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February 5th, 2008
04:50 PM ET

Issues vs. character?

People wait in line at a polling place in the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles, on Super Tuesday.  Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.<br />

People wait in line at a polling place in the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles, on Super Tuesday. Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The economy. The war in Iraq. Health care. Immigration. Terrorism. Those are the issues on the minds of Americans as they cast ballots on this Super Tuesday. But the issues are not “the issue” this election day.

The Wall Street Journal reports that voters are placing a higher priority on intangible qualities like leadership ability and governing style instead of ideas. It seems to be a reflection on the country's mood at the moment: people are sick and tired of the partisan wars and gridlock in Washington and are looking for someone to rise above it and lead. This is part of the reason why candidates like Barack Obama and John McCain are doing so well.

The Journal says: "To many voters, precisely what gets done seems less important than the prospect that something actually will get done."

One pollster says on the Democratic side there's been no correlation in exit polls between the issues people say are important and the candidate they vote for. As for the Republicans, a recent poll found that the characteristic on which McCain – who's now the front-runner – ranked the lowest was "shares your position on issues".

Of course, once we get past the primaries, this is likely to change assuming there are significant differences on top issues between the Republican and Democratic nominees. But for now, it looks like the American people are hungry for a candidate who can bridge the partisan divide and lead this country back onto the right track.

Here’s my question to you: What matters more to you in this primary election: issues or character, and why?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Karl writes:
Character is far more important than issues. In addition to character, our next leader needs to have curiosity, be creative, be able to communicate, have courage, conviction, charisma, be competent and have common sense. All lacking in the current White House. Select your candidate carefully this time.

Phil writes:
On the Democratic side, a vote for one candidate's issues is essentially a vote for the other's. What citizens should be looking at is each candidate's leadership character. Obama will bring a passive leadership that he thinks will spark change through unity and compromise. Clinton realizes the truth, and promises a fight against our conservative government. At this point in time, Clinton's leadership character wins her my vote.

Andrew writes:
I am a conservative and I voted for George Bush. I count myself as a person who is dismayed and disgusted at the state of the U.S. in the world, and in our capital. I disagree with Senator Obama on most every issue. But I am supporting him because I believe it is more important to have someone in Washington with whom I can civilly disagree than continue to see the nonsense that has been our national direction and leadership.

Kristy from Missouri writes:
This time around, I would have to say character, and I don't mean is he a nice guy or does he like interns. I mean, can he work with all these crazy factions and achieve some sort of consortium that can begin to heal the nation and get some issue, ANY issue, resolved. We don't need a Democrat or Republican, we need an American who can say the hell with these bratty party-cliques and represent WE THE PEOPLE.

Jonathan writes:
The character of a candidate is a very important detail, which is more than likely why Rudy Giuliani is no longer running. However, character doesn't make the economy any better than it is now, and doesn't bring our troops home any sooner. By far, a candidate's stance on the issues is more important.

Darren writes:
If you ask me, Jack, they're all characters, and they all have issues!


Filed under: Super Tuesday
soundoff (283 Responses)
  1. Brett Milam

    This should not even be a debate Jack. Issues take dominance over anything. The issues and the record should come to mind long before "do I think this guy is likeable".

    February 5, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  2. W B in Las Vegas

    I would like to say both BUT it's really CHARACTER because if we elect another LIAR, then what they say about the issues is irrelevant.

    February 5, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  3. Ralph from New York

    Jack, this will be a race defined by personality. We know what we have had, and we know what is being promised. So much of the platforms of our would-be candidates, especially on the Democratic ticket are in agreement, so it time to decide who is capable of delivering the promises agreed to by so many.

    February 5, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  4. Michael "C" in Lorton, VA

    Issues come and go; you can win some and loose some. But "character" defines a person. No one can afford to loose their "character", because once you loose it, it can never be regained. Ask the Clintons....

    February 5, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  5. Kirk

    Why does it have to be a choice of issues or character? The issues facing the United States today have everything to do with the character of the current President. We are embroiled in 2 wars, neither of which we are winning. The economy is tanking and all the current administration can do is come up with a loose fitting band aid. Both we, the citizens of the US, and the world have been lied to time after time and the world sees that even though we know that we've been lied to, we do nothing about it. The character of the US needs major surgery before the issues facing us can even be approached.

    February 5, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  6. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    I want the candidates to talk about and discuss the issues that are important to all the people. We need to stop the phony stuff like flag burning,gay marriage and the like. There are so many things like infrastructure,health care,retirement and educating and training a workforce for the future of our country. We truly need visionary and courageous leaders now more than ever before. The future of the United States depends on it.

    February 5, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  7. Richard B. Sawyer

    As I wrote in my book "Goodbye Mr. President", I said on May 5th ,1996 Senator Bob Dole quits the Senate to run for President. As, I said Clinton lead in the presidential race, he lead Bob Dole by 53 per cent to Dole's 34 percent in the Spring of 1996.He could not get the public to accept him as a local boy from Kansas. That image of Dole was long gone when he took over the Senate leadership from the Democrats. Many local Republicans in all fifty states were afraid that Bob Dole would go down to defeat in November 's election, to a scandalized President William Jefferson Clinton.
    Many local Republicans like in 1996, could be afraid to go down to defeat if Senator John McCain gets the Republican nomination with anti-war candidates Senators Hillary Clinton or Obama.

    Richard B. Sawyer
    Economic Historian

    February 5, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  8. TLC

    In my own professional and personal opinion, character should be the number one criteria used in selecting a person to be elected. Why. A person of true character will do the right things, like admitting when they are wrong about sending our troops into war without just cause and a person with these traits would bring them home now. A person of true character would care more about the people they serve than themselves, unlike the Billary's of the world.

    Mary Poppins from Texas

    February 5, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  9. Thomas, FL

    I'm glad you asked this question. There should be one thing and only one thing that determines how someone votes: the issues. Character will not end our ridiculous foreign policy, out of control spending, and health care problem. If voters listened to what the candidates are saying rather than how they were saying it, Obama would be a nobody, and Ron Paul and Tom Tancredo would be front-runners. This isn't American Idol, people. Wake up!

    February 5, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  10. Jasmine

    Character. Issues can be altered as the new president has to compromise with congress and when they are really managing each issue they can pool the best advisors in the country. But character dictates how they will respond the the experts and how well they can get their agendas passed. Not to mention the countless unpridictable events that might occur like 911, and how that is dealt with goes back to character. Maybe if Bush hadn't been such a yeeh ha, wouldn't be in the mess were in now.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  11. Common Man

    I think Character is more important then issues. If you elect someone of poor character it does not matter what their thoughts on issues are because a person of poor character will never think of anything or anyone but themselves. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. Poor character makes for poor judgment and nothing good can come of that. Ever.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  12. Terry North Carolina

    Jack
    At this point issues are more important, and the answers on the resolution to these issues.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  13. Dave Brooklyn, NY

    There can be no separation of these two. A candidate with a poor character may have all the right answers but no intention of acting on the issues. We’ve been through this already. We need some one who understands the issues and has the character to deal with solutions in an unselfish manner, and to have the character to admit mistakes when they are made.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  14. Eugene in NorCal

    Wow Jack, Issues or character. That's tough, with this batch, of usual suspects. They are no doubt a bunch of characters, with no new ideas, on any issue. They've all regurgitated old ideas and called it change. Give me just one new and original idea, from any of them. Our nation desperately needs change but it won't come from these, or any other, pandering, professional politicians. Clean house in 2008.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  15. Greg from PA

    The Republicans, with the exception of Ron Paul, are generally united in their position on the issues and the differences between Obama and Clinton are negligible. It's character that separates them. And oh what a bunch of characters they are!

    February 5, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  16. Chuck B Coastal NC

    I believe that they go hand in hand. The question should be, who do you trust to handle the issues at hand? Look at the last 10 general elections, all but FORD of the GOP has campagined on downsizing governemnt,balancing the budget and extending world democary. They have not come close too any of those promises. Actuially, they have given us the opposite. They have inflated our budgets at records amounts(mainly on giving the rich taxcuts and expanding the military),they have either taken us to war or came close to war (an exuse to build up the military),and they have run inflation and our economy based on"the trickle down economy system". It has not worked, its not going to work, yet there are fools that will buy into this system,thinking it will work this time. That is the defind as INSANITY -" repeating the same thing over and over again expecting different resolutes". Face it, the GOP has no clue on how to balance the budget, since 1979(my first time I could vote), the GOP haven't and looking back into history, I can't remember it ever happening. As for the war and imigration, well the GOP helped to get us into this mess on immigration(over the last 7+yrs)they have not allowed anything to happen. The same can be said about the war, it been a GOP war since we have foundout about the misinformation authorizing the war.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  17. Joy

    Character is going to have a lot to do with this years election. Bush covered the issues and look what we got, a big fat 0. Had we scrutinized his character a little more, we would have known better. We want to believe our candidates and know they will be representing us to their fullest.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  18. Tina

    Issues matter more. We all thought in 2000 we were getting character and look how people have been slapped in the face. I want a president who is willing to reach across party lines and work with the other side and one who is willing to sit down and talk with rouge nation leaders instead of acting like a big brat and ignore them.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  19. Paul, Lafayette, LA

    Jack, in this election cycle for the primaries I must say that character matters more. The reason is that as a Democrat, I am worried about putting Hillary Clinton on the Democratic ticket. Her policies are almost identical to Obama's, but her character is flawed. She is the George Bush of the Republican Party – she will say what she wants, do what she wants, and pull out any stops, including trying to get Michigan and Florida delegates counted, to win the nomination. She does not truly care about bringing people together. If we want to solve problems, we need to work together – and Barack Obama is the only candidate who can bring the necessary people together to actually solve the problems. With Hillary, you get more divisiveness, pandering, and cronyism that we have put up with for far too long. Why people don't see through her is beyond me. Obama does what he says, is honest, and will stand by his decisions. If we nominate Hillary, we will have done a disservice to the Democratic party and to this country, because it will guarantee a victory for a Republican candidate, regardless of who it is. While issues will become important long-term, we must focus now on how a candidate will be as a president – someone honest, trustworthy, and caring. Not someone who is egotistical, self-centered, and out of touch with the reality of life in America.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  20. Josie

    In my opinion it should be about the issues. But as always character is the deciding factor. It's a fact people tend to vote for who they like regardless of the issues that why Bush is in the White House and why Obama will probably win this sucker!

    February 5, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  21. R Bennett

    Find me a character that doesn't have Issues and I will vote for them.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  22. J.C. from Raleigh, NC

    Jack,
    Sounds like the old in-basket question: "Do the times make the person or the person the times?". You pose a conundrum, but ,if one must make a choice, character has to trump issues. Issues are often evanescent-character should be the opposite. That's why character has been such an issue in the primaries.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  23. Paul, Lafayette, LA

    Sorry Jack- to my previous comment, I meant Hillary is the George Bush of the Democratic Party.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  24. Sandy

    Issues. ...The candidates are all "characters" in a sad old story called Politics. I"ll be glad when this tale is over.Hurry up November so we can get at least a four year break!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 5, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  25. Mary

    Jack, Issues mean more to me than anything else as in the last elections, people went for someone they wanted to have a beer with; well they should have gotten a good load of their beer partner with Bush; now we need "someone, who has been there, done that."

    February 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  26. Gigi

    They both should matter equally. It seems to me that we should be looking for someone that is right on the issues and have the character and moral fiber to take on the tough issues of the day.
    I guess I am dreaming because the one candidate that I thought knew the issues and how to fight for them, and also had the character and moral fiber to tackle them is no longer in the race.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  27. JoAnn in Iowa

    McCain and Romney. There isn't much difference between them in what they say now, but it is a change from what both have said before, so hard to sort out.

    Obama and Clinton. There really isn't much difference between them policy wise, but there is a world of difference between them in character and style. Obama wins by a mile!! I want to vote "for" my candidate instead of having to support my candidate just because she isn't the "other guy". Obama is someone we can vote "FOR".

    February 5, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  28. Ed Reed

    Issues! This country has some serious problems that need to be addressed and we need a factual based discussion as how best to solve them. Bringing up "character" in the debate is just a distraction used by those losing the factual argument.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  29. Dana

    Jack, I like this question. It would be nice to say issues, but we all know we are promised things and then it never happens, so I think Character. Your character represents who you are as a person and that can say a lot. Look at the current adminstration! Hiliary didn't tell Bill to shutup and that speaks about who will be in charge once in office, McCain who was GWB best-friend until he decided to run suddenly change his spots which tells me we will always be in this war. Romney not to sure about and Obama wants to change Washington. I can't agree with war for ever and I can't agree with amnesty either. Which one is the worst of the two evils? Amnesty and the war both effect our economy, but for some reason the only one that realizes that is the Middle Class and Lou Dobbs

    Dana in Florda

    February 5, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  30. Toby

    Jack, The issues are important to me; however, aren't they just a carrot on a stick! The issues matter because we want change! Character always reveils itself later. Won't we really find out about character next year at this time when we find ourselves saying: "D@mm they lied to us again! " If not: that will be a change!

    February 5, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  31. Rex in Portland

    Character. Like Ron Paul.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  32. Patricia

    Jack, I'll take issues every time. Bush billed himself as the Christian character & there's been nothing Christian about his presidency. Democrats will win on the issues, how to get out of Iraq, how not to go to war with Iran, how to kill "no Child Left Behind", or how to get health care for all. I've had enough of the bad character of George Bush.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  33. Eli

    Jack,
    It is the track record that counts. Tell me what you've done, i'll tell you what you'll do. Politics resemble real life; you need to fight for what you believe in. Inspiration without perspiration is just hot air. Character and issues combine to make the candidate.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  34. Sam

    Issues AND character: We need someone with the character to face the issues, and with the right issues to defend. Too bad we have turned into a country that sells candidates by the same formula it sells toothpaste. And when it's time to elect presidents, we elect those we would like to have a beer (or watch Oprah) with. Sometimes the beer guy is just the beer guy ...

    February 5, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  35. john

    Both character and the issues matter. Unfortunately, few candidates offer both.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  36. Scott

    issues Jack, there's not a politician on the planet that has character.

    bowling green, mo.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  37. Jim from PA

    Character Jack. If a candidate is a hardworking person he'll be a hardworking president. If a candidate is honest then you will get an honest president. Character decides how a pres. will deal with the issues.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  38. Julie VanDusky

    What matters most to be is voting for someone who has some military experience (serving or Congressional) because if we're going to end the war, we have to do it the right way!

    February 5, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  39. Mark

    It's the issues that matter. I voted for Hillary Clinton. If she is defeated I will vote for republican presidential candidate. Women becoming leaders and security of the country.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  40. David A. Morse, Stoneham, MA

    Character matters more than issues. Because after eight years of President Bush abusing his power, ignoring laws, and violating the Constitution, we need a person of character to restore the balance of power. And bring back respect for the rule of law.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  41. Victor

    Jack, Of course personal charisma is going to play a huge role in this election. Something I think a lot of us Situation Room views forget is that most Americans don't obsess over candidates like we do! When your knowledge of a candidate comes almost entirely from 30 second commercials, charisma is going to be far more important than the actual issues, which take hours to cover entirely. As a side note, I think that if you take a guy with Ron Paul's ideas and Obama's charisma, you'd have a sure-fire GOP nominee. -Victor, Mission Viejo CA

    February 5, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  42. Laura Patsouris

    Issues matter, which is why I voted for Senator Clinton. Senator Obama is a fine speaker and can certainly make folks feel warm and fuzzy...but at the end of the day it is experience, issues and an extensive knowledge of policy that will make an administration effective in passing its agenda. Good ideas and the expertise to get them implemented are essential in breaking through the gridlock of the status quo.

    Laura
    CT

    February 5, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  43. suzie from Atlanta, GA

    Character is something we determine when we actually KNOW someone.
    We don't personally know any of these people.
    So I have to base my vote on the way they confront the issues known to us at the time they are running.
    Some issues change, and some remain with us for decades, but if I can get an idea of HOW the candidate looks at problem solving, and the details they have, I can judge for myself (thanks anyway) who I want to work on the massive problems we will always face, because we are such a big country.
    I am not impressed by huge rallies, or slogans. I am impressed by details, and thoughtful programs, and the concern for all of us those programs may or may not indicate. I care about their grasp of the world, and this country. I do care VERY much about honesty, their record of accomplishments, and how truthfully that record is presented. I care about checkbook honesty: who donates to them, and why. I am not going to hold anyone to the exact words they use on the campaign trail, I realize this is not a dictatorship, in spite of Bush's best efforts, and Congress has a say in our future too. I am going to hold them to their ideas, and thought process. In fact, I prefer details to sweeping rhetoric any day. I can give a great speech, I majored in public speaking, and I am great at it. But I couldn't run the country. I am supporting Clinton: substance over style. Words don't change anything. Actions do.
    I don't care about their personal life, or pretend I will ever know these patriotic citizens who want to serve our country. I am just grateful to all of them for the effort.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  44. DAK

    Jack
    I believe it is both 2/3 issues and 1/3 character split. The issues are most important to me, but I have to believe the good character of the candidate will help them to carry out the office of the Presidency.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  45. Linda

    Its kind of like the "chicken and egg" dilemma. For example, if our current President had any character (wasn't a liar), we probably would not be faced with some of the issues that we have today.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  46. Jenny from New York

    Character is most important. It determines HOW a candidate will govern regarding ALL issues.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  47. Ronald Holst

    Jack Hum Issues Verse Character
    Well Jack To me what ever the Issue is that the Canadte puts at the top of his list shows me his Character Like TAX cuts For BIG Busness Or There stand On illeagel immagration Or Heath Care or Education Or Between Peace and War.
    Dont you think Both are intertwined

    February 5, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  48. Jerry

    Character Jack, after putting up with the Bush boy for the past seven years, it would be nice to have someone in the white house that wasn't such a big liar and only thinks about himself and what a great decider he is. What a damn shame.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  49. Chad

    I would hope issues would take precedence over someone's character in the minds of Americans. We are still fighting TWO wars, the borders are wide open, our economy is slipping, and the value of our dollar is falling. We need someone who can work with congress to actually get things done instead of grandstanding and being so "like-able" in front of the cameras.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  50. Bruce MN

    I think the two are intertwined. A candidate's comments on issues can reveal character. Mike Huckabee seems lke a "character" guy, yet his idea of an economic stimulis is naking the Bush tax cuts permanent. Either he doesn't understand the economy, or he lives in a different worl. McCain is running on his character, yet he now embraces the Bush tax cuts as well, and misrepresents his prior objections to them. The top two Dems are nearly identical in their general views, but differ on some details. Obama talks more in terms of principal and insprational themes, making him seem to be a man of character. Is that true, or is he better at tapping into the emotional needs of voters? Clinton more often talks in terms of policy which seems less personal. Is it character or style?
    The President has always talked about family values, but whose family? His policies have been a detriment to American families. Did he not know that a war and tax cuts for the wealthy during a recession would cause economic pain to most Americans? Or does he only care about "his people"?
    I think charactoer is important but hard to judge since the candidates are packaged and brought to us by very calculated TV ads. If they seem similar on the issues, we have to try to see through the BS and find clues to their character.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  51. Prudence from Phoenix, AZ

    Both. You have to trust the candidate who represents your issues. Clinton appears good on the surface, but she has difficulty with the truth. I believe Obama. That is why he's got my vote!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  52. James

    Jack,
    I believe they are equally important. You want a person of great character but if you have someone who spends all their time talking about issues and shows a lack of character then how can you accept that it's anything but talk. But then Bill Clinton seemed to have great character when he was running and he turned out to be full of lies. So how about this, I want a President who doesn't lie to Americans.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  53. Debra

    Both. I have issues with someone of no character.......My government represents me, and to feel that one is a better reason over the other says something about the people supposedly represented, don't you think?

    February 5, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  54. Richard Sternagel

    I think that a candidate who speaks to the issues in my language (addressing issues in common with average working class citizen) and who is perceived as being trustworthy with integrity will get my vote. So I guess character is the main attribute! Go Obama!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  55. Susan

    Both are equally important. Character and the Issues. are paramount this election.

    The future of America depends on it. But, without a solid Economic Foundation some of the issues get tarnished.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  56. Don Saas from Philippi, WV

    When the two leading Democratic candidates have virtually the same ideas on the issues, it's all going to come down to character Jack. This nation yearns for a leader who is going to inspire them. We crave hope and the dream that we can make a better tomorrow. The issues matter, but in the end, it comes down to who we believe can help us reclaim the American dream. I believe that man is Barack Obama, and I believe it with all of my heart.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  57. joe m

    character seems such a rare commodity in the political world that it is hard for people to look away when it suddenly shows up. let's face it, we've all heard about the issues from past candidates, and what have we really gotten from all that talk. politicians can talk about issues from now until the cows come home, but in the end we end up asking 'where's the beef?'

    February 5, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  58. Ray Sjodin

    Regarding the primaries, I believe that character trumps issues. Issues
    get muddled and are often practically forced upon candidates by their
    voter constituencies. When actually in office, there is little evidence that
    the candidates voted in actually do the will of those who voted for them.
    They do what they think best, so I'd rather have a person of high character
    doing the thiking.

    Ray , Baltimore, Maryland

    February 5, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  59. Deb

    ISSUES and what will truly bring real change to this multi-culturally morphed nation. You have blacked out the only candidate who will DO (a charater issue) what must be done (issues only) to keep us from sliding into third world status. He will not be allowed to represent the Republican party for many reasons.

    I will vote for the Democrat candidate because that will tank America faster and then all bets are off. As a bankrupt, China-bought mistress getting her butt whipped everywhere in the world, who knows what will happen.

    Past President George Washington is still right. So is Rush Limbaugh–whom I haven't listened to in 9 years.

    Deb
    TN

    February 5, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  60. Will K

    Issues define what a candidate thinks about yesterday, character defines how a person will react to tomorrow.

    Many people voted for Bush in 2000 because they liked his position on issues like abortion and taxes.

    Then 9/11 happened and his character qualities, of bullish arrogance and criminal incuriousness, have cost thousands of Americans their lives and cost a nation its pride.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  61. Sam3dogs

    Jack, If anyone votes based on character, they are fools. I don't care what someone else does in the privacy of their own lives however, I do care when their decisions, actions, and policies affect myself, family, and nation. If Rudy wants to walk around in dresses, or Bill wants to chase the hired help, or FDR wants to have cocktail hour(s) everyday, or JFK wants to well, nevermind, so be it. Just don't push it on us or let it phase your decision-making. When dealing with issues that are front and center to all Americans, make choices based on the common good. Boy there's a phrase you don't hear much anymore. Common good as well as common sense are two things lacking lately. I can't remember the last time someone ran on the platform of, common sense, common good, will of the people, and America first. Can you?

    February 5, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  62. Michael Weber

    Character trumps issues. We elected a weasel in 2000 and 2004. He had no moral fiber and because of that look at all the issues we now face. A debacle in Iraq that has bankrupted this country, taken the lives of thousands, put national priorities on the back burner. We elected a real dud based on the fact people would like to have a beer with him? I want someone with a spine and that knows the difference between a lie and the truth.

    Mike from MN

    February 5, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  63. Sharon from Michigan

    What matters to me is the intelligence level of the candidate and the ability to think through all possible circumstances. Our present leader did not have the ability to foresee anything. Both Hillary and Obama are very intelligent people. I prefer Obama. Obama will be able to think and justify situations. Obama represents a new vision with a new direction.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  64. Christine from California

    The country focused too much on "character" the last 2 presidential elections, and look where that got us! It's the issues, stupid!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  65. Chris from SC

    Issues!! The candidates can look good in front of the cameras giving the appearance of a person with good character. Behind closed doors who knows what they are really like. If a candidate doesn't have an idea what the issues are and how they plan to solve them then why bother running for President?

    February 5, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  66. Sandy Delvillar

    Both mean the same to me. If I couldn't get the full story on someones character prior to voting for them, I might be voting for another Bush in office. I really feel that people have to get the facts on all comments regarding anyone running as a Candidate rather than listening to someone that has endorsed that person or that is a TV celebrity or movie star. The media has really hushed up alot of facts about Obama that I really feel the people should know. I don't see this happening with Hillary. If she looks crosseyed, she gets pounced on. Issues mean alot to me also because there are so many of them that need addressing. And they are all important. Again, it comes down to who would make the best President in these terrible times and get things done. The worse thing I am seeing and hearing is people voting because of race or gender and again Christianity enters the picture.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  67. Caryl

    ISSUES.
    Right now the issues are foremost because we really need to determine where the canidate stands. We have to be able to believe that the individual we elect is concerned about the issues that matter most to us. The character of that individual will determine if they are worthy and where they will end up in the history books. We have had a lot of politians who were not worth the hot air that came out of their mouths. But we believed them and some didn't get re-elected – others are still in there ( the good ole boys). Once they get the power, money and influence you can't get rid of them. But it's worth a try. CHANGE.
    CHANGE IS GOOD

    February 5, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  68. Taylor Thompson

    Jack,

    Character is most important. America needs a leader that has consistant, principled integrity and is honest to the people. The only one right now who has that trait is Ron Paul.

    Taylor T.
    Hartland, Wisconsin

    February 5, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  69. Marcus Stephens

    Most important are the issues of course Jack. The question is who has the character to get it done. We have choice to work together or spend another 4 years where no issue gets solved because no one wants to compromise.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  70. Jayson from Indiana

    They both play an important part. I have to like both before I support a candidate!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  71. Beth

    Jack, It's a no brainer, It should be the issues! We have to get away from this stuff of he was a great president but he was a bad boy. And for that reason I won't think of voteing for Hillary because she was married to Bill. It was that childish attitude that got Bush elected, and this country in the shape it is in. Weather we like what Bill did or not Hillary can get things done!! She has the experience and this country needs someone like that. We can't make someone President in hopes that he may be able to get this country back on track. Yes, we do need change, but we need someone we know can get the job done. And as much as I like Obama, I just don't think he has the experience we need right off the bat. I so much think we need Clinton, Obama ticket. There is no way we can lose. Beth, Pennsylvania

    February 5, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  72. PDX Ted

    Without question, Character.
    Bush did the Social Security issue, Bush did the economy issue, the Tax cut issue, the Iraq War issue, and Bush did the Childrens education issue, the Childrens health care issue, and the immigation issue......I'll stick with character.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  73. Adam

    Issue’s matter more in the primary election the character. Those polls where people are voting for John McCain because they like his character over his beliefs goes totally against the fundamentals of voting. This isn’t about who is going to look the best standing on the lawn at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it’s about who is going to the best job on the issue’s once they are inside the White House.

    I don’t need to like the person because I don’t have to look at or listen to them; I know how to use the remote. I need them to be able to get the job done. This isn’t a marriage, it’s only fours years.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:42 pm |
  74. Bill, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    Jack I have seen a born again Christian with supposedly good character make the biggest blunders in American history. I have also seen a president who had more than one marital affair while in office and made one of the greatest decisions during the Cuban missile crisis. I will take issues over character any day. I have a grandson who will be graduating boot camp in April. I want his commander in chief to be a person who will not be sending him into a war because of reasons than never existed in the first place. I could care less about his character or if he or she cheated on their spouse. Just as long as he or she takes time to think about what the consequences might be when making their decision.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  75. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    If issue or character put George W. Bush in the White House I don't want either one of those. So I would prefer good judgement.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  76. Raymond Wiland

    Definitely character,A person of good character will be open to the will of the populace ,and have the best interessts of the country at heart,rather than personal ambition and agenda..

    February 5, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  77. John

    Jack, the only thing that should ever matter is Character. When someone is talking about issues, candidates tend to say anything and everything about an issue just to get votes, as opposed to voting for someone based on their character, where you are judging their track record and whether or not you can trust them to keep their word once they reach office. In simpler terms, actions speak louder than words, so a persons character speaks louder than someone debating an issue.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  78. Hagar the Horrible

    The issues for both parties are the same. How a canidate reacts to them, how well he or she can be trusted, and how well they will perform similar to what you as a voter think is what should decide the results. What celebrity endorses a canidate is just a fund raising ploy. I vote for the person that has the same views of the country and the government as mine and who I believe will actually promote and accomplish some of their promises. I don't care about parties. I care about the character of the person I trust to run my country.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  79. HANK

    Issues by all means. Character among politicants ia not particularly meaning ful, since there is a tendency to mask their true character in order to win an election.
    Character will be reflected in the way a candidate responds to an issue.

    Issues affect the life of citizens since these ar what have an impact on their daily lives.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  80. John T. Lucas

    Mr. Cafferty:

    I am hoping for a Democratic victory in the presidential race so character doesn't much come into play because both Senators Clinton and Obama are fine people. Yes, i know that the press features him as a saint and her as a devil, but that is patently absurd, a thoughtless stance taken by a lazy press. Investigations of unparalleled size and cruelty turned up zilch on her. It is issues like Iraq, the economy and health care that matter. And despite Obama's claim that he can better face Senator McCain on the issue of the war, i think Clinton can meet McCain on his own level. She is a better debater than either of them and can turn McCain's warlike stance on its head.

    John Lucas
    Victoria, Canada

    February 5, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  81. Wise Merlin

    Issues, ISSUES, ""ISSUES"" are by far more important. I want to know the how, why AND when (TIMETABLE) of the politician's way of solving issues that affect ALL THE PEOPLE of this country.

    We ALREADY know the character of politicians, lower than Amoeba poop, so why waste time on that subject?

    February 5, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  82. Julia

    They both matter, Jack. A candidate needs to have strong character to make it through all the messes they will be dragged through, especially after Bush and his yes-men. But they also have to have a strong stance on the issues that matter, and be willing to perhaps go against the people around them to uphold what the American people think is the right thing to do. These two things mesh into one, they cannot be separated.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:53 pm |
  83. Adele Lile

    While issues are important, they are likely to change over the tenure of a president. Look at a candidate's character and a voter can at least be somewhat assured that, regardless of an issue, the candidate will at least HAVE a conscience and will lead based on that conscience. Too often, voters have heard candidates blather about an issue and how they will deal with that issue only to win voters over. Once elected, the person abandons a position in an effort to remain in office. If voters paid more attention to character in the first place, not just issues, we might be better served.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  84. Ruth McInerney

    You can't have one without the other. A person with true character will act correctly on the issues, and not add any more issues to deal with. The past 2 presidents have been lacking in character. Based on that I would say Clinton and McCain are neither qualified. Obama, don't really know enough yet. Romney, based on past performance, maybe.
    Can we find another group of candidates and start all over?

    February 5, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  85. Allen of Hartwell GA

    Jack, we already have some characters in politics who don't know anything about the issues. I'd much have rather have John Edwards (who many have said lacked character) in the White House than candidates with "character", because Edwards recognized the issues and made them central to his campaign. Too bad the media couldn't make a story about that.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  86. Nate in Urbana, IL

    You can throw character in the trash, Jack. Shakespeare once said "the devil can cite scripture for his purpose" and it goes hand in hand with this election. Their voting and policy record is not infallible either, but is a truer representation than the vanity and phoniness each candidate presents when in front of a camera.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:59 pm |
  87. Joy from Illinois

    Character trumps issues every time. If your character is right, then 9 times out of 10, you'll be right on the issues. Obama's character is in my opinion the best of any candidate we have seen in a long time. We know the Clintons' character. They have in the past tended to leave character laying by the roadside too many times for me to be comfortable with either one of them in the White House again.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  88. chris weidenbach

    When a term like "universal healthcare" gets applied to a healthcare plan that will NOT cover everyone, and when candidates attack each other by defining "amnesty" as an immigration plan that punishes, but does not deport illegal immigrants, who can put stock in candidates' stances on issues? Show me what someone has DONE, and I can guess very well what that person will do in the future. As Dr. King said, we need a world where people are judged by the content of their character.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:03 pm |
  89. Bobby Kelly

    If politics were all about character, then politics wouldn't be such a dirty game. Everybody likes to favor the candidate that they see to be the nicest guy (or gal), but they often end up voting for the one who is most prepared on the issues and for the job. The nicest candidate is not always the smartest and nor do they have the best opinions on the issues. If all that it takes to be President is to be a nice person, then I'm going to throw my hat in the ring and Jack, maybe you should too.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  90. Jonathan Wolf

    The character of a candidate is a very important detail, which is more than likely why Rudy Giuliani is no longer running. However, character doesn't make the economy any better than it is now, and doesn't bring our troops home any sooner. By far, a candidate's issues are more important, but seem to get overshadowed by character, and makes a candidate's whole campaign frivolous. They fight to have the public hear their positions and not their religious beliefs, or in Ron Paul's case, his insanity.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  91. Clayton

    Character is by far more important in primaries because the candidates from the same party are not far enough apart to make the issues critical. If a party puts forth a disreputable candidate, his ability to influence voters will be less regardless of what his platform is. The issues are the deciding factor in the end because for the most part you're either going to vote for conservative or liberal ideals.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  92. Richard Payne

    The economy. I lost my job at the age of 53 and so yes it is important to me. The war in Iraq. In 2003, my nephew, the son of my sister Connie, was the first soldier from Colorado, so the war is very important to me as well. Health care. I am an insulin dependant diabetic with a bad heart so health care is very important to me as well. Immigration. I live in Colorado, so immigration is important to me as well. Terrorism. I think it is important that we are not driven by fear and hate, but logic and reason, but yes this too gets som thought. Those ARE the issues on the minds of Americans as they cast ballots on this Super Tuesday. I will go tonight and work for those I believe will do the best job for me and my thoughts on this subject. I want a real "change" in direction, so I will work to that end. I will do my best, but I did my best to elect Al Gore, and that didn't work out to well, so I learned not to make any predictions Jack!

    February 5, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  93. Ron Margheim, Hood River, OR

    Its issues Jack! We have had enough of this character Bush! The issues are the rising cost of just getting by. Energy, health care, food costs all take a toll as wages are flat, jobs shipped overseas, home values fall. It appears the Republican candidates just don't get it! They all want to continue the Bush legacy of borrow and spend! We are fed up with this! Patriotism before Corporate profits!

    February 5, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  94. Karen Melton

    I think that there should be no delagates. Super or other. It should be total votes of the people. I feel like my vote doesn't really count when the delagates get to decide.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  95. MarlinRob

    Gosh Jack, with 25 people tossing their hats in the ring last summer how is anybody to sort out where they all stood on a particular issue. Besides, with the speed at which issues change, who knows what our new President should or would do next January 20th. Hence the issue of style and character becomes paramount.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  96. Pete, Fla.

    For me, it's character. Between Obama and Clinton, character matters most, mainly because they have the same stance on issues. Hillary is tough, persistent, she can say no, and has more experience. Obama is nice, which is good, but he lacks experience and is afraid of risk. The nicest guy isn't always the most capable. We're choosing the president of the world's superpower, not a pageant queen.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  97. Karl in SF

    If the President doesn't have any character then the issues are irrelevant, as they have been for over seven years. A person of character follows the will of the people. That is a primary duty of the President and not making his cronies rich and powerful at the expense of the people.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  98. Sean

    35 years of experience seems a little more important to me than another President I can have a beer with. We already know what you get when you vote based on character. We are not voting for Prom King or Queen we are voting for the next President of the United States and that requires someone who has worked hard and has a record of fighting for the United States. I don't think our soldiers in Iraq and the other Americans facing the brink of a recession care whether our President can tell a good joke.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  99. Dan in Oklahoma

    I do believe as we consider character, we consider the issues. If we know about the person, we can translate that into what they might really do. Some of the candidates offer more than others, although John McCain told the world today, if we elect him, he will get Osama. So his character, then tells me that not only are we in IRAQ next year, we should also count on Occupying Iran and Pakistan as well.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  100. Chuck in Oregon

    Its a given, issues are the primary concern their presentation of the issues show us they are intune with Americans and they have their fingers on our pulse. However, character just as important.
    Is the candidate honest, trustworthy, of good moral character and conviction. or Are they like a washing machine, tossing and turning never knowing the end result until the cycle is finished.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  101. Troy, Nashua, NH

    Character is more important at this point. Obviously, the issues are important, and I'd like to select someone who has the same values and ideas about what should be done for our country. However, being able to believe in and trust the candidate takes precendence in order to have faith that the issues will be followed through as stated.

    The other important factor that often gets overlooked by voters, that I believe is bigger than issues, is that of leadership and communication. As "leader of the free world", the President needs to be able to talk to all other leaders around the world, and be able to work on solutions to global issues.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:09 pm |
  102. Jack in Pennsylvania

    Jack,

    this one's pretty obvious. Generally American voters succumb to character. From the time we were voting in middle school for class president, we've always liked the candidate who's funniest, or nicest, or whatever. In national elections, it's seemed like we've always elected the candidate with the best personality. Many people i know say that they like Obama or McCain just because they seem "presidential." And, Jack, I'm pretty sure that's a characteristic.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:09 pm |
  103. Dave barbour

    Jack, Thank you and Wolf for telling it like it is. Too many think the United States is a democracy, read the constitution we are a Republic a very different form of government. Super Tuesday mean little with "super delegates", and I wonder at the November election with it's electoral college when President Bush LOST by 830,000 votes in the 2000 election. Issues that our own people would call "fraudalent" in offshore elections.
    No matter get out and vote it is the only way to fix it.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  104. Darren Johnson

    If you ask me, Jack, they're all characters, and they all have issues!

    February 5, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  105. Pop

    They are both of equal importance. You can have all the scruples of a Saint and still be a moron. That won't help us.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  106. Sam

    Character. We voted for Bush on the issues and look where that got us.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  107. Mike Smith

    Call me old fashioned, but I vote according to issues. What's most important to me is that the neocon movement ends and that Rush Limbaugh and his ilk no longer dictate national policy.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  108. Terry Long (San Jose, CA)

    To me, it's all about character. I am going for Obama strictly on his dedication to the young voters and voters who weren't interested in politics before this election. I can tell you that this is the first time I've watched CNN religiously due to this election, and I'm loving every minute of it.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  109. Lisarc

    Character and issues are both important. That is why I support Mitt Romney. John McCan"t has neither character nor is he aligned with true conservatives on issues.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  110. Doug

    The issues MUST be the deciding factor. We are choosing who will lead a country, not who we want to go meet at the bar on friday night.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  111. sean C

    I think that the issues and character go hand in hand when voting. If you cant trust the character of who your voting for, how can you trust that they will deliver on their promises.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  112. Alan B

    To answer your question: I think both are equally important. Honestly, I can't separate the two; in my eyes, if a candidate has character than he/she will be taking the right stance on all of the important issues.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  113. Fred - Florica

    It's the Economy, Stupid..............Remember that one???

    Fred

    February 5, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  114. Andrew Smith

    I am a conservative and I voted for George Bush. I count myself as a person who is dismayed and disgusted at the state of the U.S. in the world, and in our capital. I disagree with Senator Obama on most every issue. But I am supporting him because I believe it is more important to have someone in Washington with whom I can civilly disagree than continue to see the nonsense that has been our national direction and leadership.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  115. Milton

    Character matters along with the issues, must be able to trust the candidate will at least try to do what they promise on the issues

    February 5, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  116. Sheila in California

    Given our current state of affairs, both issues as well as character are important. The country needs to dig itself out of a hole and we need someone who both takes the necessary stances and who has the character to follow through.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  117. Loretta Quintana

    The issues, of course. Look what a character George Bush turned out to be.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  118. Zach Highman

    Character IS more imprtant in the primary system as candidates within a party are highly likely to share the same stances on key issues. Because of their similarities, character and persona must be taken into account to provide differences among the candidates voters can use to decide on their vote.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  119. Adam from Detroit

    Issues Jack, it's all about issues. A candidate who has an easy smile and pleasing words isn't worth a thing if his policies are junk. Something like character is a tie breaker. But, being a Democrat this time around, with two virtually identical candidates ideologically, I'm siding with the one I think will be more able to actually push those issues into legislation, and that's Obama.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  120. Michael

    Leadership is about influence, not just authority. And the way leaders influence people is through their character and personality. We could have a candidate with the greatest ideas in the world, but if people are rubbed the wrong way by them, those ideas will never come to pass.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  121. Cathy Stout

    Barak Obama inspires and unites. Hillary Clinton is divisive (no matter how you say it Jack). We don't need blue and red states any more–we need UNITED STATES!

    February 5, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  122. Lisa Broome

    The question of issue vs. character is an obvious choice. I would rather vote for someone with a character that I believe in than solely on issues at hand. Everyone already knows the issues that need to be addressed. When looking at a presidential candidate, I want someone who has the personality and the morals/values to lead this country towards a better place. When that occurs, the issues that I am also concerned about will naturally fall into place.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  123. Mary Kersey

    You always have to start the whole thing with character. Character defines a person and that person's stands on issues.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  124. John Clark

    Both count to me and so far the only candidate that I have seen possess both would be Ron Paul. He has exhibited great character during the debates, especially when he has been ignored. He is the only true conservative running, and all Republicans need to wake up and notice him and his message.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  125. Jamie in Cincinnati

    The issue is character: I want someone in the white house who is inspiring, compassionate, and has excellent leadership capabilities. Sen. Obama seems to be the candidate who, through these characteristics, can bring the nation together to really get things done.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  126. Doug

    Gotta be character first. You can't deal with issues without a policymaker with good character. If not, it will be just like the last 7 years.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  127. Brian

    Issues definitely trump character. Where a candidate stands on the issues will determine how he or she performs in office. How good looking they are or how well they tell a joke won't pull our country out of its current state, as much as we may delude ourselves into believing. If we just vote because we want something to get done, rather than basing our decisions on specific issues, we'll just have another repeat of the last Bush presidency: something will definitely get done, but it won't necessarily be good for our country.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  128. Casey

    Jack,

    The most important quality in a human being is character. That is why Hillary will win the Whitehouse. Ideas just aren't going do it anymore.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  129. Kristy in MO

    This time around, I would have to say character and I don't mean is he a nice guy or does he like interns. I mean, can he work with all these crazy factions and achieve some sort of consortium that can begin to heal the nation and get some issue, ANY issue, resolved. We don't need a Democrat or Republican, we need an American who can say the hell with these bratty party-cliques and represent WE THE PEOPLE.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  130. Doug Cowing

    Its a combination of both character and electability I think Obama has both of these qualities and this will help him to win. He is a movement I am 18 and I very excited about politics and the future of it because of Senator Obama.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  131. Ashley

    Wow! I never thought we would get to a day when we had decided between issues and charater. They both are extremely important. Our country is in such a mess because we fail to vote for candidates that posess both. It's tragic to think our country is so jaded we think it is one or the other. I am about to go vote for the candidate that has both, Obama!

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  132. Jaden

    As a Democratic voter, issues are not a factor to me since Clinton and Obama mostly agree on policy. That leaves character, and Obama is by far the better choice there. He does not accept lobbyist money, does not resort to distortions and mudslinging, and was against the war in Iraq from the start. So while there may not be much daylight between the two on the issues, Obama towers over the Senator from New York when it comes to honesty, integrity, and good judgment.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  133. Chris in Oklahoma City

    It has to be character, because right now the candidates are just touting their position on issues based on what they think we want to hear. As soon as the new President moves in to OUR White House, the real agenda will become clear.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  134. Richard Paikoff

    I will be honest with you, I really think the person is very important. Because, the candidates can say whatever they want in the months leading up the November election...but what matters is what they do when the are in the Oval Office, and the best determinate of that is what kind of person they are...so yes... character is most important!

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  135. Evan Long

    In almost any presidential election, the most important thing is character. The only issues the president has any real control over is military policy and the budget. The president does not "manage" the economy. Character is indicative of the president's likely appointments to the Supreme Court, which are the only real lasting effect a president has.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  136. Zach Highman

    Character IS more imprtant in the primary system as candidates within a party are highly likely to share the same stances on key issues. Because of their similarities, character and persona must be taken into account to provide differences among the candidates voters can use to decide on their vote.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  137. Tina

    As it stands, I could vote for Obama, Clinton, or even McCain based on the issues. Right now the lines are extremely blurred between what's conservative and everyone's going for what's ethical and very common sense, which is great.

    But as an Asian American, I find it embarrassing to watch George Bush go out of the U.S and meet with delegates. He looks absolutely ridiculous.

    What I'm trying to say is that, I'm basing my vote on who is ready to be a leader and has the guts to take up the office on Day 1, and I know Hillary can do that.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  138. Adam, LV, NV

    I prefer issues and experience over the character issue.

    We went with character and look what it got us the last 8 years. Apparently character means nothing, as most politicians change it on a whim. Experience is important. I'm all for hope and change, but they have a place. To quote much wiser people "I'm comfortable with my govenment lying to me, at least I know what's going on that way".

    Whlie I never approved of some of the things President Clinton did in the Oval Office, his character never affected his ability to get the job done when needed. To me, it just proved that he was a great multi-tasker.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  139. Karen Caison

    Character matters more. Issues will change; character is relatively set. We need a person who will listen to many sides and solutions to issues, make the tough decision, and then speak to our hearts and minds.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  140. Ryan F

    I believe that the issues matter more. We as informed Americans need to understand that no one this high in politics has any real character anyways. A good person can still make mistakes. But even a complete scumbbag has the ability to make the right decision if they know enough about the issues. Most character is shaped to what the public will most likely want to hear.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  141. Nic D

    Character is much more important to me personally during the 2008 presidential primaries because without a genuine character a candidate cannot effectively lead the country in the right direction nor would the candidate be able to tackle the problem facing our great nation today

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  142. Hunter in Knoxville

    Jack,

    Issues are the bread, character is the butter. People will take a little moldy bread but no one uses rancid butter.

    -Hunter

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  143. janni stewart

    ISSUES. both dem candidates have good character. however, senator clinton has stated her positions on the issues, senator obama has not. i listen to the littany of "change in washington" and wonder where i heard it before–didn't george w. state this same ideal? we can't go forward with ideals, we need action and senator clinton can act immediately on taking office, she has no learning curve to negotiate as does senator obama.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  144. Jeff

    I believe character should have a profound impact on voters' decisions. After all, a leader, especially the leader of this nation, should possess the qualities and traits of a great leader. They should be the epitomy of a great leader.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  145. Jamar

    For this voter, it's all about the character. If we elect someone that is rich with integrity and straightforward in nature, then the issues fall into place. Washington is overrun with politicians that say one thing then practice another. For once I would like to see someone in office that does the right thing...even when no one is watching.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  146. Mike

    Character is far more important. The issues get morphed to a more general point of view when said candidate is actually in office. What makes the difference is how the president can deal with others in Washington and rid the climate of such partisan bitterness.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  147. judit

    Character based on vision. The result is issues resolved.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  148. Adam

    If the candidate is honest their character will dictate their natural stance on issues. If we can't trust their character how can we believe their stance on issues

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  149. Bryce K. Dixon

    I do not see a choice to be made really, the issues are in place and must be dealt with regardless. As for character, both Hillary and Obama seems to have good character.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  150. Mimi Patterson

    Issues AND Character That is why Hillary Gets MY vote .Obama has character but lacks experience on major issues .

    February 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  151. Michael Joe Silva

    I think both are synonomous. The issues are important but if the candidates character is shady, how will we be able to trust that he or she will follow through with what they claim to do to improve the U.S. If the the candidate is a person of great character but has no experience or feasible ideas in reference to the issues, nothing will get done to better the country. Both are extremely important, and both are required.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  152. Josh

    Issues of course. The last time we elected someone based on character we were handed two wars, a huge debt, and what appears to be laziness. One's character is their own and does not matter. Politicians are not moral leaders or examples of character.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  153. Nathan

    Both Issues and Character are important to me. You can have a candidate who is a real stand up guy, charasmatic and inspiring, i can tell you that i'm going to change washington til i'm blue in the face but unless i have experience and a history of making change than it's all wortheless. that's why in my opinion mitt romney is the best candidate. conservatives need to realize that mccain's history and "experience" is worthless and shows his true liberal side.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  154. William Lineman

    Issues are the most important. Looking at everything that is going on in this country we need someone who can intelligently come up with solutions to the problems Americans are facing. If not, why not elect a charactor like Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck. They are more popular than any of the candidates running for office.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  155. Shirley Harrison

    I look alot at character. Who do I want to represent me to foreign countries, and who will represent my belief's and views? That is why we have this great voting process to choose this great person. America has had enough of the old, and it is time for a new beginning. I have always voted republican, but this year I am voting for Obama. He brings me hope not only for my self, but for my children and grandchildren.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  156. Mark

    In my belief, issues are more important. The issues are problems that need to be fixed. America has issues everywhere, it is important.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  157. Erik

    It's the issues. Character is important but, it won't bring our soldiers home, solve the mortgage crisis and other economic issues we are beginning to see. I voted for Hillary today and certainly her character has come into question. I appreciate Barack Obama and his message and believe that he would be a fine leader. However, today's problems seem insurmountable sometimes and we need a leader who can take on the issues... YES, on Day 1.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  158. gary belcher

    Jack; I think we should do away with the primary system completly. It should be replaced with a show called "dancing with the politicans". Each week the candidates would do a different dance and voters would eleminate a
    canditate until there was only one left and that person would run for president.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  159. Cory C.

    Its not about Character vs issues. Its both. Two candidates can have similar stances on certain issues but we really don't want another Jimmy Carter in the office now do we? Even then I would never vote Huckabee even though he could probably get things done just as well as somebody like Obama could because of his stances on Issues.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  160. eric

    The issues are first: character second. Hillary talks about the issues, healthcare reform; jobs; the economy; education, etc. Obama wants to talk "Change" and has no substance. Hillary wins on the issues. If character mattered, how in the world did Bush get elected twice??

    February 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  161. Alice Yu

    Jack,

    It seems to me that issues ought to be important, though character is obviously winning out this time around. Why? I feel that the press plays a rather large role in this. Turning on the news, the things I hear about are related to Hillary's tears, or Huckabee's fighting back against Romney. I will concede the fact that the press does report on issues such as Romney's relation as a businessman with the economy, etc. However, it seems that the only time that issues become the forefront of a report, is when a candidate insists on making it one. Everything else on the news is about candidate brawls and charisma.

    Change it. Make issues the forefront. Make a table with candidate views on each issues. America needs it. America needs to stop voting on good looks and slick voices.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  162. Rosa Merleño

    I think character is way more important than issues. A candidate who has character will be able to face current and upcoming issues the right way. We need someone to lead, not follow.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  163. Ruth

    Character matters most. The reason: no one seems to be able to get what they promise through anyway or they change what they promise after they get elected. That's why I plan to vote for Obama, even though there are several major policy differences I have with him. I hope at least he could get people talking civilly to one another again so maybe, as the Journal says, SOMETHING could get done.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  164. Phil

    Issues...Issues...Issues! The economy and Health Care are my concern this election! As far as I am concerned if the president can boost the economy, lower gas prices by ending this senseless war on terror(a war we are likely never to win considering there will always be terrorists think back through history they have always been there), and improve our healthcare system I could care less what they do outside of that!

    February 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  165. Bob Allen

    Character. The political nature and structure of the current system requires the tenacity of a terrier to get anything done.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  166. Aaron

    Though politicians within their own parties would like the voters to think they're so much different than their opponents on the issues... we know they're not. It's not big secret where each of the parties stand on their issues. Looking back at both our previous president and our current one, you can't afford to overlook look the character of the individual we vote into the White House.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  167. Irene

    Issues should be the forefront for the President of the United States. However, after the latest attacking from some of the candidates and their team (i.e. Bill Clinton), I now believe character is what I will be voting. Thus, my vote is for Barack Obama. I love the way he and his wife stand strong and seem to stay "above the line" when it comes to personal attacks. Former President Clinton needs to realize those that he is attacking (i.e. the media, etc.) are the same people who helped get him elected. He lost my vote for his wife.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  168. Katherine Werner

    Although I am young and may not be able to vote, I'm happy that i can share my opinion on here.

    I think that character is more important than issues. Yes the issues are important, but the character of the candidate shows how they would deal with the issue that is presented to them. It isn't what they believe in or what issues they think are major, but the way that they would take control and deal with the issues. Character is the basis of this. Thanks for letting me express my opinion.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  169. Rock

    The candidate's policies and positions on the issues should be more important, but with American citizens basing everything on how they feel, character becomes more important. It does not matter how charismatic a candidate is if their policies do not work.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  170. Eddie Littrell

    I believe character is most important.

    Here is why:

    As a U.S. citzen I have the abillity to oppose any issue that is representative of a Presidential candidate. I can even go to the extreme of protesting if necessary.

    I have no influence over a Presidential candidate's character. They are 100% responsible for their own character and we have no way to oppose it.

    Mike Huckabee needs no improvement to his character and I support him 100%.

    Go Mike Huckabee!!!

    February 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  171. J.J.

    Differences of issues are always prominent; but strong character is the only way these differences can be reconciled, and such strong character is very rare.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  172. Cameron Bigler

    Character is always more important. Absolutely policies are important as well, but as we've seen so many times before these can and will change. As we head into this election year, there is no clear control of either house. This is a good thing. It means that whoever is eventually elected president will have to work with both sides. As well, in my short experience I can't remember a time when the nation was more divided and dissatisfied with their leadership. Having the Character to work for the best for all even when it doesn't fall within strict party lines is more important right now.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  173. Stephanie

    Jack,
    When you have Oprah and Ted Kennedy prancing around a stage talking about intangibles combined with the media's extended coverage of all things Obama, it's hardly surprising that this might seem important. But have some faith in the American people – they will vote the issues. I think Hillary will do well.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  174. Sandra Smith

    There are so many issues at hand to be resolved and it is important to me that I get a grasp regarding how the candidates will persevere in getting each issue rectified, however; I believe that their character will govern exactly how they go about this. To me one is just as important as the other in my choice of candidates.

    Sandra
    Cedar Hill, Texas

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  175. Zak

    We need someone with great character who will help change Americas image in the world. A republican won't be able to accomplish that, but obama can and will.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  176. Eddie

    Jack What we don't need is another "character" in the White House.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  177. Shawn

    Jack, if the leader is a good one, the voice of the people will be heard. The stances on the issues doesn't matter because a good leader changes for the people... and only the people.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  178. Rich

    Character is the obvious answer in this situation. Without a leader who has a quality character, the issues cannot be properly addressed. Furthermore, a leader with character must be the one to unite our country in its time of this petty bipartisanship.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  179. DV

    Jack- i just got into an argument with my friend over this. I have hammered the issues into him and we have had discussion after discussion regarding who would be best to lead this country (of course I am talking about either Hillary or Barack). He just voted and he called to ask me who I voted for and then he told me he voted for Barack. I was shocked. No. 1, he was so sure that Hillary's stand on issues were very relevant, No. 2, he told me he was voting for Hillary as late as last night. When I asked him why he voted the way he did, he told me, "I just like Barack mroe as a person." So there you have it, informed as he was he still went with the candidate he thought had better character. I, on the other hand, support Hillary because i think she has a combo of stand on issues and character. I do not need a president who I like as much as I need one who will get things done. She's the woman for the job.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  180. Barb

    Character. Definitely. They are such small differences between the potential solutions for the issues between the Dems that it's not even worth focusing on. But in terms of character? The difference is as big a Mount Everest. The Billary's have demonstrated that they will stoop to Rovean tactics against a fellow Democrat if that meant they can win the race. America is no longer just interested in just winning. It seems that for the first time in a long time, they are just as interested as how one gets to the finish line. Barack Obama has moral courage, integrity and judgement to lead America out of the dark. Maybe America is finally growing up. The world may look up to the United States of America once more.

    Barbara
    Toronto, Canada

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  181. Jeff

    I believe character should have a profound impact on voters’ decisions. After all, a leader, especially the leader of this nation, should possess the qualities and traits of a great leader. They should be the epitome of a great leader.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  182. Donna, NC

    I am this year putting more faith in a person's character, than what they say will do. I am not listening to false guarantees, there is still a congress that has to pass legislation, and I believe certain candidates have the character to be inclusive in decision making. Clinton talks about Universal Healthcare, but she couldn't get that passed years ago, it may have been unfair, but it speaks to what people believe her character is.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  183. Randy

    You can't separate the two as individual issues. The candidates 'character' will directly affect his/her outlook and action on the issues. However, it is always the candidates 'political appearance' in front of the camera that has the most affect on how peope will vote. A candidate can be smart, fully aware of and capable of dealing with the toughest issues, and may have the best leadership qualities to be able to get things done in Washington. But, if they're not likable in front of the camera, they will NEVER get elected. Our elections as they stand now are nothing more than popularity contests.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  184. Garrett

    I see it as a sliding scale – within reason. The stronger a candidate is on the issues, the less important character becomes. The stronger the character, the less important it is that the candidate be strong on the issues.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  185. rob collins

    Without character, the issues are just hollow debating points. Those of use who are less "party line" than most, realize that when John McCain committed political suicide by working with Dems on issues, by calling waterboarding torture, by saying he'd rather lose an election than a war (ie more innocent Americans die), he did so because of personal convictions.

    A candidate such as Hillary Clinton is adept at changing her rhetoric far too easily, how does anyone know what issues she stands for?

    Barak Obama gets a lame rap for not dealing with specifics. There's a 64-page document on his website which details his positions, and he doesn't change with the wind.

    Obama = 1st choice
    McCain = 2nd choice

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  186. Paulette Bent

    Character will determine how honest the candidates will be on the issues. That is exactly what America needs now. A President of his word. Someone to lead by example and share the values of the American people – not those of greed and private gain. Trust must be earned. After the last eight years of George Bush the American electorate wants to see results and hear no more lies or excuses.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  187. Eric Hamilton

    As a Democrat, I certainly feel that this election hinges more on the candidates' characters then on the issues. Clinton and Obama are very similar when it comes to issues, a fact they would both like to play down, but possess very different characters. I prefer Obama for his welcoming attitude of change and cooperation, whereas I feel Clinton's character would push too many moderates away in the general election.

    -Eric

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  188. Shanen

    Obviously issues! We are facing an economic crisis, a despicable war, and a health care crisis. Politicians should keep there religious beliefs at home. There are more issues that have more importance than gay marriage and saying a prayer in school. pray for poverty and young soldiers families awaiting their loved ones returns.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  189. Renee

    I think the country needs two candidates who actually have experience.
    For me that's Hillary Clinton and John McCain.
    I am from Illinois and I know that Obama's record as a state senator was nothing special.

    All the hoopla over Obama's speech making is nice, but giving sppeches that inspire does not translate into being able to do the job of President.

    I'll stick with experience and vision based on a realistic approach to the world we live in.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  190. Jane - WI

    Issues should absolutely be the number one reason for voting for a candidate. Fluffy speeches are nice, but do not a leader make. We hear all kinds of nice talk about "hope" and being "inspired", but no specifics on how the candidate will accomplish anything. No specifics on how that candidate will be able to compromise and work with the other side. No specifics on what kinds of budget cuts they will make to balance the budget. People who vote on anything but issues are simply making an emotional vote versus a rational vote.
    Promises with no substance are not worth a thing.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  191. Keietta

    I believe that character is important in this election. We have made so many enemies across the world that we need a person who can bring everyone back to common ground. If you don't have a good character, it won't happen.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  192. Deirdre from NY

    Issues or Character? Can't we have our cake and eat it too? Why should we have to pick or sacrifice one or the other? Can't both parties be definitive and plain about their stance on the issues and then we decide who speaks to our views as well? Can't we also have candidates that we are proud to represent our political party? I am afraid that maybe the current administration has lowered our expectations! I say that we need to be cautious and deliberate adn methodical about the next leader of our great country!

    ps- how about Eli Manning for President and Michael Strahan for VP???

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  193. Beatrice

    Character matters most to me because I am tired of politicians acting like I don't matter. Before they are elected they decry " man of the people" but once elected they forget that it is the people that put them in office. It is so refreshing and hopefilled that these candidates ( Obama particularly) are esposing the views and desires of Americans. And I don't know when I have ever seen a campaign with so much fervor, enthusiasm (sp) and "soul" as this Primary. It is good to be alive in America today.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  194. Patrick Malone

    In the Democratic race, Clinton and Obama are so similar on policy issues that I believe voters are looking for other, perhaps more intangible qualities, including the ability to work across party lines. While I think Clinton's health care plan is better in theory, for example, I don't have confidence that she will be able to raise the support from red state Democrats to get it through, let alone get the votes for cloture in the Senate. Obama is an inspiring, unifying leader who will be able to get support across the board.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  195. Bob

    Who cares? I just want someone who can address the problems, offer solutions, and make thoughtful recommendations, and work with both parties..hope this is not to much to ask...perhaps there is one person out there who can do both......I am not sure yet.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  196. Jessie

    Jack,

    I am retired from the military and live in Lawton, OK.

    I have been waiting for a very long time for someone to stand up to the issues and stop talking about theirselves. This have been going on by all the people that want to be the president of this country. We need someone with a back bone and not a jelly leg person that only want to grease their palms. If they can address the direct issues at hand and be candor about the issues they can get my vote. We all ready know what each of their character is all about, we need good leadership and nothing less.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  197. Arjun

    While issues are certainly important, if a candidate's character is lacking, then it is likely that what they are saying about the issues is just a load of bull that they feel is what will get them elected. If a candidate has good character, regardless of how well they explicate their specific political advocacy, they are likely to be a better leader than the demagogic politician who will say or do anything to get elected. A candidate with character backs up their rhetoric.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  198. Vanessa

    Both are important, but in the end it will be a person's character that will affect how they approach the issues in question. Character will influence how the president is viewed not only by American citizens, but by the rest of the world. Character is not the same thing as popularity–voters will gravitate toward candidates who they believe share their values before attempting to decipher the political jargon surrounding so many of the issues. A candidate's stance on the issues is important, but character is what will decide whether they will truly follow through.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  199. Megan Mozena

    Issues are far more important than character. If I wanted to vote based on character, I'd put my grandmother on the ballot. It's just not that important.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  200. Paul

    Issues should always be more important to voters. Charisma and conviction is all well and good, but let us not forget that not all change is good change. This is precisely why candidates like Ron Paul are not doing well. He is no JFK, although his views may be the most sound. Who cares if Huckabee plays the bass guitar or Hillary cries? Issues are the end all be all. If character is more important, then we should just elect Mitt Romney's hair.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  201. Mike Bragg

    Jack...at this point and time, after eight years of Bush, and eight years of Clinton, I will go with character! That is why I will vote for Obama. He's different in many ways...looks, ideas, change, and he represents the opposite of status quo! Oh and could you ask Wolf if he would be a vice-presidential candidate for Obama, I mean that was impresive the way he called Hillary "naive" in the debates the other night!!!

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  202. Garr

    Character is the foundation and measure of a presidents ability to lead. Without charisma and empathy, one would find themselves spinning in circles in attempting to influence others. A president has to pursuade their peers and push for progessive solutions that will impact the entire nation. Character is the driver of such an ability

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  203. Sammy James

    The president, when things are working properly in Washington, does not set policy. We, the people, set policy - and the president is charged with enforcing it. If we are electing a president because we expect for him or her to tell us what we are going to do, then we have all already lost.

    Vote for the issues when voting for senators and representatives; vote for character when voting for the president. It is that simple.

    – Sammy James
    Boston

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  204. lydia frawley

    Character matters and so do the issues that is why I am voting for Mike Huckabee. He is a man of unshakeable Character who not only knows the issues but has run a Government for 10 and a half years.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  205. Kwame

    Character is by far more important than issues. These candidates are running for an executive office, an office that requires an individual with sound judgement and impeccable character. Most of the time, policy issues will be decided by legislators, not the president. Even when the president weighs in, his point of view on the issue, is usually that of experts in the field, whose opinion he/she picked, based on sound judgement.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  206. Richard

    What a ridiculous question. Voting on supposed "character" issues got us George W. Bush and the most disatrous administration in American history. Issues are much more important and any voter who takes "character" over issue positions is an idiot. Act like adults and listen to policy stands by the candidates and vote for the one who thinks like you do. It is impossible to judge a candidate's character adequately from a few TV ads or the interpretations given by talking heads on cable channels.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  207. Rob Batina

    Some polls say that people will vote according to issues. Some polls are now saying that people are voting for whichever candidate that they think will get things done. However even the results of both of those polls seem insincere, because a candidate that embraces both of those qualities exists, yet is unfortunately far behind in the actual delegate count. Dr Ron Paul.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  208. Jane Joseph

    Jack,

    I know that the issues are important but after the years of having Mr. Bush and company butcher the Constitution and lie to the American public. I believe we've learned that character is much more important than issues that change with the wind and "political expericence".
    Give the American people a President that remembers what America use to stand for and have that President "Stand" for something!! His or Her character will handle the issues.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  209. Jerimie

    Of course character is more important. When it comes down to the Republican choice vs. Clinton, Clinton will be eaten alive on matters of character. Thanks is in major part to her husband's past character issues. Yes, he was a good Democrat President, but who do we have to compare him too... and his "character" came out of his closet yet again in South Carolina with his attacks on Obama. Thankfully Obama if a uniter of our country. The type of individual I am proud to have stood in line for half hour today to vote for.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  210. kathy

    to me character is most important. when you have character then you can handle any issue. you have to listen to others when you are in the white hoise. they should show some feelings along with ideas. they are no smarter than us as a matter of fact we are the reason why they are president and they are working for us.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  211. Tom D.

    Jack I think that how they stand on the issues dictates the character of the candidate. Conservative candidates tend to have a conservative character and liberal candidates tend to have a liberal character. I really think they work hand in hand.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  212. Ben

    Jack,
    Obviously, character is more important. Ideas and underlying philosophy are irrelevant. Here's my ideal candidate: I want somebody who will raise taxes, institute a welfare state, ruin our healthcare system, drive our businesses abroad, and appoint activist judges, but do it all with great charisma and while shouting words such as "Uniter," "Change," "Independent," and "Reform."

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  213. Stephen

    At least on the democratic side, there really are only very minor differences on the two candidates stances on the issues. So that made me look at two factors when choosing who to support. First, judgement on past issues and secondly the person's character and ability to reach across party lines.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  214. John, SC

    Issues matter more, but why do they make up the issues? Sure character matters and you can't trust a liar, but they all lie. That's why they are politicians, they are good at lying. I want to see the environment at the top of the issue list, and how to control fuel costs and health care costs. My vote goes to the one who can get gas powered cars off of the manufacting plant floors. Just because people have forgotten about Al Gore in this race doesn't mean his issues are gone.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  215. Robert Wendel

    Jack, it's not just issues, but REAL issues that matter to me. I'd rather have an "immoral" President who gives us 4-8 years of peace and universal prosperity, than a highly moral, highly religious President who wrecks our economy and literally trashes our Constitution, and turned this Democracy into a Fascist state. Look up the definition, it describes the USA of 2008!

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  216. Jeff

    Jack,

    Character is important. America is tired of being sick and tired. All the candidates are trying to tackle issues, but at the end of the day it's who has the genuine heart to lead and bring America together. Barack Obama is the candidate you can do this. John McCain and Hillary are the past. It's time to move into the future with Obama.

    Jeff

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  217. Kevin O'Neill

    Character!

    Who could have imaged the unique challenges we faced from 9-11 and Katrina?

    We need good, honest, and smart people who put the nation's good above their own political fortunes.

    Kevin

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  218. James Brown ( Independent )

    Jack without a doubt character matters the most in this election. Bush doesn't have a problem looking the American People in the eye and lying with a smile on his face , and Hillary Clinton is just another wing on the same bird.

    We need a President that will tell us the truth , even if it's not what we want to hear.

    That's what makes Obama so attractive , he hasn't been in Washington long enough to become tainted.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  219. Seth

    Character is more important. Character tells you whether or not the candidates will act on the issues in the way they say they would. How many things did Bush just talk about? I could tell he was full of it in 1999. How did he get elected anyway?

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  220. James, Macomb, MI

    What we have failed to see in the most recent elections is a candidate with both charisma and the drive to get things accomplished. When former presidents like Reagan and Carter were in office, they won the hearts of the people and then actually took actions to revitalize the economy and push the issues to fruition. This is why during the primaries, issues should be more important, but the negative taint on politics forces people to take one of the two components that at this point they can actually see, and that is the character of the candidate.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  221. earl illingsworth

    The ambiguity of the question poses a paradox,Jack. It's a real good question,for if your an issue person, you must have someone with character to impliment that issue. But, if your a person of character ,you will also follow thru on your campaign promises,and implement the issues. It all comes down to how good a communicator and your willingness to cross the isle to bring Dem's and Gop's together like old times. Heck, I can remember when the past Presidents shared their cabinet post with both parties, something that hasn't happened in this country since Nixon, and his cronies poisoned it !!!

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  222. Kawinthi F

    Well, Jack...I'm 16 and I can even tell you that the issues are whats important. Long ago before media became so prominent, we had some presidents that weren't quite the crowd pleasers, but they did well as President. Today, presidential nominees have to have charisma and charm to even think about winning, but that is clearly not as important as their stand on the issues. Come next January we won't be worried about their personalities, we'll be worried about how they plan on running our country.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  223. Justin

    The issues should play a major role in an election. Character should also play a major role. Today the candidates differ on 5% of all issues. In the voters of today political ground looks more like this nice guy vs. curmudgeon.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  224. Alexander

    In my opinion Jack, character is more important than issues. I believe this because if they aren't good leaders, it doesn't matter how they stand on issues. The president needs to have a backbone and lead us. Also, a president with good character is more likely to have a positive stance on issues. In politics today character is overlooked way too much and that's why lies and deceit are so easily accepted not only politically speaking but in the general public.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  225. Larry M

    It's about time we as the American People start worrying about issues important to us and quit wanting to go have a beer with the President. I think we have lost our way in idolizing others. I don't want a president who is going to go have a beer with me. It's a JOB! Do the JOB the people have elected you to do. And as for us, the people, do your jobs and quit trying to put PERSONALITIES about ISSUES.

    We have spent the past 7 years with a personality you voted because you wanted to have a beer with him. How ridiculous have we become.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  226. Mary from Decatur, GA

    For me it is and always has been the issues. Let's face it, I can't think of any President in the past 50 years other than Jimmy Carter who didn't have some significant character flaws (and look at how his Presidency is viewed). Give me a problem solver over a talker any day of the week.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  227. Peter

    I suppose I should be more concerned about the issues–however I am a child of the 60's and strangely enough every time I see Romney's face , it is not Reagan I see, but rather Richard Nixon, and every t ime he says "I am the real conservative" It vaguely sounds like "I am not a crook."

    February 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  228. Stephanie from Alabama

    Both issues and character of the candidate are important. Issues that effect the US change day to day and year to year. The issues of this campaign are a far cry from the issues of eight years ago. The character of the cadidate, their core beliefs are what will determine their position on future issues that face the country. As Americans we must vote for the candidate that we can accept their position on the issues now and have the character that will insure that they have position on issues that will come up in the future that are in harmony with our thoughts on them.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  229. Lynn Lahman

    Character determines the individual candidate's desire to fulfill promises made during the campaign. What good are the promises of candidates like Romney or Obama who change their position to fit the audience? If you don't think Obama fluctuates, you must have missed the interview this morning when, after saying he favors bringing the soldiers home soon, followed by saying he would, however, have to modify his position based upon changing factors - in other words, he is already setting himself up to back away from his currently strong position on the war. Could it be he knows he can't bring the soldiers home in 12 or 16 months? I think he should tell the truth today - except that won't get him votes today. Which is more important? Character, hands down.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  230. James Winter

    I am gonna be the jerk and just say BOTH. Jack, issues will always be there. How you hold yourself as a President, you need to be honest, straightforward, and to the point. I care how you resolve issues when it gets us involved in a war like the one we're currently in. What has Bush REALLY done for the mortgage crisis? how timely did he get it done? He can have all the integrity in the world, but ask ANYBODY in new orleans who lost their home, if they care whether he is a boy scout or not.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  231. Topher

    Is it any wonder that, despite the importance of these issues that trouble each and everyone of us, we focus our more of our attention on character. Quite frankly, the politics of the past have grown quite tiresome. It does not seem to matter who is in the driver's seat, little consensus can be found and problems are not being solved. The government has failed the American people. We are therefore choosing to focus on the intangible elements as we visit the polls today. New blood is required if there be any hope of improving the situation in this country. We owe it to ourselves!

    February 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  232. Frank

    Issues or character? What happened to leadership and reults – we can be fooled by character and anyone can talk the issues. Isn't that right, Jack?

    February 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  233. Kevin M.

    Barack Obama represents someone with *both* a dynamic character, and deep, well-thought-out views on the issues that will effect Americans the most closely. I encourage people to take the time to *read* his 60-page document with his plans and listen to the lengthy speeches he has given that truly detail his ideas.

    I'm thirty-three years old, and it's high time for my generation's JFK. We're desperate for it!

    February 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  234. merritt

    while issues are important, they seem to be the same in every election.
    I think it is time for the american people to choose a leader with strong character.
    We have seen enough tragedy as to what happens when political figures bend
    their will to those who stuff their pockets....after all is said and done we need a
    person in the white house who is the voice of america and it's people...not
    a voice to those whom have sold us and our jobs overseas.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  235. Jeff K

    While the issues are important a candidates character must be assessed to ensure they will stand behind the statements on the issues during the campaign. The last thing this country needs is more lies and misleading of its people, as we have had to endure for 7 long years.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  236. Jon

    Why in the hell do we have to choose between issues and character? What a disgusting proposition. The United States is supposed to be such a wonderful place, and these candidates are the best we can produce? Actually, we do get candidates that offer both. But then the news media ignores them, and the voters choose their candidate as if they are at the Academy Awards. The elitists have done a wonderful job dumbing down the public. Sickening!!!

    February 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  237. Bill

    Has our country really gotten to the point where we have to ask ourselves issues vs. character? If a leader doesn't have character how can we trust them to take care of the issues? The issues are important, but never at the expense of character.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  238. Jeff in Connecticut

    Character hands down Jack, for the last 7 years we've been led by corruption, which has been backed by more corruption. What kind of example does this set for our citizens? For our children? All our lives we've been taught & expected to admire and respect those in government. We need to reinstill actual values, not self serving "pretend" values in our nation once again.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  239. Rob Carraher Lincoln, NE

    Jack, I believe the issues are the most important. But I also believe that the person that will best take care of my issues is also the person with the greatest character. That person being Barack Obama. People always complain about how corrupt Washington is, and finally we get a candidate that can provide a change in both character and the issues that are bothersome. Unfortunately, I feel like people just don't learn after 7 years of painful leadership. I hope that America can prove the world wrong when they believe that we are just stupid and pick someone who can be respected by everyone. Issues like the war in Iraq need to be resolved and our troops need to come home. We need to pick a candidate who will do that, we need to pick a candidate that hasn't flip-flopped on his stance. We need to fix the issues that our current president has destroyed and bring in someone who can actually make the change. Barack is the man.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  240. Ron

    Jack,
    Charicter has always been what really matters. If we elect someone of good charicter the issues will get taken care of.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  241. Monkda

    Obviously the issues are more important than character. Right now is just the swim suit part of the pageant where people are deciding who looks best. When the nominees are determined is when we get to that riveting final question phase where the issues become the central focus and the swim suit fades from memory. All that is left standing is how a person answers a question and whether or not they are a complete moron or have bizarre views that should be reserved for a sideshow.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  242. Gayle Randall

    I will tell you truthfully that issues are the most important to me and from what I have heard in the last few months Hillary meets all the requirements to become one of the best presidents we have ever had because I truly believe that she is honest and trustworthy and wants to make a difference in the lives of the people of this great nation that are struggling just to survive. Our nation elected a person the last time on character and look where that has gotten us. Hillary doesn't deserve the negative remarks from critics because I believe in her.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  243. Jon

    Jack:

    Of the five remaining candidates, each of them has ideas I like, but the one whose character stands out the most is Barack Obama. I feel like he and Mike Huckabee have run the cleanest campaigns, but Huckabee doesn't believe in evolution so I can't vote for him.

    Jon
    Ashburn, VA

    February 5, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  244. Cary

    Of course it is important to vote on issues, but character cannot be discounted. As we have learned in recent years, you can never predict what is going to happen to this country, and in times of crisis, it is important to have a leader with strong character who is honest, consistent, and brave. It is easy for a candidate to say what he or she thinks people want to hear about the issues, but their character is something that they can't change in an attempt to pander. McCain is, for me, the perfect fusion of character and a good stance on the issues.

    -Cary, Gainesville FL

    February 5, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  245. Aaron

    The issues are subject to change. It is the content of ones character that reveals ones true intentions.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  246. Martin, Michigan

    Character is very important to me. When candidates get too nasty on each other, they make it look as if they care more about their little prize than the actual problems.

    At that point, I don't care what they think about the issues at all, I just look for my remote control!

    February 5, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  247. Ian Champ

    Jack, the issues are always important but in a presidential race they really don't matter much. A) You always get candidates who flip flop and conform to the people around them and B) the issues only really matter when we elect our house and senate representatives. After all they are the ones who really do act on the issues.
    Character is integral to the president because they are essentially the figure head of the entire country, the face of the nation. As such we need a strong charismatic and bipartisan candidate to run for office and win to unite this country once again. No matter which party they are from.
    Ian,
    Indianapolis, Indiana

    February 5, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  248. Jeremy Pepper

    As a delegate to the WV convention I was privliged to see first hand the wheeling and dealing that went on here in WV. A candidate's stance on the issues is the only reason to vote for someone that I can think of, but many who voted today seemed to be compromising their vote to favor character and electibility over ideas and stance on the issues. I personally am all about issues and cast my vote that way until my candidate was dropped in the first round of voting.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  249. Mitch

    Issues will always be a factor. Having a leader with character is something that cannot and should not be taken for granted. Without character the issues will not be addressed in the manner the American people deserve. Electing a President without character will do the country a huge injustice.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  250. Josh Smith

    I read that WSJ article and certainly agree that character has become absolutely essential this election cycle. But its important to realize that this character/issues dialectic is ultimately false. There is no divide between a person's character and their stance on the issues. Principles define the issues. That's why I always answer that "moral values" are most important to me on those silly political questionnaires. I will always prefer the candidate who takes serious strides to ensure that politics are fundamentally principled, rather than simply doing what's politically expedient. In the Democratic race, this is particularly prescient in the character of Senator Obama, who refuses on principle to receive lobbyist money and influence. Compare this to Senator Clinton's $800,000 in money from lobbyists, and her eleven lobbyist advisers. It's part of why I chose to support Barack Obama, and I'm sure why many others have as well.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  251. Isobel Osius

    I don't think you can separate character from issues. Your stand on issues is a direct reflection of character. That doesn't mean you can't change your mind but it does mean that you can't tailor or remake the beliefs that determine how you react to issues with every change in the polls or the trends. Somewhere you have to find a set of core principles other than "win at any cost" and take a stand on the issues in accordance with those principles. That's character, and that's what people are looking for in this spin-crazy climate.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  252. David

    Surely, somewhere in our vast country, are many men and women who are of top character, leadership, and terrific on the issues. A consensus-builder, an inspired American who will be the best President EVER. Is the problem that most of them never get into politics, or is it that years of Washington confine one's abilities or alters their character and honesty?

    WE MUST ELECT A LEADER OF GREAT CHARACTER, TRUTH, HONESTY, and ABILITY TO LEAD, because besides at home, AMERICA'S FRIENDS AND ALLIES ACROSS THE WORLD ARE LOSING FAITH IN OUR COUNTRY.

    Solid character, honesty, conviction, and the ability to lead effectively ARE KEY – regardless of political affiliation. We do have a few candidates who may fill this need. 'May' is such a strong word!

    February 5, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  253. Ann

    I think both are important. A person of character would deal truthfully about the issues, and not what they think we want to hear. Unfortunately, the person that I felt had both was Joe Biden, who had to withdraw from the race, because the media has their choices of who they want to bring to the forefront and give them the coverage that should be evenly divided with all who are running. Let the people hear them all and let them decide who to vote for, not the press.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  254. frank

    Jack,
    The issue is about character!

    February 5, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  255. Kathy Coscarello

    8 years ago, and again 4 years ago this country voted for the "nice" guy. The man they said they'd like to invite to a barbecue. We now know that just because someone has a likeable personality or is faithful to their spouse, doesn't make them a good candidate to run our country. I'm sorry, but I don't want the president at my barbecue. I want them in the White House working for me. I want to know they are competent and that their core values for this country are the same as mine. Keep the rock stars and give me the work horses.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  256. Scott

    With all we've been through these past few years, I think we need a President with character. A leader with charisma who can rally this nation and it's people. Someone who can kick a little Congressional butt, so that they will stop squabbling over issues like healthcare and homeland defense which are not political issues and get the United States moving again. If this election doesn't give you a reason to get up out of your easy chair and go vote well...

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  257. Rob

    It's character Jack! Since Bill left office I've been waiting for Hillary to run. That beign said, I'm voting for Obama today. Bill and Hillary showed their true colors this primary. It's all about them. He and she will say and do anything to get elected. If Hillary "loves" this country as she tells us, then she should lay her cards on the table and let the chips fall where they may! She can't do that I guess. If she did, the best MAN would win...

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  258. Bill Dyer

    I for one am only concerned with issues, because issues are all that matters. When someone becomes president, their character does not become law, but their stance on issues does. Of course most Americans have no idea of what the issues are in the general elections, much less the primaries. I personally have a certain idea of how government should run and I will vote for someone who best represents my ideas; call it selfish but I thought thats what democracy is about.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  259. Raven Patton

    Being a democrat, this primary has come down to character for me. The biggest issue that Clinton and Obama differ on is their health care plans. At this point we all have to look at the person and the character of the person we are voting for. I feel like Obama has charisma that Hilary lacks unlike her husband. Also, he Obama has a stronger persona and it is not secret that Hilary is just now showing any type of emotion or personality.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  260. Zakee Ameer Rashid

    Issues first and foremost. Character is important but trying to twist the issue from the real concerns of the American people into the judgement of someones character is exactly how we got the Americam people to believe that Bush was actually a real leader and could move the country forward.

    Thanks for giving me the opportuinty to throw my 2 cents in.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  261. Ryan Heatley

    What happened to abiding by the constitution? What happened to putting America's people first? Issues come first, of course. Sure, someone may be a "Great guy", but what does that give back America, or any American? You cannot fix our failing economy, over spent foreign policy, border security, or any other actual issue that directly faces very single American with a nice smile, or a witty personality. If you want to fix the issues, then vote for someone that will.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  262. Heidi Campbell

    Character is the core of true greatness. Without character we have no basis for trust. This country is desperate for a leader with character who can maintain America as the greatest nation in the world.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  263. Francis C. McDonald

    You would think any candidate running for the Office of the President of the United States would get it. It's very simple. In order to lead effectively, the next President HAS to bridge the divide. Our country has been intentionally divided for the past eight years. As a result, not much has been accomplished politically except a lot of bickering, blaming and bloodsheding. Our country needs an extreme makeover and I'm not certain the status quo will work. It hasn't worked for the past eight years. This is insanity at its best - doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. Maybe a Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton ticket is the extreme makeover we need. Whether some people may feel this level of change is too extreme, this may be the answer.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  264. Megan

    On the notion of issues versus character, I ask, "why do they have to be one or the other?" This election, I want someone with character who will get something done with the issues. The American people should feel much more confident about putting our "issues" into the hands of someone with character. Why? Because both unite us all: we all are affected by the issues and we all have/had/should strive for character. Having a leader that represents all the things that can combine us as a nation (issues AND character) is something worth voting for.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  265. George N

    Are you kidding me? What kind of character does the president need? The only thing a president needs is not to be a complete idiot ... Of course it is the issues. The ignorant Americans of today do not realize that character just isn't going to do it. Once again, the current president, in 2000 was a likable guy with GREAT character. Let's just end it with that. Over 200 years ago our father of our country predicted the problems of today, political factionalism, foreign alliance, and morality. I believe that it is just too late unless we follow the writings of our founding fathers and the highest law of the land, the constitution.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  266. Kathy Tomlinson

    Call me crazy, but my vote is not based only on one or the other. I picked Obama over Clinton in the California primary, despite telling a pollster I'd vote for Clinton just yesterday. I had been uncomfortable with Obama's lack of experience, but a friend pointed out that his lack of a history can be a great strength once he's elected. Who can cross the aisle? Someone who is likeable and who partnering with will be seen as a keystone to election/reelection, not a detriment (i.e., HillaryCare 2.0). I want major changes, and even though Clinton has views that correspond with mine, I think she'd have a very difficult time getting her great ideas through, simply because of who she is. I believe that Obama is better positioned to bring about domestic change, I trust his judgement on policies and advisors. So really – it's not a question between issues and character, but who has the character and relationships (or lack of history) to be able to bring about the change on the issues I care about? Obama is my choice today (I'd vote for Romney because of his business background if I were a registered Republican).

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  267. Michael Collazo

    I am puzzled by the attiudes of the young voters I have spoken with. Most have not watched any of the debates and seem to be more interested in the popularity of the canidates than the issues at hand.

    Michael Collazo
    Oxnard, California

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  268. Reuben

    I believe in this election it will be about character since our current present is completely devoid of it. You get the feeling that people will turn a blind eye to any issue so they can get as far away from the stigma of the last 7 years.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  269. Missy Davis

    Jack, it's not issues that concern me, but Issue! That mess that Bush has got us in over in Iraq. Him and Cheney have bankrupted this country, they have us borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. I am voting for anybody that can get us out of there.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  270. Steve from Binghamton

    Issues Jack – and a "perfect" voting record for the past 20 years, sounds like a solid candidate to me. Judging a candidate based on character, is what America resorts to when a runaway administration creates issues far too deep for the average voter to comprehend. It's sad and discouraging, when you see a nation on its knees, discovering hope in a campaign who's style belongs in Hollywood, not Washington.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  271. Davy Boy

    It's character. Where one stands on issues can change in any given year. But a person's general integrity rarely does.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  272. Megan Mozena

    "Sam February 5th, 2008 5:11 pm ET

    Character. We voted for Bush on the issues and look where that got us."

    We did?

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  273. Nance Cedar

    I think in this election, character matters far more than positions, at least for Democrats. Obama and Clinton aren't too far apart on the issues. Unfortunatly the Dem candidates with the best positions are already out of the running. The issues facing America and the world today are complex and require leaders who can work positively with others.

    I will support Barack Obama in the primaries, but if Hillary Clinton gets the nomination, I'll work for her election. I'd really like to see a candidate I can get excited about and not just someone better than the Republicans. That is why I support Obama.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  274. Ken

    Put me in the "character" camp. Issues will emerge and fade. Daily we hear candidates (admittedly not all of them) raising issues before a certain group of voters they hope to swing to their camp only to never have it raised again. Character truly defines a candidate, and hopefully our next president.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  275. Jennifer H.

    Character hands down. The future is unwritten and we need a President who has the character to make the right decision on the issues at hand. Issues are extremely important, but we're not in the general, yet. Look at Lincoln or JFK. Character is what their terms so incredibly important for the country. I would be happy to vote for someone who doesn't share my position on every issue. I don't want another partisan fight in Washington. I'm sick and tired of it! I want someone who can work with everybody... not just their party's core. And the Wall Street Journal is right. I care less about what actually gets done, so long as something does.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  276. Karl

    Character is far more important then issues. In addition to Character our next leader needs to have Curiosity, be Creative, be able to Communicate, have Courage, Conviction, Charisma, be Competent and have Common sense. All lacking in the current White House. Select your candidate carefully this time.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  277. Duncan

    I believe that both issues and character will play a part in this years elections based on the fact that America needs a president that can face issues and get things done, but also someone who can present themselves and their beliefs in a way that will brings America together. We need to become a unified country rather than red states and blue states.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  278. Phil

    On the Democratic side, a vote for one candidate's issues is essentially a vote for the other's. What citizens should be looking at is each candidate's leadership character. Obama will bring a passive leadership that he thinks will spark change through unity and compromise. Clinton realizes the truth, and promises a fight against our conservative government. At this point in time, Clinton's leadership character wins her my vote.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  279. Rick Anderson

    Jack keep up the good work! I'm a 'former' Fox enthusiast but you are right on track and asking the right questions and have won my attention. As for character being a big part of the equation, I think it is HUGE! Is it the right thought process? Yes. Anyone who thinks it is not an important attribute of a candidate is one dimensional. Issues and character go hand in hand! For example, Clinton's talk big but we all know there is a hidden agenda. A candidate with character sticks to the issues and works for the people!

    February 5, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  280. Connor Heep, Austin, TX

    Issues should be more important to people. Judging on character is becoming the American way because people are too lazy to actual read into the candidates' positions. American voters should take back their attention spans and start dissecting the actual policies of a politician rather than just absorbing everything they know from their glass squares that lean against the wall.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  281. Albert

    Jack,

    We voted for a president last time based on likeability; look where that got us. We need to select a leader because he or she is qualified to actually lead. I mean I love my mom, heck she is even likeable to most. However, she'd be a nightmare of a president!

    February 5, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  282. Bev & Brian from Louisiana

    Neither! After 8 yreas of total mismanagement by the current president, I want the smartest person in the room to clean up his mess. That person is Hillary Clinton.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  283. Judy from Stone Harbor NJ

    It's the issues, most importantly Universal Health Care, stupid!
    The need for universal health care for all Americans, rather than affordable health care for lots of Americans - with the necessary guts it takes for the fight - that is an indication of character contrasted with the talented use of rhetoric.

    Talent, intelligence and style are not necessrily indications of character and judgement.

    It's a crime that every US citizen does not have health care.

    February 5, 2008 at 5:20 pm |