experience and got us into Vietnam. President Bush had no experience and got us into Iraq. Is there a third choice?

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    February 25, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  41. Steve - Oak Creek, WI

    If experience were such a good thing, we would change the rules and let Bush run again, and none of us are willing to do that. Experience is not always what it is cracked up to be. I would go more for plain old common sense, if there is such a thing.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  42. Vinnie Vino

    Jack,
    Having experience really does matter, I have three words for you President George Bush...

    C.I., New York

    February 25, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  43. Mark - Asheville, NC

    Sadly, experience hasn't amounted to a hill of beans in the Dem primaries this year. Biden, Dodd and Richardson all have more experience than the rest put together, and were quickly shoved aside in favor of the one (Obama) with by far the least. Edwards, Clinton, Gravel and Kucinich also have much to offer from their years of service, but they too were rejected, and now Obama, who actually has less experience than George Bush, will go on to lose handily to McCain. Whatever – we must follow the republican media's plan for us, after all. We never learn.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  44. Keith from Irving, Texas

    Eperience only matters when it's accompanied by "common sense" and ethics, Jack.

    Take a look at the last 4 years – NOBODY had more experience than W, huh?

    EXPERIENCE is a cute term that's often overated.

    I can have experience running a large company. That doesn't mean squat if I drove that company into bankruptcy.

    When you think of epxperience, think of W... ughhhhh

    February 25, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  45. Jim Sluder

    Jack; When our Founding Fathers set the criteria for president, experience wasn't wasn't one of them. I think they did this knowing that it was important to keep ideas fresh and to keep complacency and status quo in check. Experience hasn't seemed to have taught John McCain that 4 more years of Bush policies will absolutely ruin this nation. Experience hasn't seemed to have taught Hillary Clinton that negativity isn't what the people of this country want. So Jack, does experience really matter when it comes to being president? Yes, if you want the same old same old! No, if you want6 things to change!

    Jim Sluder, College Station, TX

    February 25, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  46. Jeff, West Palm Beach

    Experience looks good on a resume, but you have to nail the interview to land the job.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  47. Shelly

    Experience does not matter if you are applying for a job as a sales clerk, or on second thoughts, it might.
    So dont you think, that applying for the job of the Highest Office in the U.S matters! If credentials dont matter, then I'll run. I've never held a job in any public capacity, and dont have a degree yet either, but that shouldn't matter according to your theory that experience doesn't matter.

    Denver, Colorado

    February 25, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  48. rbrannan

    Bush has thrown our America into turbulent times, turbulent waters. If you're drowning in turbulent waters, who do you want to jump in and save you? Someone who's been an experienced, competent swimmer in turbulent waters for years, or someone who's barely dipped their toes in water and still is practicing their swimming strokes on land? So yes, experience does matter–especially as President! The best President is one who has both the experience and the great plans– with the passion, fight, and authority to make those great plans happen. We have that President in Hillary Clinton. Rose in PA

    February 25, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  49. Gregg P Bellevue, NE

    Not at all
    If you're trying to fix a broken government with the experience of a 1966
    society , you can't repair the new 2008 model. We need new idea's for a new age !

    February 25, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  50. Jamie

    Abraham Lincoln began as a lawyer, served several years in the Illinois General Assembly, then two years in the US Congress. Sound familiar?

    Jamie,
    Rochester, NY

    February 25, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  51. dave

    Understand we had 4 yrs of Bush, 8 yrs Clinton and 8 yrs of Bush and we are trillions in debt, people are losing their homes, jobs and health care is unaffordable; if this what experience get you then I prefer someone without any.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  52. Carol Quinley

    If her position on Nafta, her past Health bill and plan, under her Husband's administration ,and being the wife of Bill Clinton are experience ;than we do not need it. Her only experience truely is being in the Senate and it has not been too many years. She seems to tout her whole life since graduating from law school as "experience "and I beg to differ. We need to get away from the staleness that she has become in Washington.
    Carol Quinley
    Michigan

    February 25, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  53. Sue Olmstead

    Jack – Abilities matter. The ability to work in a bi-partisan way (since we seem to be stuck with two parties). the ability to unite this country, the ability to improve our tarnished world image and the ability to find good experienced people to serve in the president's cabinet. I am voting for Barack Obama because I believe he has those abilities.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  54. Carmen

    Bush had NO experience, no track record, no sense of history and what a mess we are in. Good common sense would be very helpful, because GWB has none.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  55. MIKE ADKINS,CHARLOTTE,NC

    experience works both ways. with obama, it's a lack of experience that hurts him. with mccain, it's too much experience which is what keeps washington in the same old politics as usual mode. hillary for now, obama next and mccain retire is the best scenario. too much change to fast can be as damaging as no change and a continuance of failed policies. obama will be good someday, mccain will never change and'y offers hope.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  56. Randy Porter Mo.

    If we elect our President, and there is no background to check, we will end up in the same shape that the banks are in. They made all of these home loans under the assuption that no credit history is better than a bad credit history. Everyone involved got burned. If you have candidates with a long history then at least you have something to base your vote on. I don`t want somebody telling me how to raise my kids if they do not have any children of their own. This is a big deal and I think we better be very careful. we better go in with our eyes open and not jump on any bandwagons without thinking.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  57. Rosalynd Rucker

    Leadership and Judgement are far more important. All presidents assemble a team of experts in different areas (Foreign policy, Economy, etc.) to support them. Bush failed because of his inability to lead and practice sound judgement not because of experience.

    Orlando FL.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  58. Will_Roselle_NJ

    Experience matters but just not by itself! You must have leadership, great listenting skills and show some compassion for humanity.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  59. earl illingsworth

    This is a tough one? Let's see ,we've got Serbia partnering up with Putin&USSR against Kosovo , possible powderkeg. Next on the short list, we've got Pakistan with their internal problems,ie)possible civil war, with loose "nukes",and their Army's General, that's not in total control? Lest we forget, "The Hundred Year War" with Iraq, and good neighbor,"State(Farm)Iran, ready at the call to help their fallen brethren? Where's the troops and money to fight the war? Finally, with the immigration/drugs issue's coming across the border/ports not being enforced,and China,s favorite dumping ground becoming even more excessable,with a dash of $100+/bbrl.oil and a sprinkle of a recession,who needs,"Experience"??? Earl from Provincetown,Mass.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  60. anjali

    Listen they both have experience. The question is do you as a supporter look to see what that experience is. I feel a lot of Obama supporters dont... that doesnt say anything about the candidate but it does speak volumes about the supporters. Reminds me of Bush 2000 supporters.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  61. Chris

    The "experienced" cast of characters in the Bush Administration has tgotten us into our current mess. I seem to recall that experience wasn't an issue in 1992 when Bill Clinton was elected.

    I'm not interested in the "experience" Old Man River McCain has to offer. He's just a mouthpiece for Bush and Cheney. A fresh face (Obama) is what the country and the world seem to want, and I'm with them. It's time we regain our stature in the world, instead of having a Nero fiddling while Rome burns.

    Thousand Oaks, Ca

    February 25, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  62. Christy

    when the experience in question is the scandalous past that follows Hillary Clinton everywhere then no experience does not matter. If experience is going to keep us getting more of the same from our government then experience doesn't matter. If experience we are talking abou a woman who seems on the edge of a bipolar disorder then no experience does not matter.

    OBAMA 08

    February 25, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  63. Ben from D.C.

    It's about the right kind of experience, Jack. After 35 years of experience Hillary seems find her voice every week. Ironically enough, it's about substance. Saying you have 35 years of experience and act like a child fighting over the last cup of milk is not the experience America needs.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  64. Ebony - Tampa

    Who's experience?
    your own or your husband's?

    February 25, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  65. Richard Sternagel

    Jack, I think that ability to inspire and honesty and integrity will trump experience any time!JFK didn't have a lot of experience but he could inspire the nation:Peace Corps,Man on the Moon! People are looking for a candidate they can trust with integrity and that person is Barack Obama!
    Go Obama!

    February 25, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  66. Edgar

    Jack,

    Having some political experience absolutely matters. But 30 years versus 20 years isn't the kind of difference in experience that matters.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  67. Mary

    If you want someone with experience, look at Mike Huckabee. 10.5 lears as lieutenant Gov. or Governor...he has had to deal with everything, just on a smaller scale. Check out mikehuckabee.com.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  68. Brian

    George W. Bush had no prior Washington D.C. experience and it has been a trainwreck. John F. Kennedy was a one term young senator who set the bar high to reach the moon within a decade, got the ball rolling on civil rights, and showed knowledge far beyond what people would expect from someone with his "experience" level to stare down the enemy in the eye and make them blink.

    Based on these two examples...experience means nothing.

    February 25, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  69. John

    If you ask any professor of American history, they will tell you that there is no correlation between a long resume and being a good president.

    Abraham Lincoln served only two years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He's is usually called America's greatest leader in history.

    George Bush Senior had a killer resume. He was vice-president, CIA director, UN ambassador, Republican Party chair, Congressman, and business owner. Even his own party thought he was an ineffective president.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  70. Dimitri

    Jack,

    I read the Constitution back to back, forwards and backwards, and nowhere does it say that experience is a prerequisite to become president.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  71. Brian

    George W. Bush had no prior Washington D.C. experience and it has been a trainwreck. John F. Kennedy was a one term young senator who set the bar high to reach the moon within a decade, got the ball rolling on civil rights, and showed knowledge far beyond what people would expect from someone with his “experience” level to stare down the enemy in the eye and make them blink.

    Based on these two examples…experience means nothing.

    Brian
    Springfield, IL

    February 25, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  72. Chuck in Eugene Oregon

    Jack, thanks for making that perfectly clear that NONE of them experience that mounts to much of anything. I have been saying that all the time. Granted they are worldly in their knowledge and life experiences but that is the sum of it. But is it really important, yes an no depending on who is doing the measuring. For me it is all about people skills, it is all about management skills, its all about being open minded to other ideas and perspectives... no single person has all the right answers. Most importantly it is all about surrounding your self with those that do have the experience in each particular area and that they also are open minded and can openly discuss the pro's and con's of the min, sec or day. The most important is having a president that can after asking the right questions, weighing all the options can make the decision that is in the best interest of the United States, even if that decision would hurt or maybe even destroy their political future. That to me is the person America deserves.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  73. Karla, Charlotte NC

    I agree all of them have little experience. Therefore, the questio is how great are their accomplishments within the realms of their experiences? Who did great things with little power?

    February 25, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  74. Bill in Idaho

    I don't think the kind of experience Hilary has to offer is anywhere near as important as Obama's ability to bring people from all sides together.

    Hillary's experience, her flip flopping and temper will only keep us going the same way it has in the past.

    After seeing the photo Clinton's campaign released today, I think she is an Uncle Tom to the African American community and shouldn't be trusted by anyone.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  75. Ian

    Jack,
    How much "experience" did Bill Clinton have when he was elected in 1992? If you look throughout American history, many of our best presidents had little to no Washington experience. I believe the most important characteristic a candidate can possess is a willingness to serve the good of the American people. To this end, we need a president that will be able to work with people on all sides of the debate in order to build a unified consensus.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  76. Imad

    Jack,
    I'm not going to lie experience matters, but what's the point of experience if the candidate has poor judgement (on Iraq). It seems like Hillary has the same kind of experience as Bush and Rumsfeld did and look how that turned out.

    Lexington,
    Kentucky

    February 25, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  77. Jason

    Texas sent our Governor to the White House as the CEO president. It was expected that he would surround himself with talented and experienced folks and then "manage the team". So much for that. Even though no candidate left has run a major corporation or state, at least Hillary and McCain have a huge amount of experience on their side and that counts. They can draw on that when needed...especially Hillary. She wasn't "the president" but no doubt knows exactly what to expect. How could she not? Barack is light on experience just as George W. was. And Barack's calls for change are laughable at best. Looking at his proposals, I see nothing but the status quo.

    Hillary gets this Texan's vote. And if Barack ends up the nominee, then McCain gets my general election vote. When will people see through Barack's hype?

    February 25, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  78. Bob B in Boise

    Jack, I don't care where a candidate has been... being the leader of the free world is the ultimate OJT environment ... even in one's second term.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  79. Dias

    Hello Jack
    People who talk about experience should also know that they had experience dealing with lobbyists in a past and that it is time to change. But when you have a campaign that is funded by lobbyists money. What can you do about change, I think the person that will bring about changes will come with fresh ideas that no one had thought of. What would happen to all of us if before getting any kind of job, you had to have experience in that specific field. I believe that people can be trained as long as you can surround yourself of people who know what they are talking about. This country should be the world example of democratie, man, i am starting to see it looking like countries in Africa when we had presidents who have been in power for over 35 years. We are ready for new names (Bush, Clinton), new ideas, new politic anti-corruption and a changed country. It is time to dust the carpet.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  80. Mark

    Nice picture of Osama, l mean Obama,in the News reports today .Says one thing then does another. Yes Mr Slick you can pull the wool over the young`ns. heads. Take him to task Hillary, this guy has had a free ride so far. TALK, about the black vote, 91% for Obama ? Whites are 50-50 in their votes ? Who seems to be racist now ???

    The Clintons were the best black people ever had in the White House yet they can be discarded because of the color of someones skin ???

    SHAME........

    February 25, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  81. DMM

    How'd you get your job Jack?
    Why would level of experience matter for everone else but the President?

    February 25, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  82. Gabby

    Sad how many voting Americans have no idea of the accomplishments of either side. Maybe do yourself a favour and check out their websites, make a phone call, at least do something to educate yourself. Not the, because you heard it or didn't hear it way that so many base what they believe on. I would have thought you a smarter Nation but , wow , now I really have to wonder.

    Obama 08

    February 25, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  83. Ann - Charleston, South Carolina

    I doubt that experience means much. After the first few months in office, people who have no experience in government or in politics will be telling us how the new president should be running the country.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  84. Jim

    I am old enough to remember the Cuban Missle Crisis. I remember the fear in my family and my elementary school teacher. Can you imagine if LBJ (the more experienced candidate in 1960)had been in the Oval Office and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs had reccomended a tactical nuclear strike on Cuba? How about if Stephen Douglas (the more experienced candidate in 1860) had defeated Lincoln?

    Face it, no one has the experience to be President. It is wisdom and intelligence that enables an individual to grow into that office. I am for Obama not because of lofty goals and outstanding rhetoric. I support Obama because he is smart and unburdened by the political infighting of the past 20 years.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  85. Lu

    The true question is what kind of experience does our next President need?

    I don't think any job or experience can guarantee success. I think what really matters is judgement, intellect and trustworthiness.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  86. Rich from New York City

    With the presidential race in mind, lets take a look at Google: the impetus and ideas came from folks without much experience, if any, in the business that they came to dominate. They did take care to surround themselves with intelligent, experienced advisors, and it's pretty hard to argue with the results.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  87. Tim from Buffalo

    Hi Jack,

    Experience does not matter. The president should be someone who's judgement can be trusted, they'll have access to as many experts as you could possibly want to ensure they understand the possibe implications of each decision. What matters is their ability to make sound decisions.

    If experience in the White House was a big deal clearly we'd all be fools not to insist on a Cheney/Rumsfeld ticket in '08 as between the two of them they'd likely be the most experienced duo in the whitehouse alive. By the way, if that happens I'll be moving to Canada.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  88. nick in SF

    Jack I can answer that in two words GEROGE BUSH.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  89. Jerry

    Since none of the people running for President has ever held the office I don't guess it really matters. No one in the race could mess it up any more then the great decider has, most elementary students could do as good a job as Bush, biggest joke of a President that I've saw in my 45 years of voting.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  90. Gary

    Judgement and the "vision thing" trump experience every time. As for running things, they are all three running a national campaign right now and I would say that Obama has run the best campaign by far. The other two have both experienced financial problems, staff changes, problems with their message, and have been unable to connect with voters to the same degree that Obama has. I think Obama has the right message and the right skill set to move the message from rhetoric to reality.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  91. Regina

    Of course it matters!!! Jack. This country is too divided and there a fine line between experience and change, you have to have both. The only problem is that none of the presidential candidates have both and we are still left in 50/50 stance.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  92. Ann

    Since Hillary is so experienced, what happened. Her campaign is in shambles. Economics: Why he her campaign broke, Judgement: poor choice of campaign managers, Planning: She was ready of day one of this campaign, what happened to day 2?

    February 25, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  93. Meropi Lane

    Obama is showing that he has a very thin skin. First it was both Clintons against him, then the photograph, the "Shame on you". etc etc ec. He can talk a good game but in essence there is no basic difference between him and George Bush. They both do not know how to lose, have supporters who see past their faults to back them every step of the way and a media which will not ask either one of them the tough questions.
    Experience is something the citizens of this country have seeing what happenned after 7 years of W in the White House and the question is are we matured enough to sift through demagogery and make the tough decisions? The system Obama ridicules is the one that will stand behind him if he gets elected.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  94. SHAPEARL WELLS

    I think that judgement matters and not experience. We hear Hillary state over and over again that is she is the one ready on day one. Give me a break! She voted for this stupid war! Hillary and McCain both need to go somewhere sit down and shut up! Their kind of thinking is what has caused the death to thousands of men and women who faught in this war. Families have been devastated from losing a wife, husband or children. Not to mention the amount of debt we have incurred and the state of our economy because if this. Obama is the one to right this wrong! Hillary and McCain can just drop off the face of the earth America will be better without their type of experience!!!

    February 25, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  95. Gail

    Yes, it does matter. Do we really want another 4 years of an inexperanced person in the white house. Hillary has traveld all over the worlk representing the US and as I recall was very well liked abroad.

    We have had 200+ years of a man runing the white house I think it is time we put a woman in charge. After all we all lets give woman a chance.

    Gail
    NH

    February 25, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  96. cyndy

    Two names Jack: George Bush, Jimmy Carter

    February 25, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  97. Sarah L.

    Lincoln didn't have any prior political experience besides a failed run for the Senate against Stephen Douglas. Yet, history doesn't question his ability to lead the country. History doesn't give two hoots about the president's resume.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  98. jonathan berger

    i am for Obama. He is right -we know the problems; we know the solutions; what we do not have is the politics. So as far as I am concerned the bigger the broom the better. And who is left over – let them meet until we have energy efficency- a national speed limit- higher gas mileage requirements; a real national agenda and policies linked to spending for sustainability; health care; a sane foriegn policy; and so forth- let them meet and get the people's business done- back in the day they wrote the constitution in one year!

    February 25, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  99. Ronnie Sloan

    Clinton can't even manage the finances and stray directors of her small-peanuts campaign, yet she is supposedly "ready on day one" to run the most powerful country in the world? A good leader cannot act alone, and must choose his or her army wisely. Only Obama, not Clinton nor McCain, has shown the ability to do that thus far.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  100. Thomas Rosa, Ridgewood NJ

    Has anyone ever seen the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington? I'm shocked that this particular film hasn't come up in discussions about Barack Obama. All of these politicians are nothing but pawns and any thinking individual is aware of this. Obama is the best approximation an individual that is willing to obliterate party lines and move this country forward. If Clinton is elected, our last four administrations would be BUSH-CLINTON-BUSH-CLINTON. Democracy anyone?

    February 25, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  101. Gary in CT

    Jack,

    Excluding a few weeks as Vice President, none of the candidates really have any less experience than Harry Truman did. He turned out to be one of our greatest presidents ever. Time will tell, Jack. Time will tell.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  102. Vic

    If experience is what Hillary has to offer and no sense of judgment then I would rather take someone with sound judgment over useless experience. So far the kind of experience I have seen from Hillary is one that needs psychiatric help. I do not a president who thinks of themselves and is always crying or screaming. We need someone that is calm collective and has sound judgment on issues like Iraq, the economy, healthcare and is ready and right on day one.

    Vic IN

    February 25, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  103. Wes, Portland OR

    It's easy to talk about "experience," but experience doing what? No candidate has any experience as President (Hillary claims it, but didn't even have a security clearance), so what sort of experience counts? Running a company, constitutional law, legislative wrangling, conflict resolution – all of the candidates can claim one sort of experience or another.

    More important are how the candidate can relate those experiences to leadership of our country, and how they rate in terms of vision, judgment, and ethics.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  104. Herbert Walker

    George W. Bush had "experience" running Texas, and he's had seven plus years of "experiece" as President.

    Do you think he's ready???

    Even I am more ready than former Governor Dubya.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  105. Charles, Cleveland

    Dave – the debt was created by first Bush and Reagan before him, fixed by Clinton and created again by Bush-43. Come on, people, you all prospered in 90s; somebody needs to fix the mess again. Obama was the most predictably liberal vote in Senate; he talks about "bipartisanship" but how he's going to create one with such a record? Me, myself and Obama?

    February 25, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  106. Doy

    Experience doesn't matter! What matters is a big dream and one who works to achieve it, uniter and one that cares about people, a person who is wise and educated and uses his/her wisdom for the benefit of the people; far sighted, vissionary and one who dissociated him/herself from special interest groups. That is watters for America!

    February 25, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  107. Sharon / Chicago

    Jack, what gage are people using to determine experince? Is it the current President's experience and sound judgements? Is it a Republican candidate who still believes the war in Iraq was justified even with all the mis-information we were given? Or is it the Democratic candidate who can't even manage their campaign and it's finances. If these are the benchmarks Senator Obama is being measured against, I'm glad he does lack experience.

    Of the three candidates, I know Senator Obama will be the best for the tasks at hand as President of the United States.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  108. Laguna Beach Voice

    Jack. Of course experience matters, however who actually has experience as president of the U.S. except former presidents? The resume required for the highest office in the land requires an individual with leadership, presence of mind, sound judgement, charisma, compassion, strength of conviction, forward thinking and superior listening skills.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  109. Lamar in Dallas, TX

    Jack,

    This is a sad commentary on America. We elect personalities, not those who are the most qualified to do the job.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  110. Sarah L.

    Also, for those of you who equate George W. Bush with Obama, as far as experience is concerned, let's not forget that Dubya was the governor of Texas. All the collective experience in Washington hasn't done us a whole lot of good.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  111. Billy

    It matters a lot! We can't have somebody who doesn't know what they're doing running a country like this. That would be like giving a baby a gun. It's not a safe and just down right STUPID.

    Cleveland, Ohio
    GO HILLARY

    February 25, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  112. BC

    I believe experience does matter. Hillary Clinton with her vast experience in many aspects of improving the lives of Americans has the most experience. She would undoubtedly change American for the better. She would improve our relations around the world.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  113. Jim

    Why does a President need a cabinet if the main goal of the electorate is to find someone with loads of experience? There have been many successful Presidents that were short on experience. However, a strong leader always surrounds themself with the best and brightest people as advisors. The next President needs to have a strong cabinet, not just political hounds. That is what will make them successful, more so than just experience on day one.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  114. Audrey in SF

    Jack, I think what's more important than how many years of experience you have, is what you have gained from them, how you can apply them to the needs of the country. I think Hillary's and McCain's experience isn't as relevant now. They both have experience fighting and in fact both seem to thrive on the idea of battle. The USA doesn't need any more fighting for the sake of fighting, which is what our "experienced" candidates will give us, and in fact already have!

    February 25, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  115. D Nelson

    It can help, but it really doesn't matter much.

    Some of the best presidents this country has had were never had executive political or business experience.

    George W. Bush had executive experience as Governor of Texas and ran (failed) businesses, and look at the mess this country is in becuase of his "leadership".

    Real leadership comes from good judgement, great ideas and the ability to unite people behind those ideas.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  116. Aaron in Virginia

    I think that a solid track-record is extremely important in a candidate – but it has to be a record of sound judgment and effective executive decision-making, not just a record of successfully being-alive-in-an-elected-position for a long time.

    The Democrats currently have a choice: a candidate who blew a massive advantage in popularity, name-recognition and campaign funding, or a candidate who has generated record voter turnout and record donor dollars. In direct head-to-head political competition, we've clearly seen who's the more competent executive. *That* is experience you can believe in.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  117. Jason Sonnenfelt

    I think in this discussion that experience is being mistaken for good judgment. While good judgment may be based on experience, other factors such as intelligence, communications skills, and character contribute just as significantly. Experience alone is not a good benchmark. What if all that time you have been doing the wrong thing or failed to learn any new lessons? What good is experience then?

    February 25, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  118. Marie

    Okay – truly what kind of experience REALLY prepares you to be president?

    I think good judgment and the ability to organize are key as well as knowing who to put in place where – because let's face it no president runs the country alone – there are many people to guide and advice.

    It seems to me it's like setting up an upstart company – and based on what I can tell, thus far – Senator Clinton's experience and judgment haven't done her much good – in light of what a mess her campaign is on the other hand – Senator Obama – the upstart changed the business model a bit – and has run a much leaner and better campaign – with a lot less "experience".

    I'm guessing – it would be the same in how he would run the country.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  119. MyAssessment

    Through my "experience" I learned that it isn't always what you know but what you do with it.

    Out of all three candidates, Obama seems to be the one who has done the least. He hasn't been much of a fighter. He hasn't really done much to take an issue and push it to completion. In fact he reminds of some people I have worked with who might have some good ideas, but really all they can do is talk about it.

    The one question I have for today, is they keep saying how Obama refused a job on Wall Street...how can they see he would have actually had a job on Wall Street if he never applied?

    February 25, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  120. David

    Clinton is making herself look silly now. Just stop!! She cant win

    February 25, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  121. jake

    For all I know ,experience matters than a mere empty rethorics from a half -term senator.

    All of a sudden,experience has become a forbidden word just b'cos
    Hillary is running for president.

    Shame on you all ! and pls read my comment.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  122. Don

    Hell, no! The two writers Jack quotes have been anti-Hillary from the start, and Novak in particular is a bitter, far-right propagandist. If you were playing a game and were behind in the fourth quarter, would you quit because the opposing team's cheerleaders said you should? Again, Hell, no!

    Don
    Abingdon, IL

    February 25, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  123. Larry from LA

    Jack like you said all three are in the same boat. So it comes down to who people think can lead this country. What I don't understand is how can McCain win the Presidency if 70% of the nation is against the war? and he is the war candidate. Obama has run an excellent campaign well organized and Hillary was run a poor compaign with people leaving. So based on that should it be Obama????

    February 25, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  124. Wayne Childers

    You want experiance Jack?
    well looks like our only option is to Clone "Ronald Reagan" Because every president since then has been wasting our time and the future crop looks to be in a severe drought !
    Whats our options
    McCain=war monger
    Nader=Ron Paul Clone
    Hillary=in severe distress with Bi-poler issues
    Obama=Accoarding to Hillary a nieve radical Muslim that hates America
    Im doing a right in Vote:Jack Cafferty for Pres.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  125. Ro

    I'll take wisdom, dignity, and integrity, since only former Presidents have experience at being Presidential (for better or for worse.) That's why I support Sen. Obama.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  126. philip

    Electing senators to the Presidency has a VERY uneven history. Fifteen senators have occupied the White House. ONLY two, yes two, sitting senators–Warren G. Harding and JFK–have been elected president, both died in office. While JFK deftly coped with the Cuban missile crisis, Harding managed a corrupt administration that fostered the Teapot Dome scandal. Hopefully, we will not have to hear one of the two senators that will be our presidential candidates repeat Harding's critical self-assessment: "I am not fit for this office and never should have been here."

    February 25, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  127. IveyLeague5

    EXPERIENCE DOES MATTER. Therefore, we must not minimize Life Experience. Colleges and universities give degrees based on Life Experience.

    It is real. It is tested. It's definitely is true of one's character.

    Obama has Life Experience of bringing different parties to the table for a commom purpose. Congress will require than a 51% vote to pass the legislation that each candidate is proposing.

    Therefore, we need someone with the Life Experience to get those of diversity and sometimes, opposing backgrounds, ideals, and philosophy to talk, negotiate, and produce results.

    Who can deny this?

    February 25, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  128. KRISHNA

    Jack,

    Don't we all remember this famous saying of Benjamin Franklin "Well done is better than well said". To say it well just requires oratory skills. To do it well certainly requires EXPERIENCE. We all know which Democratic nomination contender stands out.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  129. Annie, Atlanta GA

    What experience? Company execs, governors, first ladies? Only those elected to second terms ever had the experience. At best it's a roll of the dice. At it's worst it's George W. Bush.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  130. Judy Beardsley

    All of Hillary's experience - including involvement in TWO former presidential campaigns - should have taught her something about running for president. Yet whose campaign is having problems with money, volunteers and organization? Who squandered a double-digit national lead? No one gave Barack a chance. But he has hired good staff, spent money wisely, and inspired both volunteers and voters. It's a perfect example of the "hope plus hard work" combination that he believes can change Washington. Judy from Cape Cod

    February 25, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  131. Diane D., Queens, New York

    Jack, obviously experience doesn't matter as shown by today's fiasco. That Obama picture that shows him wearing Muslim garb is what I mean. CNN has just a few minutes ago said on TV that the picture was floated around by Hillary's campaign. Quiet frankly, if that is the truth, I am heart sick as I am a Hillary supporter. Fear mongering, I don't think so. More like promoting hatred and intolerance as flak from 911. I surely hope Hillary and her camp is NOT behind this. So, should it turn out that it is from her campaign, she just shot herself in the foot and no matter how much experience she toutes will be enough to smooth over this one! She should be experienced enough to know she just gave herself more rope to hang with. Honestly, I hope she and her camp are not behind this one!

    February 25, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  132. Sue

    Well, I think it is fair to say that McCain has quite a bit of experience., its hard to dispute that and as far as Hillary is concerned, not only does she have experience in government office, but quite a bit of experience with the attack of the opposition, so I would count that as some pretty good experience. As for Obama, let’s see, he was a State Senator and now a US Senator...but wait, we can't forget about all the experience he had as a youth councilor...does he actually have "Youth Counselor" on his resume? And this guy’s running for President…a guy with lots of “Youth Counseling” experience...wake up America?

    February 25, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  133. Ave

    Hi Jack,
    Experience is not a guarantee.
    Experience is not measured on how many years you have doing things but how you have lived your experimental life.
    If you just operate in the same way and in the same enviroment your possibility to expand, diversify and mature your experience is very limited.
    Sometimes we experience things in our life that come at early and on consequence of that we mature and grow fast.
    We need in this historical time a kind of experience that is fresh, that make us believe that we can all bring something good to our society.
    I think Senator Obama is showing that he really has experience in bringing people together, has experience in running a successful campaign and managing the money for the campaign.
    If you look at the other candidates, they spent lots of money on stupid things and they had to loan some of their personal money too.
    I don't think Mrs. Clinton can be a good President if she spent $100.000 for a tea party.
    People that have to try to save pennies every day understand the economy better than Mrs. Clinton and McCain
    I apologize if there's any grammar mistake, English is my 3rd language.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  134. Jim Hall

    Yes Hillary should get out now! She is part of the problem, not part of the solution. All she offers is politics as usual. She is just trying to ride on her husbands coat-tails.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  135. Charles, Cleveland

    Somebody (I think, it was Larry Sabato) said a year ago that it is not up to Republicans to win this elections – it's up to Democrats to loose. GOP did what they could – they nominating the least unplausible and the most moderate candidate and now they're enthusiastically waiting for Democrats to nominate the only real candidate (beyond Kucinich and Gravel) who could loose in November by the landslide – Obama. I'm a Democrat and I'll be voting McCain against Obama... Who knew?

    February 25, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  136. Hubert

    If, as Oscar Wilde said so pointedly "experience is simply the name we give our mistakes"... the US has had plenty of politicians, some of them presidents, who, because of the gross mistakes they have made (invading Irak is the most prominent one of recent date) can claim that they have broad experience... and oh boy, under this definition Bush may be the most "experienced" of them all...
    Maybe this one time, you should pick someone without any experience at all...

    February 25, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  137. Cathy, Los Angeles, CA

    Ready on Day One?!?! Give me a break. Hillary can't even run her campaign effectively. That alone says it all for me.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  138. Muhammad Abid, Mississauga, Canada

    Experience is important, but the commitment to do something is even more important. The country has innumerable problems such as increasing unemployment, economy slowdown, drop in home sales, rising fuel costs and uncontrolled war expenditure. Only someone who understands all issues, their root causes and the way to resolve them though stakeholder consultation can deliver. As such, only Obama, who has experience in community development , apprears to be the right candidate.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  139. Pat, Huntsville, AL

    Of course she should drop out. After all, the political excitement about her opponent hasn't been rivaled for a candidate since Europe of the 1940's.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  140. BL / Brooklyn

    Mr. Cafferty.
    Experience really does matter and especially taking into consideration the fragile state our nation is in at this time.
    Hope? We all have hope. Change? We all want a change from what we have had the last 7 years.
    Half of the Democrats have forgotten how good the Clinton era was...
    As much as I myself like Mr. Obama, There is no way at all that he is ready to handle what is in store and as inspirational as his speech (yes, the same one all year) is, they are in fact words and as Tina Fey said on SNL this week, would it be so bad to have two intelligent people in the White House???
    HRC/2008!!!

    February 25, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  141. Jose from Jersey

    Its interesting how "experience" doesn't seem to serve a purpose in terms of selecting a president. It's even more amazing how we tend to forget the "experience" we're enduring now under bush's regime...

    Obama has not been tested and his rhetoric is eerily reminiscent of bush's just prior to the 2000 election. If Obama wins the presidency , God help us.

    With McCain at the helm, we'd find ourself digging deeper into another Depression, compliments of Iraq...

    At least with Hillary in office, we'd have more to blame than just "experience" or lack thereof, were she to repeat any of the mistakes made by bush's regime in the last 7 years.

    The greater good for the greater number: Hillary.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  142. Phillip Allen

    The two presidents that you mention, Kennedy and Truman, both came to office without executive experience and both handled the situations that you mentioned. In both cases previous experience was not really applicable. Noone had ever made the decision to drop an atomic weapon and while Eisenhower had played brinksmanship with China the Soviet Union was only involved peripherally.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  143. D. Casey Sebastopol, CA.

    How much "experience" did JFK have running a business? Sure, he at least had some military experience, but being born rich means never having to actually work for a living... and Harry Truman had little business experience – except for a failed (bankrupt) business adventure in a haberdashery. He, too, had military experience, but his political experience was mostly as a Senator and a "last-minute choice" for VP, during which time, he seldom saw the President (who snubbed him).

    I believe the willingness to listen and to lead is critical in this day and age and I think Clinton's so sure she knows it all that she doesn't *have* to listen to anyone, except maybe Bill.

    I hope our country has the courage to see that America needs a new, fresh face and approach to global relationships, the economy, and a vision for this country.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  144. roxanne

    experience does not matter to the new generation. Thank god they only want someone in that white house to restore favor in the world. While bush may have focused on the terrorists the rest of the world thinks he was the terrorist. Bring all the folks home and see how the world feels about us then. After all the iraquis will be busy trying to restore some semblance of order and we can get back to a non-halliburton based economy. Truth justice and the american way!!!!!!!!1

    February 25, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  145. Frank

    Jack,

    Experience working within a reasonably corrupt system accounts for a lot. Only an insider would have the ability to persuade others into pursuing an agenda disadvantageous to the said others.

    Frank – NH

    February 25, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  146. Saul Boston,MA

    With the canidates boasting about executive experience to take over the first day. None of them held an executive position in terms of service. But Obama's foresight about the war in Iraq and the global repurcussions in the world market gets my thumb up in approval. If that is not the intuition of a leader then I don't know what one is.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  147. Dave Brooklyn, NY

    Experience is very important, but an open mind, and intelligence are of equal value and are all needed. None of the candidates posses all three. But I’m willing to trade intelligence, even if inexperienced, for the idiocy we’ve had for the last seven years.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  148. Greg

    There was once a president named Reagan whom had little experience. There was a president by the name of Lincoln whom had little experience. There was a president by the name of Kennedy whom had little experience, and there was also a president by the name of Clinton....whom had little experience.

    Each of these men's presidency transformed and transcended American History. Based on this pattern of inexperience that achieved greatness.......I'm feeling very comfortable with the name President Barack Obama....and his little experience.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  149. Brenda, Apex, NC

    The negative remarks and comments being spread throughout the news media about Senator Hillary Clinton are outrageous. Hillary Clinton is the best-qualified candidate and we need her as our next President. She knows what needs to be done and how to get it done. Hillary is intelligent, knowledgeable and a strong leader with a good heart. She is the right choice for hope, change, solutions, results and leadership. Give Senator Clinton a chance. She has my support and my vote.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  150. Joe

    Of course experience matters, some voters just will not open their eyes and see what George Bush's bad experience has brought to this country. If you want another unexperienced president and have things get possibly worse, then vote for Obama.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  151. Amanda

    As I have stated before, god forbid, if Obama becomes president – another 9/11 is a sure bet. How frightening it would be if that man becomes our next president. Hillary, no doubt, is capable of running this country more so than Obama. What a shame that people of this country cannot (or refuse) to open their eyes to see that Obama is not the right choice. If you think this country is in bad shape now – imagine how much worse it will be if he leads our country. I'll be the first one back on these forums telling all the Obama supporters "I TOLD YOU SO"!

    February 25, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  152. California Independent

    We are in the middle of a war.
    Social Security needs solutions.
    Medicare needs solutions.
    The economy needs solutions.

    Oh never mind. Who cares? Certainly not CNN.

    If Obama gets elected everyone gets a new pony. That's what's really important.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  153. Mike, Toronto

    History doesn't repeat itself, and there are no reliable methods I know of to predict the future; therefore I believe that the main qualities a great leader must have are to properly understand the present and make the right decisions based on that , to gather around him (her) the best people and inspire the people to work towards the same common goal by giving up their petty rivalries. Past experience matters too, but only after these qualities.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  154. N.D.H,Cali.

    Jack,
    It isn't really experience that matters but good Judgment that counts. No one has lots of experience when they have their first child, but with the right judgment calls you can raise a healthy, bright child. How is putting in someone with lots of bad experiences a good move for the country.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  155. Ruthie, Stone Mountain GA

    None of the three front runners have presidental experience because none of them have ever been President. I can say, I can do my manager's job because I know what she does. The point is, I have never done her job. I think the word experience is being used to loosely. There is a difference between knowledge and experience.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  156. YES!!!

    Yes, experience matters and none of the candidates have enough to be President. Experience and decision making ability are huge factors to me. The most experienced is probably McCain and the least Obama. Obama has only shown the ability to read speeches well. Clinton probably does not get the recognition she deserves for being an active first lady. She was probably the most active since Eleanor Roosevelt and a huge asset to her husband. Obama probably has demonstrated the best decision making ability but this might be bc we dont have a lot to go on with him. I will probably support Clinton or McCain bc I feel that they are more likely to get something done that will help me in my life.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  157. Nancy

    What a question!
    Has everyone forgotten what we are talking about? This is the highest job in America! This is for the President of the United States!
    We are not voting for Mr/Ms popular from high school!

    Everyone needs to take this extremely serious. Yes he is likable, yes he gives nice speeches. NO, he is not qualified, not now at this time.

    If we blow it and dont nominate Hillary, the republicans are going to win again. Imagine that! Gives me chivers to think about.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  158. ERW, Houston

    Abilities do matter more than experience. So does common sense. So does superior intelligence, and intellect.

    Dick Cheney has years of experience at all levels of government. Look at the mess he has made.

    Experience does not necessarily equate to good judgment.

    Nobody has "experience" as President of The United States, until they assume the office. (sleeping with one - doesn't count.)

    Candidates always have superior transition teams. Nominees from both parties are briefed continuously on foreign policy, national security, and a whole host of issues. That's the way our form of government works.

    Anybody, who is elected to the office, is "ready from Day One" to begin the job of running government. That, too, is the way our form of government works.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  159. Joanne

    Experience absolutely matters. The primaries – and later the actual campaign – are job interviews. They offer voters a chance to size up the candidates. I wouldn't hire someone for a job for which they had no experience no matter how well they interviewed and the American people shouldn't either. In the end, we need a president who understands the job, the enormous challenges of two wars, a nosediving economy and a declining image abroad and someone who knows how to work across the aisle with Congress. That's the place where policy gets turned into legislation. Clinton and McCain get that. I don't think Obama does.

    Joanne, Arlington, VA

    February 25, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  160. bluedrake

    Experience?

    There is no experience on the planet that prepares a person for the presidency. Not governor, not CEO, not V.P., not Pope.

    Whoever next sits in the oval office will inherit an almost overwhelming legacy of problems, stupidity, and mismanagement, that no mere human could be prepared for.

    Given that, I'll take intelligence, honesty, and the ability to inspire. Great presidencies have been built on far less.

    Now, just find me a candidate that embodies all three.

    Richard,
    from Portland, OR

    February 25, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  161. William R. McIntire

    I don't see that much importance with providing experience for the the most powerful and demanding job on the planet..

    If we are weighing factors of most importance for being President of the United States, I'd say strong character, demonstrative leadership and diplomatic understanding would highlight those talents most needed for the position.

    In a review of our past great presidents "experience" has not been that important of a criteria for success in office.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  162. Linda

    It depends on the type of experience, and the judgement displayed throughout it, and if anything was actually accomplished. The latter is a question I especially wonder on when I hear Sen. Clinton espousing her self proclaimed 35 years of experience. Exactly what, I always wonder, has prevented her from at least setting a better stage for this universial health care she cares so 'deeply and personally about'.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  163. Caren

    Moses had no experience, yet he led thousands through a sea.

    People just need someone they can believe in. Someone who will be a good leader and earn the respect of our country and countries abroad. So far, I respect all 3 of these candidates. Good Bye Bush.

    Caren
    Atlanta, GA.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  164. Robin

    With politics the way it is now in Washington, I say less experience is really a positive thing. It means fresh, new ideas. No one can have the right experience for being President...until you are actually the President! I think someone with good character, good judgement, a positive outlook, a plan and the ability to manage a good campaign are what are most important.

    I think someone who can be a proven leader and pick a great team is in the country's best interest. The President is a figure head and is only as good as his people advising him. It is more important to lead change...than 35 years of the wrong experience....attending social events, taking special interest money and being the target of scandal after scandal.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  165. Sam Foster

    Not as much as Hillary would like it and the best example ould be Bill's experience when he took office to Obamas. She thought he had enough.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  166. Brian From Fort Mill, S.C.

    Of course experience matters. However, what exactly do we mean by experience?

    The way I understand it, Hillary says she has the experience. How much of it is her own experience, and how much of it is from listening to Bill talking in his sleep?

    As far as presidents go, experience is sometimes a good thing, and sometimes not so good.

    I think that Obama is suggesting that there is such a thing as too much experience, especially if it is experience in a corrupt system such as the traditional Washington system of government.

    He's claiming that the only way to change the system is to hire someone that hasn't been indoctrinated into the system. He claims that he can do so by appealing to both friends and enemies, and working together.

    It's a crazy idea that just might work. After all, nothing else has worked!

    February 25, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  167. Bernadette

    Hillary CLinton states we do not need anyone who has to look at a instruction manual on foreign policy. I ask her, How does she know about a instruction manual, did her husband use one? Probably so, so its not a bad thing. Is that the reason she thinks she would be best. She blows off the handle and does not maintain her composure. At first I thought it would be a good idea for her to be President but know I am afraid of her running our country. My vote is for Obama now!!

    February 25, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  168. Jordan (Debary, FL)

    It really is comical when these candidates focus on being ready on day one. Ready for what? What have any of them ever led? So they've taken trips abroad and gotten themselves photographed with foreign dignataries. Does that bestow any semblance of good judgment upon any of them? Hillary keeps talking about her 35 years in public service, McCain pimps out his militiary service, and Obama tells us about his community activism and time in the Illinois Senate. If these experiences make one politician better suited to become leader of the free world than anyone else, then ours truly is a great country.

    Debary, Florida

    February 25, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  169. Enderlyn from Canada

    Jack, experience doesn't necessarily translate to good leadership. I hope the American people would see beyond it.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  170. doug Cartersville ga

    Beware of the man who paints a beautiful picture and doesn't even have a paint brush.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  171. Emily Coletta from New York

    I prefer no experience to bad experience.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  172. Demos, Race in Politics.

    Jack,
    This is bogus. HRC is in this race just because she was ex-first lady, those who still need favors are still around. Remember Jack, "To the Soul well-born, the value doesn't wait the number of years." Obama has what it takes, the people have spoken, but the veteran machine doesn't want to accept it.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  173. Dee Mena AR

    Experience matters a lot. Look what happened when a selected president like bush was put in office without experience. We don't have time for a training class in the White House. Senator Clinton is experience and has certainly been vetted which obama doesn't have the experience and hasn't been vetted. If obama, heaven forbid, wins the nomination, the republicans will have a field day with him....I'll go for experience when I vote for a Presidential nominee or a President and that is Senator Clinton...

    February 25, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  174. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Experience only matters if someone can show me where in the Constitution it is part of a presidential candidates resume or do we need the Justices to step in and explain the Constitution to these candidates.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  175. John, Las Vegas, NV

    Sure, experience matters, but with a couple caveats.

    1. Your experience should be relevant and, more importantly, YOURS! Being married to someone doesn't mean their experiences suddenly apply to you.

    2. Your experience shouldn't jade you to the job requirements. As a Democrat supporting Obama, I've heard all kinds of derogatory comments from Hillary and her supporters. And I'm supposed to back her if she wins the nomination? Get real.

    3. Experience is a double-edged sword. Rightly or wrongly, the GOP experience of Hillary Clinton makes it career suicide for them to attempt to work with her. This is not a stirring qualification to get past the gridlock our political process is in.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  176. chris w. (florida)

    Thank god Nader is running.. now Floridian Voters that Mr Obama called a beauty contest, have someone to vote for if Hillary doesnt get the nomination. It will be interesting to see if pro- media cnn for Obama post this..

    February 25, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  177. Paul Holloway

    Jack,

    To be able to oversee a campaign with success of this magnitude, Obama has proven his ability to lead. A campaign is a project, an enormous one. The decision making involved is complex and highly cerebral. He will say the credit goes to his staff. But, he acts as the commander in chief, making the final decisions. If you research his campaign's strategy you will find it to be ingenious. A President of the United States Of America is surrounded by his support staff. Obama would make the final decisions and I trust him to make the right ones.
    In Contrast, much like her health care project, Hillary's campaign has been a disaster. Jack, we don't need another 8 year disaster.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  178. tab

    Jack, hillary's campaign is as weathered as your smoked to many years wrinkled up face. i hope her canpaign can kick the habit.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  179. Gloria

    I think experience is better than none at all, not only experience but ability to handle the job matters also. Hillary has the experience and the ideas of how to handle our problems, Barack has the charisma. But I also think the people who are asking Hillary to throw in the towel are backing John McCain. I and many other Democratic and Independent voters will never back Barack, I plan on voting for John McCain as I have been told several other Democrats and Independents feel the same way if Hillary does not get the nomination. Charisma does not go very far in the world we live in today – we need someone who can get the job done. Perhaps we will have another Republican administration but I think John McCain can do a much better job than Barack Obama.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  180. Is it Hillary's or Bill's

    If her experience were real, it should count for something.

    But, Hillary's whole campaign is:
    (a) either borrowed from Bill or
    (b) really Bill's third term

    February 25, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  181. DEB, Eagan, Minnesota

    I would like you to have more than one year of experience before you deliver my baby, clean my teeth, cut my hair, build or repair my house, or embalm a relative. Yes, experience matters.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  182. D.H.

    NEW BROOMS SWEEP CLEANER

    Obama08

    February 25, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  183. Lonnie

    Jack,

    I would have to say that I agree with you. Some of the American public doesn't take into account the key point that none of these candidates have "experience" at being president and/or running something other than their own campaign. The top 3 nominees all boast a bit about their own "accomplishments" but the true test will come the day they take the oath of presidency. It's been a lot of personal horn tooting, but we all must realize that all these candidates share a common ground; they all only have their words and future promises to move and motivate us. Other than that, none of them can truly know what's in store on day one.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  184. Miles Theoret

    Well, im not an american, but if i could vote in the general election i could tell you right now that the sort of experience that Clinton is showing is the kinda experience that the united states doesnt need. I would chose a canidate that can unite the nation over one that could not, and as it stands i would rather vote mccain then clinton.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  185. Joan

    I have been waiting for someone to ask this question. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and FDR all had less political experience than Barack Obama. All three possessed intelligence, vision and strength of character, as does Barack Obama. The list goes on but, for me, the question has been answered by history.

    Joan
    Sonoma, CA

    February 25, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  186. HECTOR

    Jack why should you even put should you put such silly question on the air? It is silly to me because you ALTER and the rest of the so called free press know in your hearts of hearts that Obama would not have a chance against John Maccain in the summer, therefore you people want Hilary Clinton out so the Republicans can have a field day during the general elections and. Have another nasty four years if not eight in the white house. You guys are only doing this to protect you tax cut with the Republicans. You should all just shut up and dance for thats what you guys are good for.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  187. Dee Mena AR

    Experience DOES matter, a lot. We have a "selected" president now without experience and we sure don't need another one. We don't have time for training classes in the White House. Senator Clinton is experience, intelligent and has been vetted ... obama is NOT experienced and certainly hasn't been vetted. If he should, heaven forbid, get the nomination, the republicans will have a field day with him. We need experience and that is Senator Clinton.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  188. John H, MN

    If experience matters in the corporate world, then it should matter in the White House. No one would hire anyone to be a CEO of a company without some sort of experince in the business. Why would America want to hire someone to run this country (the highest job in the nation) with no experince? Do we want someone with experience on "Day One" say "alight, lets get to work" or someone without experience (scratching their head in question) and say "what now?"

    Experience = Foundation
    Foundation= Stability
    Stability = Success

    February 25, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  189. Barbara

    Experience counts why did Clinton take Mass.in the election When
    Deval Patrick took office as Governor The first year was hectic the heavenly words didn't take care of their problems.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  190. Doug Pierson Tohatchi, NM

    Jack: You or I could be President. It doesn't take a genius. Look at the last four years. It takes good advice and surrounding yourself with the best knowledgable people around. If Bush had surrounded himself with people who were knowledgable about Iraq he would have seen where his actions might have led. Oh well.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  191. terri of columbus , ohio

    Well Jack,

    If you are asking if Hilary is just blowing her horn I would want you to reflect on her "experience" at being subjected to media scrutiny and criticism for the last 15+ years.
    If a person can be constantly subjected to how her hair is , was her top too revealing. how can she still be married to that man? ,etc, and still want to be the president of the USA, I say she has experience but she also has Balls!!

    February 25, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  192. changing times-Charlotte NC

    Jack, the question is what's a Leader? In my mind a leader casts the vision and surrounds him or herself with people who can help accomplish the vision through their expertise. Clinton's campaign gives us the first glimpse of her ability to lead and it's not a pretty picture; a short sighted vision with no plan B for success, mis-mangement of people and resources and emotional and irratic responses to crisis. McCain on the other hand appears to be stubborn and bull-head and those kinds of leaders get sabatoged often. Obama is the only one who seems to have the mind and capacity to listen, organize and accomplish the goals of the people through forming alliances based on common ground.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  193. Demos, Race in Politics.

    Jack,
    Experience comme with its problem, the Iraq war was managed by the most experienced people in this country and they even predict that "The Iraqis will treat us as liberators", it turns out to be a disisaster. Another exemple is the "best" political machine of this country who expected a corronation in this election. Well, it turn out to be a desiaster, people forget Jack, that the time goes fast. What was true yesterday may well become obsolete pretty fast.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  194. Is it Hillary's or Bill's

    If Hillary's experience were real, it might count for something.

    But her whole campaign is: (a) borrowed from Bill ,or (b) really Bill's third term.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  195. Lena

    Jack,
    This Democratic race is just getting much too ridiculous! Our Canadian papers always feature the latest update of the attacks launched at each campaign and boy, oh boy, it sure looks like your highness the Queen Hillary is getting desperate! She's angry, she's lashing out, she's not acting like a mature individual and worst of all, she keeps polarizing the Democratic party! I am just not interested in hearing about her latest outburst. She can do ME a favour and just drop out.

    Lena K.
    Aurora, Ontario
    Canada

    February 25, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  196. KS

    How can anyone compare George W. with Barack (in terms of experience or otherwise)? George W. was a C student as an undergrad. Barack graduated with honor from Harvard Law School. Where does intelligence come into play? That is where we went wrong with Bush. We elected an idiot. That is where we can't go wrong with Barack. The man is brilliant – and there is little denying that.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  197. Ralph

    Most important is a solid knowledge of Macro-Economics, military service if at all possible, and the ability to listen to and hire the nation's best council. In order words...somebody NOT like George W. Bush. Rick, Yakima, WA.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  198. Brendan, Philadelphia

    Jack, which Quarterback would you rather have guiding your team through a rough patch of the playoffs, old-time iron man Brett Favre or two rookies? I'll go with John "Brett Favre" McCain.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  199. JustinA

    Experience without sound judgement is useless. Both McCain and Clinton are too dogmatic to be able to look at the evidence in a clear and objective manner. McCain is one-dimensional in his decision making and Clinton is too opportunistic. Only Obama has demonstrated the ability to reach a balanced decision especially in the face of uncertainty.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  200. Patricia

    Jack, A kindergartener could walk into the Oval Office & do a better job than George Bush has done. Does experience matter? Do you know right from wrong? Can you figure out how to balance a check book? Can you stop your kids from squabbling over a toy without spanking them? Can you mind your own damn business & let everyone else mind their's, & that includes staying out of their bed rooms & doctor's office?? If you can do all of those things, then YES even you have enough experience to be President of the United States!!!

    February 25, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  201. Mischelle from Illinois

    Experience matters a TON! It is very RARE that a corporate CEO comes into power young and inexperienced. Most would say that it wouldn't be good for the bottom line. Well gues what...The leadership of a country is no different. Obama has a LOT to learn, and he is not ready yet...he has not been tested and there will be buyers remorse if he takes the ticket.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  202. robin

    Dear Jack,
    This idea that Barack Obama has lest experience that Hillary Clinton is stupid . Because he can do a good job of being president if not better .
    He shown time and time again . He has won all over this country . As well he has the back bone to be president . The judgement to do it right . Not only that he can reach out to other around the world to heal this country . And all over the world .
    Healing this country is more important to me . Bring our troops home .
    In a safe time . This 60 day thing , It not safe , It has to be in a year or more ,

    February 25, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  203. Tom

    I find it simply ridiculous that anyone can claim to have the experience needed to be president. The power of that office is staggering and the responsibilities laid upon the commander and chief is not comparable to any previous task. Not even our founding fathers were fully prepared for such a position with such power. Arguments over the nature of the Presidency and ways to check its power without defeating the purpose of having an executive was a hotly debated issue then. Our greatest presidents like Washington, Lincoln, and FDR understood the gravity of the position, they were not glory hounds seeking to win a popularity contest. Each of these men were driven by the idea that their service to the country could improve the lives of the people and continue to preserve and help our fragile democracy grow.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  204. Greg Walker Lawton, Oklahoma (Cameron University)

    Washington DC is full of experience and that experience has been special interest, a failed war in Iraq, a declining dollar, and a consolidation of wealth at the top. It's time for a new experience it's time for change.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  205. Jim, American in Paris

    Not having much experience or certainly much less than Hillary Clinton makes Barak Obama's campaign hard to believe in.

    We can believe in what we trust and acts count more than words.

    With experience usually comes accomplishments and also some disappointments but we learn from both and that makes us wiser and more trust worthy.

    Having a reputation and a name known and respected around the world for many years now, like Hillary Clinton, has already given her a place in history without being President. All that's missing is for her to raise her hand and be sworn in on January 20th 2009.

    No country in the world would find that extraordinary, that is to say a contradiction, because of all she has done in her life.

    Neither should Americans.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  206. George Wilson

    Let's use a little logic right here. If you were having brain surgery, would you want someone with experience? If you were running a college is experience necessary? If you are flying an airplane would knowing how be a good idea? Let's just imagine that your answers were all nos, then I guess running the largest government in the world wouldn't require any experience. Just because we were fool enough to elect George Bush 2 times without him knowing that he was supposed to be President for all Americans, doesn't mean we have to be idiots again.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  207. jennykilbo

    Every great business manager knows that you can't do it all alone – and this is why we can't expect every candidate to be an "experienced" expert in everything the presidency will require. Great leadership comes from knowing how to surround yourself with the expert knowledge and lead the team towards the vision. Hillary's all-nighters "hard at work" just do not necessarily add up to a management style that listens to others' experience in order to delegate responsibility efficiently. I think Obama knows what his shortcomings are in his past work experience, and he knows how to bring in the expertise he needs to solidify his administration and accomplish his huge ambitions. He's a listener, he gets it.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  208. Chibuzor

    Jack, I do believe experience matters in all we do but the question is what type of experience are asking of these candidates. I my opinion, a sound Judgement trumps the accumalation of decades long of divisive experiences. Its now time to break away from the past and unite the United States.

    Chi
    Poughkeepsie

    February 25, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  209. Donna Cunningham

    Hey...
    Maybe we should replace the word experience with the word maturity. I think that is a factor here.
    Just being in the Senate for a longer allows for more knowledge of how our government works.....good or bad.
    It's so obvious that you do not like Sen. Clinton. I don't think she misses your support.
    Donna in Ohio

    February 25, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  210. Dixie Siegel

    I suppose that running the best grassroots political campaign ever might just count for something. Obama has mobilized nearly one million supporters, who are donating, calling, canvassing, and volunteering. We all take our responsibility very seriously in choosing to move this country in a positive direction.

    Senator Obama has detailed plans to make citizens participatory and
    politicians accountable. He co-spwritten 890 bills and co-sponsored another 1096. He co-sponsored the strongest ethics legislation ever passed. His Google for government will allow everyone the ability to track online federal grants, earmarks, and lobbyist contacts. Ordinary citizens can offer solutions, as well as monitor legislation.

    Some have criticized his call for hope. You can do one of the following. The first is to hope that the status quo remains. If so, you can “hope” that you don’t lose your house while the upper 1% of the wealthy get tax breaks, you can “hope” that we don’t fight a hundred year war, and you can “hope” that we have no natural disasters, global warming, or infrastructure failures because the EPA, FEMA, and other governmental agencies have been gutted, or you can work to elect Obama.

    Fear and lack of hope have taken us into this quagmire of economic ruin and despair. Americans deserve more. Vote Obama so we can truly hope.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  211. Kim NY

    Sound judgement counts far more than experience.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  212. Ryan Ruzich

    How can you have experience to be the President of a country? This whole argument is insane. What job in the world is going to give you "experience" for being President of the United State of America? Bill was a governor, Hillary is a senator and so is Obama, and all of our leaders have held these sorts of positions. So I guess the only way I would say a candidate has proper experience for the Presidency is if he or she ran a smaller country prior to this? And I do believe the answer to that is no, so this whole experience argument is ridiculous. I believe it was Jon Stewart who asked if being First Lady was being counted as experience for Hillary? and the insanity of this question brilliantly lays out the insanity of this entire argument.

    Party like a Barack-star!
    Obama 08!

    February 25, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  213. Benny (Toronto, Canada)

    Jack:

    Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.

    (PS. I read this in an email – no plagiarism here!)

    February 25, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  214. Shelley in NE Florida

    Of course being president of the U.S.A. is a job where experience counts and running a state is a great prelude for one who has successfully manned that helm has learned to deal with the other two branches of government – legislative and judicial. So, we must judge the remaining for the quality of their decision making, ability to surround themselves with visionary people who can provide them with both micro and panoramic perspectives, and charisma. The first two you can either acquire, the third is a gift.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  215. Ray from Canada

    This isn't a matter of seniority. 2 people can have the exact same experiences; while one can learn, grow, and draw from that experience while the other does not take advantage of opportunities.

    Experience can be a double-edged sword, it can make you jaded as well as seasoned. While it may be somewhat troubling that the current candidates don't have experience running small versions of a country it does somewhat level the playing field on that requirement. People can vote for ideas, plans, character, policy, etc rather than on a resume which at the end of the day could send a stronger message outlining what the will of the people truly is.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  216. Jimmy Crackhorn

    Hey Caff, does experince matter? Not to this country. Anyone could steer this ship, the shadow government is really in control and Americans are too old, too fat, and way too intellectually lazy to do anything about it.

    No matter what these pimped-out party candidates say, they cannot, will not, and would not be allowed to deliver on one promise. They are elusive, evasive, disingenuine, and unintelligent in their prose and rhetoric. They are serving over-simplified emotional tripe, corporate sausage for the American body Politik....have some mustard you American fools....you haven't the slightest idea what it's made of. While you're at it wash it down with some Kool Aid....hate to see you all choke on your own pork...

    February 25, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  217. Ryan Ruzich

    How can you have experience to be the President of a country? This whole argument is insane. What job in the world is going to give you “experience” for being President of the United State of America? Bill was a governor, Hillary is a senator and so is Obama, and all of our leaders have held these sorts of positions. So I guess the only way I would say a candidate has proper experience for the Presidency is if he or she ran a smaller country prior to this? And I do believe the answer to that is no, so this whole experience argument is ridiculous. I believe it was Jon Stewart who asked if being First Lady was being counted as experience for Hillary? and the insanity of this question brilliantly lays out the insanity of this entire argument.

    Party like a Barack-star!
    Obama 08!

    Ryan Ruzich
    Duluth, MN

    February 25, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  218. Jane G

    Normally, I would say actual experience is important, but not essential. Presidents have staffs of qualified advisors.

    However, G Bush has made such a catastrophe of our foreign relations that our next president should probably be someone who is super-qualified to correct the situation. That is primarily why I feel so strongly that Hillary should win the nomination. The Clinton's are loved and respected all over the world and have proven that they can make a difference. We must reestablish our place in the international community.

    Barack would make a great VP!!!!!

    February 25, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  219. Karen

    This is the same paradox we entwine our children with as they go into the workforce! How can you have experience without getting experience??!!

    I am a Republican who will be so voting for Obama in November as I am sick to death of the rich getting richer and poor getting poorer. Forget the experience, just do something about my take home pay and get the men and women home from Iraq!

    February 25, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  220. jackie

    Experience doesn't matter when you don't have control of your emotions. Hillary Clinton can't make up her mind whether to be teary or a raving shrew. I could not believe the downright anger I'm seeing in her face during your newsclips of her today. For what? Because some one disagrees with her point of view. I thought for a minute I was seeing John McCain in action. SHAME ON YOU,HILLARY!

    February 25, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  221. cathy piller

    I don't believe anyone has all the answers.The President can get the best advisers out there. He/she just needs to be able to weigh the advice and choose the best path.
    Cathy
    Mn.

    February 25, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  222. dan in hopkinton , mass

    When Sony records signs a hot new artist who produces the record? An experienced producer. When John McCain knew the Times were sniffing around about the lobbyist story who did he hire? Bob Bennett an experienced attorney. When Sanjay Gupta brought us the horrific story of that boy who was severly burned in Baghdad who did the surgeries? The two most experienced doctors in that field. And when Obama fills out his cabinet and advisors who will he look to? The same EXPERIENCED WASHINGTON INSIDERS he demonizes. Experience always matters. Obama has very little.

    February 25, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  223. Pat McFarland

    All I know is that Lincoln (who is considered by most the greatest American President) served only one term in the house, 11 years before he became President.

    February 25, 2008 at 6:46 pm |
  224. DJ, Detroit

    JOB TITLE :

    President of the United States

    EXPERIENCE REQUIRED:

    Changes every day

    February 25, 2008 at 6:46 pm |