August 1st, 2008
02:08 PM ET

Do a candidate's looks matter?

 Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

"He needs to put some meat on his bones." "I won't vote for any beanpole guy.” These are people talking about Barack Obama and why they can't relate to him.

The Wall Street Journal reports today on whether Obama's skinniness could wind up being a liability for him in this election, particularly in a country where two-thirds of the voting-age population is overweight and one-third is obese. A recent poll shows Obama still trails John McCain among white men and suburban women who say they don't see eye-to-eye with the Illinois senator's background or values.

Watch: Cafferty: Do looks matter?

Obama's doctor says he works out regularly, jogging up to 3 miles a day when he can and that he has "no excess body fat." He plays basketball and bikes. Obama even took some heat from the press for working out too much recently – when he went to the gym in Chicago three times in one day, for a total of 188 minutes.

He apparently stays away from junk food – his daughter has said he doesn't like ice cream or sweets – and instead snacks on protein bars and organic tea. Obama has reportedly quit smoking several times.

A former staffer to President Clinton points out that while most voters don't choose a president based on looks alone, things like a candidate's height, weight and overall appearance can play into what they see as quote "presidential." Others point out that struggling with weight loss – much like Bill Clinton did – could endear a candidate to voters and make him seem more human.

As for John McCain, although he has injuries from when he was a POW in Vietnam, his doctor says he walked the Grand Canyon "rim to rim" 2 summers ago and hikes whenever he can find the time.

Here’s my question to you: How much does a candidate's physical appearance matter to you?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

James from New York writes:
Jack, Truthfully speaking, among televised, highly-publicized people, looks do matter. You have to look like a winner if you are going to lead a nation of winners. Looks, however, only get you so far and then you have to dazzle them with your brilliance. Barack Obama just looks presidential and when he speaks you can feel the Harvard education coming out of him. While his opponent sure was something a couple of decades ago (sorry, but it’s true).

Shirley from Ohio writes:
Sadly, Jack, it does. I never watch the State of the Union addresses. But if Obama wins, I will watch it – not only because he is an intelligent person, but also because he looks good. It is kind of like when The Rock was on WWE wrestling; my boys had to call me when it was time for him to wrestle. Now that he no longer wrestles, I do not watch it anymore.

Nancy writes:
Is there anything else that is going to be a disadvantage for Obama? He's too skinny. He's too black. He's too smart. He's too arrogant. He's an elitist. He's a celebrity. Give me a break. For those people who are trying to find any excuse not to vote for him, why don't you just call yourself a racist and get it over with.

Karen writes:
Jack, Looks don't matter to me. I was never at that stage where I needed to have a drink with the president. I would rather have a president who doesn't drive me to drink. Therefore, I don't think looks are all that important. I would however, appreciate having a president who has a brain and is able to string together sentences cohesively.

Paul from Mill Valley, California writes:
Not at all – unless you're old, bald and stupid.

John from Santa Barbara, California writes:
If he could get us out of this mess, I'd vote for Jabba the Hut.

Jed from Texas writes:
If Howdy Doody can become president, anyone can.

Filed under: Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (234 Responses)
  1. Margaret AZ

    Yes, of course, physical appearance matters. How can it not??
    Skin color–no - (except for juandice like look.) Physically, we
    can partially determine if the person is healthy and able to lead
    the country. and yes, if they are attactive., all the better, after all,
    they are our best foot forward to the world.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  2. Jonathan, Hartford, CT

    Anyone who would judge a candidate would be shallow. People just familiarize themselves with the candidates policies and qualifications. People don't notice big ears,, white hair, sex, and skin color. Not in America, the land of equal opportunity!!!!!

    August 1, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  3. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    It's not so much their "looks", its way they carry themselves. If they carry themselves with dignity and confidence, and look you right in the eye when speaking to you, that's what is important......not how they comb their hair, whether they are tall or short, or the shade of their complexion.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  4. Barbara Stuart

    Yes they matter. Everytime I see McSame, it makes me realize how much better my husband looks, and he is 72 years of age. McCain is an old man that needs to RETIRE.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  5. Bob in Boise

    Looks mean a lot Jack. That's why you and I are never going to be president.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  6. Denise from Brooklyn, New York, USA

    Actually no. Although I am concerned about that left jaw of McCain's. It does look like it can take a punch. And Obama's ears look like the man's about to take flight. Seriously though, looks do not matter. I am more concerned about the issues of which neither are willing to address truthfully and/or sincerely.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  7. Paul from Mill Valley, California

    Not at all, unless you're old, bald and stupid.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  8. Helena

    Whether he is short, tall, fat, thin, handsome or not, makes no difference to me. The appearances that do include a sneer like when McCain thinks he said a good thing or an open smile when Obama does. When McCain does that sneerly smile, he reminds me of a cruel German during WW2 when he physically injured a prisoner.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  9. Tina (Texas)

    If it did half the presidents ever elected would not have been commander in chief. All I am interested is what they are going to do for me.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  10. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    For all of the right and wrong reasons, absolutely. The President serves as the physical representation of all Americans, especially in the eyes of non-Americans. This has become even more important in the age of 24 hours news channels, television, and the internet. Unfortunately, two of of the country's greatest presidents, Lincoln and FDR, may not have been elected if they were running today due to some of their physical ailments and appearances.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  11. Annie, Atlanta

    None. It's always been brains that matter most. However, personally speaking, John McCain is starting to resemble a very old snapping turtle. It's a bit of a turn off.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  12. Terry from North Carolina

    Only to idiots !

    August 1, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  13. Betty - AL

    Only if they are mean and narrow minded, in addition to being old and ugly.


    August 1, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  14. rob

    well when you look as old as McBush–yes its a problem..He looks like he should be in a home somewhere rocking

    August 1, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  15. Angelena,Albany NY

    Most people will say it means nothing to them but subconsciously people make judgments based on appearance all the time,that are more likely than not unjustified.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  16. Jenna Wade

    How much does a candidate’s physical appearance matter to you?

    I don't hink looks matter that much to me as the appearance of being able to do the job.

    John McCain shuffles from one event to the next while Barack Obama sprints.

    I want someone who has the energy to do the job, not one that needs the naps!

    Roseville CA

    August 1, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  17. J.D.

    If I have a choice between a young, healthy-looking candidate who sounds sane or an elderly one with a history of illness, memory lapses and a cranky temperment, I'll take the one who looks like he could withstand the rigors of the office. Vote Obama.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  18. Kyle from Arkansas

    Jack, looks are everything in the public spotlight. Just look at the 2004 Presidential election – we all knew deep down that Herman Munster just didn't have it in him to be Commander-In-Cheif, no matter how much time his running mate spent in front of the mirror.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  19. Tom, Avon, Maine,The Heart of Democracy

    If he looks like a Republican aristocrat oblivious to the stress of the American middle class, his looks are "been down that road already."

    August 1, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  20. Terry, Chandler AZ

    They should not, but they do. Look at McCain, balding and grey , pasty white face with an evil creepy smile. Obama shows a youthful face with a gleaming attractive smile.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  21. Emma, San Jose, CA

    I choose demeanor over looks. McCain's angry demeanor concerns me.
    I am also deeply offended by petty and untruthful criticism of one's opponent. Handsome looks do not hurt, though.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  22. Steve C

    "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." In the voting booth, the only thing that will matter will be who is most qualified to get our country back on it's feet.

    Laguna Niguel, CA

    August 1, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  23. Dee in Denver

    Physical appearance does not matter much. Far more important are a candidate's facial expressions, reactions to different situations, and his/her comfort "within his own skin". Richard Nixon is an example of a president who was not comfortable with himself. Ronald Reagan is an example of one who was. I did not vote for either of them, because their positions on the issues are the most important consideration.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  24. Rose London

    America cannot afford a plastered image to represent them. Obama has all the qualities. Looks, Brain and most especially HEART.Rose London

    PS: love you Jack, please keep up the good and honest job.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  25. Jackie in Dallas

    Probably, although they shouldn't. We can't help but be influenced by certain things...whether someone looks professional, neat, clean, and fits a certain mindset we have of what they "should" look like. That's why we need a more substantive coverage of the candidates so that we can overcome these preconceptions we might have.

    Of course, all things being equal (or at least close), the better looking candidate usually has an edge!

    August 1, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  26. Duane... Bloomington,In

    Looks don't mean a thing to me...I want to know if they know anything about the issues of the day, and the parties involved in them. Plus a knowledge of Geography would be nice!!

    August 1, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  27. Harry

    McCain thinks it does as he places Obama in the same political ad as Paris and Britney.
    Obama thinks it does, as he alludes to not looking like the guys on our money.
    As for me, I could care less about looks.. Would I be watching you, if I did??


    August 1, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  28. Mysterious Johnson, Chicago

    Hi, Jack

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To me, it is what it is your heart and brain. A "beautiful looking" person could have a nasty attitude, and a not-so attractive person can have a great attitude. It is what comes from within that counts.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  29. David, Tampa, Fl

    Only in so far as would rather vote for someone that isnt a suit but an actual human being. Other factors such as intellect, not that there are any of those running this time, honor and the nobler attributes of humanity, rather than the base, crass morons in office now.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  30. louanne johnson

    I think it is more important how you carry that look . If you can carry what ever you look like with confidence people will see beyond your looks and hopefully find substance.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  31. Daniel from Los Angeles

    Yes…image is very important. When I see Obama I see a true charismatic leader that makes me want to stop, listen, and be patriotic. When I see McCain it’s like looking at a caretaker at a funeral home then I begin to fall asleep.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  32. Willow, Sheldon Iowa

    I think looks matter more than we care to admit. Not necessarily race, gender or ethnic background. But one of the better Democratic Nominees in my view, was Hubert Humphrey. He was not a good looking man and never became President. Likewise, JFK was voted in by many females because of his dashing good looks.

    If looks matter, Obama is a shoe in. He's young, good looking, has a nice smile, etc. Put obama and McCain side by side in a debate, and McCain is going to look like he definitely needs to be in the Old Soldiers home.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  33. Pat,Lexington, Ky.

    Looks don't matter, although it'd be good if our leader doesn't look like a monster. It's all about eye contact , words chosen and tone of voice. That's all we really have because we sure don't know what they're REALLY thinking!

    August 1, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  34. Joe, Clinton Ma.

    I think it matters alot. I want to vote for someone that will make it
    thru a full term.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  35. Bill from Alabama

    Most certainly a male candidate that has youth and good looks on his side ,has a certain advantage. But the apparent over-riding factor,is that the candidate is male. This was clear in this years Democratic Primary. Hillary was treated like a step-child ,by the media,and her opponents. Good looks didn't help her at all,and I think that was because most people,including women,do not like women bosses. They can not be manipulated as easily, as men. Nor do they slide easily in to the role of being "one of the guys". Women can flirt their way out of things with a male boss,but try doing that with a female boss! You'll get nothing but wrath. This is especially true in the job force,in the educational field,etc....that is why most principals are usually hired from the ranks of fairly good-looking coaches. They are the epitome of the "Good oh boy!"image,and are usually very layed back in their mode of dealing with things. There is a kind of stigma,in American society,that high ranking individuals must be male. This is not true,of course. Women are just as work oriented as anyone,and just a capable of making big decisions. We have a long way to go in America,still. Obviously! But yeah, I think looks always played a big role. You don't find many ugly people in high positions.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  36. Mark - Asheville, NC

    Looks matter, but more in Senate, House and governors races than for President. The Presidential race is more about personal chemistry, trust, percieved ability, attack ads, and for many, issues.

    But there have been exceptions; JFK over Nixon in 1960 was in part about looks, perhaps because of the first televised debates. I suspect that this year it will not be about looks, but more about the other factors listed above,

    August 1, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  37. FLEE BirminghamAL

    JACK i would be happy 2 vote for you,you are not a hypocrite,or a capitalist full of greed.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  38. Monty Squier

    As long as they have just one head and two eyes, the physical appearance is not the most important thing to me. It’s what’s inside that counts. But I will vote for the candidate whose body and mind are better than the other candidate.

    Monty in El Paso, Texas

    August 1, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  39. Kevin

    Yes, it matters a lot. Look at how John McCain appeared when he gave his speech on the night Obama clinched the nomination. He didn't appear convincing at all while Obama did.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  40. Derek

    looking at this year, yes.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  41. mitchell ,arkansaw

    i don't care if they have the face of an elephant seal.if they would just decriminalize marijuana.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  42. Chris, Southern California

    Looks only matter when stupid people vote.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  43. warren sanford

    Do a candidates looks matter? Yes, as President this person represents me, the nation, and how we see ourselves...McCain looks like a weekling who will likely die while serving in office....not impressive on the world stage...Barack looks like a virile, powerful, intellegent man who is looking forward, ready to lead a world which is starting to look like him more and more. It's time for the Rich White Man requirement to go away.

    Warren Sanford
    Sacramento, California

    August 1, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  44. Karen in Fairfax, CA

    If I like how the candidate's brain works, and his or her ability to communicate important ideas to us which help us think more instead of react, and which help us grow more mature as a country, then good looks is icing on the cake.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  45. Joe from Albany NY

    In this particular election physical appearance does seem to matter.
    Otherwise I can't think of any other reason why Obama should be ahead in the polls. If looks matter in an election for president of the United States, and it sure seems they do, then physical appearance is the one and only qualification that Obama has.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  46. Becker Dallas, Texas

    Now that depends. Right now you have two candidates that are pretty much worthless. In this case a tight pair of pants might mater to some.
    Either way you will have no idea what is actually in those pants because you will never get that far as a voter.
    One thing is for sure however. Voting for either of these candidates means someone is going to get screwed. And the worst part is that you won't even get a kiss!!

    August 1, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  47. Gil in Albuquerque

    Jack, I find it peculiar that in the last two weeks two known Republicans have been identified as committing murderous acts of terrorism on Americans.

    Jim Adkisson opened fire on "Liberals" at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.

    Bruce Ivans mailed Democratic leaders Anthrax that horribly killed 5 Americans in an act of cowardice and intra-terrorism the like of which we've seen from extremists in other countries.

    I this what we can expect from our GOP citizens when they become so enraged over politics and when things don't go their way? Are some of them so close to madness and this type of heinous behavior that we should now consider them an extremist group?

    August 1, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  48. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    Looks really should't matter,but they do,I guess. Unfortunately, there are some people who look at Obama and see only a black man instead of a man with ideals and morals. Plus, I guess people don't want their president to look like the hunchback of Notre Dame!

    August 1, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  49. Billy

    Like it not, we all make judgements about people everyday based on their appearance. Why should it be any different for our presidential candidates?

    August 1, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  50. Venia Pa

    Yes because you can the eye's are the windows of the soul and when I look into John McCain's eyes I see a deadness and an evilness and that is exactly how he is running his campaign with no excitement and very negatively. And that evil grin certainly doesn't help.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  51. Fred

    Alot, ugly presidents get less done becuase their in hiding their faces from the cameras in their office. So they have no choice but to work.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  52. bertha malveaux

    Jack,Yes the candidate physical appearance does matter to me .who want,s a president that is not appealing. Houston Texax

    August 1, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  53. Jim in Puyallup

    Well since neither one looks like the elephant man no I don't think it matters.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  54. Jeremy

    Barack's youth, energy, fitness, and even complexion all support his message of change, hope, and optimism. On the other hand, McCain is almost a caricature of traditional American politics, and it seems hard not to take his age and health into consideration when seeing his debates on HD TV. These differences may only be skin deep, but they seem to reinforce Barack's positives, and McCain's negatives.

    Fort Worth, TX

    August 1, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  55. William Lee

    Looks don't matter action is what we need.
    Bill ,Farmville, VA

    August 1, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  56. Sid---Texas

    As far as a candidate's looks go, it would help a lot if they were at least cute considering what they are doing now or probably will keep doing to the American taxpayers if elected...You get my drift?

    August 1, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  57. Robert from Des Moines, IA

    Actually I overheard two teenage girls state they were going to vote for Obama because he is 'hot'.

    Personally, I think that man needs a cheeseburger but that's not why I wouldn't vote for him.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  58. Paula from Georgia

    With how the vote went down in the primaries? Yes, to women, the way a guy looks matter. With men,it's hard to say. that one Jack, you have to answer. If you are voting on your beliefs and standards, NO. It comes down which wins over the other. Women, in general tend to need a man to make all their decisions. Looks or Ideas. Better change or Trouble a coming bigger hole than one we are in now.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  59. Jason, Koloa, HI

    Sad as it is, the better looking candidate almost always wins.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  60. Greg in Cabot AR

    Absolutely, although you, Jack might be too young to remember the Kennedy-Nixon debate, looks make a major difference.

    The debate was simultaneously covered on TV and Radio. Most everyone that watched the debates thought Kennedy won while a large majority that listened to the Radio thought Nixon won.

    Physical appearance played a major role then as it will now.

    If I wasn't concerned with physical appearance, I would still be wearing tie-dyed t-shirts, sandals, bell bottom jeans with long hair and a beard.

    I have outgrown the old and am ready for something new.

    People that want change will go with Obama while those happy with things the way they are will vote McCain.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  61. dennis north carolina

    healthy and clean cut plus a brain would be a plus. a brain is important because 90% of the people in our government can not think out side the box and only care bout themselves plus what they can gain for their small circle of people.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  62. Jason - Chandler, Arizona


    When anyone sees McCain on tv he is always steadied by the elbow when he walks down stairs or steps by his wife/nurse Cindy. McCain can claim to be fit, but from his looks, he appears to be unfit for the job as President. The rigors of the job of President will no doubt take it's toll and I don't think McCain will live through his first term if elected. Obama on the other hand, is slim and fit and works out. Nothing wrong with that. We need to get back to a nation of fit people and having a President who exercises only sets a good example! If the President can find time in his busy schedule to exercise so can anyone else!!

    August 1, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  63. eileen colorasdo springs, colorado

    Physical appearance matters a great deal. If I don't like a candidate's looks or what he says I tend to turn off the television.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  64. Pat, Greenville, Ohio

    They say beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  65. Raylene in Energy, IL

    Are people really that shallow Jack? How stupid! Whatever happened to judging a candidate by the content of his or her character? Appearance means absolutely nothing to me. Although, I have to admit, If Gorgeous George Clooney ever runs for office, I'll vote for him in a hot second...he's so "perty."

    August 1, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  66. Bruce St Paul MN

    They are important to whatever extent they reveal character. Does a candidate look trustworthy? Inspire confidence? But usually it just comes down to who is taller. Eisenhower, Eisenhower,Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, Nixon, (can't explain Ford/Carter), Reagan, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Clinton. The 2000 and 2004 elections don't count due to nefarious circumstances.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  67. Cecile, Montreal

    Jack. Of course physical appearance is important not always at the councious level. SOme will vote for a canditate because he match their beauty criterion. Other will vote against the same candidate because they are jalous of his physical appearance. That is the reason whay an uggly girl will be pass by when carrying for a very heavy luggage and a beautiful one will get a lot of help. It is just the way we are, it is not even concious

    August 1, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  68. Dinah, MN

    Unfortunately Jack, they do. Thank goodness Barack is tall, dark and handsome and dreamy.

    Obama 08

    August 1, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  69. Barbara in Nevada

    It is human nature to make initial judgements of people based on their physical appearance...first impressions and all. That said, once we begin to know something about an individual, that initial impression is usually modified as other information about an individual is taken into consideration. Of course a candidate's looks matter, but not in and of themselves. If someone looks unhealthy, they may, in fact, BE unhealthy. In the end though, the sum total of a person should be judged by a variety of that person's "make up", not just by their phsyical "components".

    August 1, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  70. Bizz in Quarryville, PA

    Jack I would not care if he had an eye in the middle of his forehead just as long as he had intelligence, common sense and would lead us in the right direction. We voted for a good looking person the last two elections that didn't have any these qualities and look where we are now.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  71. Linda from Southern Indiana

    A candidate's physical appearance should not matter. It would influence me if he or she were grossly overweight and might not be in good health. I think we need more meat on the issues from Obama, not meat on his bones! Size, weight, color of skin should not matter but integrity does matter with me. Still trying to like the man!!!!
    Hillary fan but a good solid Democrat

    August 1, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  72. Ed Reed

    Yes, unfortunately, just like it is in the TV news business. You should check out those bimbos over at Fox.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    August 1, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  73. Peter of Oregon

    It's posts like these, coupled with the fact that we elected Bush for a 2nd term in office, that makes me feel like at least 48% of my fellow Americans are absolutely stupid. And I do mean sub 80 IQ stupid.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  74. Deborah, CA

    I'm more interested in what's in Obama's head than anything else. Secondly, I want him to have good character, and a good heart. That's it.

    Obama 08

    August 1, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  75. Chut Pata

    Yes it does. We humans worship symbols because subconcious is more powerful than our concious. Our instincts are more powerful than our logic and reasoning. That is why subliminal messages works more powerfully than boring sermons.

    McCain is an old white man and a symbol of "Status Quo". Obama is a half-black young man who is a symbol of "Change" and "Hope".

    August 1, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  76. DJ, Los Angeles

    Who cares should be the answer, but that's not the case. People should be required to take an IQ test to vote.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  77. Judy (Canada)

    Hey Jack Are Americans electing in a Beauty Contest or for the leader of their great country? Sounds like he is in great shape, maybe more Americans should get a bit more exercise. Like get off the couch(tounge in cheek)

    August 1, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  78. Thomas, Yo.town, OH

    I use you as a benchmark Jack. Anything that looks like they went through hell and back will get my vote. So far, no one measures up.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  79. Clay from Philly

    I would like to believe that appearance does not matter; however, if it is important enough to be brought up in the media, chances are it is most likely important to someone, somewhere. I'm sure the McCain campaign is hoping it doesn't matter as this is one topic that youth benefits despite that McCain was quite handsome 40 years ago.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  80. Jim El Paso Tx.

    Obviously not Jack....Bush got elected TWICE 🙂

    August 1, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  81. Bob F.

    Jack, It seems that their main objective these days is to discredit the other and not focus on the issues at hand. As long as these two guys continue to poke jabs at each other they may as well dress like clairabell and bozo for no more good than either of them are doing us! At least we could find some humor in their rhetoric.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  82. Stacy from Beautiful Loudoun County Virginia

    Jack, looks do matter. If a candidate looks like cheaper gas, he becomes a stud. If he looks like more of the same, he looks like an old nag.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  83. Rudy NYC

    Looks should not matter, but for many folks it does. I for one would not my president to look like Alfred E. Newman, or Broom Hilda. By the same token the President shouldn't look like Barbie or Ken, either. Better add Karl Rove to that "Not Look Like" list, too.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  84. Fav Colorado

    It does – we wouldn't be human if it didn't matter.

    Having said that though:
    I cannot conceive that we have the two ugliest men running for president.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  85. Gino

    Hi, Jack

    Why have do I keep hearing the pundits say Barack Obama is playing the race card. It was the republicans and their associates who pushed the secret muslim idea, they leaked the photo of Obama in traditional african garb, they questioned his loyalty during the trip to the middle east, they even called a handshake with his a wife a "terrorist bump".

    So when Barack Obama say's "they are going to tell you I am different..." he is right! That is exactly what the republicans have always done and Obama is just trying to defend himself.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  86. T. Renee


    Any man who refers to Obama as a "beanpole" is totally jealous. He is amazingly hot!!! Any woman who does the same is just upset that she can't have him!! There is no doubt that if elected, Obama will go down in history as the hottest president!!!

    T. Renee

    August 1, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  87. Jenny Rome Ga

    I suppose in some instances that looks can matter. Such as FDR a victim of Polio rarely appearing with his leg braces or sitting down. He felt that it would send the message that he was an invalid to the country. A message that the country did not need to hear because we were so busy with the Depression and WWII. But now days really no.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  88. Major Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: For me, none, but for such an advanced civilization as ours to be without a winning image is as serious a defect as being without memory. Therefore it is prudent for [any] presidental candidate to establish a winner's image.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  89. KenB, MI

    I'm a bean pole and it doesn't suck to be me...skinny guys can make a suit look great..however some candidates need a suit to look great.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  90. Michelle, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania

    Obama is a suit-wearing (distant), wide-smiling (friendly, approachable) young (energetic, able to handle stress) man. McCain is more casual in his dress (approachable, regular guy), but that "grin" turns me off every time (ghoulish, predatory) and the scars are a constant subliminal reminder of his age and potential for health problems (pay very close attention to his VP pick!). Don't let anybody fool you that appearance doesn't matter.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  91. Dennis from Albuquerque

    Obviously looks don't matter. The American populace elected Alfred E. Newman twice!

    August 1, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  92. Ray, Florida

    I don't know Jack! Look at Bush he's short, and bow legged, you tell me! At least Obama know's how to comlete a full sentence.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  93. Joe in DE

    Looks are the last tie-breaker. I will vote or the ugly one.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  94. Kevin from Little Rock, AR

    Jack, what is up with all these characterizations. First it was "He's not black enough", then it's "He's too black", next it was "Is he patriotic" now it becomes "He's too skinny to be President". Show me the rules where a person have to look and act a certain way to be President. If there is no rules, stop worrying about how a person look and act.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  95. J.Heiret

    I have heard all the things Obama and McCain say they will do, yet I have not heard one thing that will help the seniors or veterans. Just who is going to pay for all this??? As it is our great-grandchildren will be paying for this mess Bush has us in. Soon the country will be backrupt. The world hates us and can you blame them.????

    August 1, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  96. yassin calgary

    yes... when i see obama, a true confidence ,a great attitude,leader,carry for ppl. sure

    August 1, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  97. Peter Norback

    We are all supposed to be thin and healthy. Mr. Obama is showing himself as a leader on that front, too.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  98. Sid---Texas

    Sadly enough, the way a candidate's looks do matter to some voters. Even the candidate's family has to look good. One of my relatives votes on how a candidate looks regardless of his party, not his or her stand on the issues. She voted for Bush because, she thought Laura is cute. A lot of uninformed voters unfortunately vote the same way. I personally would vote for Frankenstein if I thought that he could and would keep his campaign promises to get us out of the mess that Bush has made.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  99. Billy, Minneapolis, MN

    George Bush looks like an idiot and the last 7-1/2 years helps make him look even more like an idiot. Maybe we should elect a president who looks and sounds smart like Obama.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  100. Donna

    Of course looks matter, not that people will admit it!!

    I think McCain has been "botoxed" too much..he looks stiff and like he is really "trying" hard to make it through his speeches...his low energy level and drab speech delivery is enough to put anyone to sleep...

    I want a "Commander In Thief" that I don't mind looking at let alone listen to...that AIN'T McCain....

    August 1, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  101. John F, MN

    It matters as how much oil drilling matters for the price at the pump, none.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  102. Bun

    I just watched a report about Rumors on Obama Faith. Is this contry still the USA the gratest Nation? Why somebody's faith become an issue for his electability? What's wrong for being a muslim? there are many muslims who are far more better that those who accused him for being a muslim... just lern to know a good practicing muslim and you will be amazed that they are human being like you...who cares about the well being of this planet earth....

    August 1, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  103. Patricia F Pine Plains NY

    I sure would like to know if the President to be is healthy. Sounds like Senator Obama is. Now what is wrong with that? He should, by any streatch of the imagination, live to complete his term in office, be it four year or eight years.

    Wasn't Jack Kennedy tall, slim and healthy looking? People loved him. Of course we didn't know how hurt he was due to his WWII injuries. They kept those things secret in those days. Just like no one knew that FDR was in a wheelchair. People like to vote for healthy looking candidates. They look good to us, and to the world. Obama is someone to aspire to for those of us who aren't as slim and fit. (And probably will never be)

    August 1, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  104. tfresh

    not that much jack, but i can only tell you Donatella Versace is inspired by the way Obama dresses!

    August 1, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  105. Heather in Pennsylvania

    I suspect the 'looks' that matter to many Americans have little to do with weight.

    God, wake me up in November.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  106. 40+ In Suitland, MD

    Barack Obama is the whole package. Good looks, good health, youthful, articulate, great stamina, substance, and a keen intelligence. And...he doesn't take the weekends off to re-energize like some old jealous fogey we won't mention. Nothing wrong with looking good, ain't that right Jack?

    August 1, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  107. Wisconsin Vet

    Look matter if you are trying to find a way to publicly dislike a guy that is politically perfect for what you belive in. There ar a lot of closet issues this country has when it come to others and they would rather give you a stupid reason then tell the truth on why they will not.

    Keep it real GOP, than I and MANY others could respect you more.

    August 1, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  108. scott d, philadelphia

    Looks are subjective. If a person has the intelligence, charisma, personality and passion to hod the office, that is what matters. Unfortunately, It may be more difficult for someone who resembles the back end of a horse to get a message across.

    Only two image factors go into my personal decision-making process: The candidate should not be grossly overweight so that their health or their self-control is a reasonable concern. The candidate should not look like someone's grandfather.

    Scott D.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  109. Fletcher, Jacksonville

    Jack, One thing I do know is that the person who screwed this country
    up is white and ugly like me.

    Obama 08

    August 1, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  110. Sally Moore

    Obama's looks will probably matter to a lot of people. After all, didn't "Sex in the City – the Movie" have a great many viewers? But really, with all the problems that we have in America, I cannot but hope the citizens will listen to what is being talked about. And see the leadership skills Obama has.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  111. Cyriaque Asse from jacksonville,FL

    in someway yes,but judgement and internes values count the most

    August 1, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  112. TheTruthHurts

    Why are we talking about this? Unless it's a health concern, I just don't understand the relevance?

    August 1, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  113. William Herman

    Not really; as long as that dumb smirk we've been exposed to during the past seven plus years is gone. Bill Petaluma, CA

    August 1, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  114. Jerry--- Roselle, Illinois

    Of course I want the next president to be:
    not someone, well you get my point.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  115. kenneth sibbett

    Jack, when I was in grade school, the teacher had pictures of all the former Presidents on the wall. Jack, so help me God , they were some of the ugliest and scary people i'v e ever seen. If looks matter,they would have never stood a chance.

    Kenneth Chadbourn, N.C.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  116. Independent

    Is this what America has come to?

    August 1, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  117. Charlene, Henderson Nevada

    When Senator Obama made his many trips to Nevada early in the primary season, I had the privledge of meeting him personally and he spoke with my 17 year old son for twenty minutes. They shared a common theme of having a single parent houselhold, my son had struggled with this for 7 years , after speaking to Mr. Obama on that day it was like the world was lifted off his shoulders. He is heading to college in the Bay Area in the fall. I don't care if he has three eyes is green, he was courteous kind and did not have to take the time to speak with this kid. The cameras were not rolling there as nothing political about it!!!

    August 1, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  118. Kay

    Senator Obama is handsome AND has brains. Kind of like you, Jack.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  119. Donald Heerdt

    I don't care what he looks like as long as we get a change in the White House. It looks to me like John McCain is going right down the line with Bush's rules, including the dirty campaign. All we hear from John McCain is drill, drill, drill and did you notice that he only gives speeches to his friends? (My friends) I always thought I would vote for McCain but he sure did change my mind in a hurry after he got started on this campaign. He gets all riled up when he talks about off shore drilling, like that's going to do something right away and save the day. If he gets in office we better move to Canada or another country 'cause this one is going down the tube.

    Don Heerdt Hallwood, VA

    August 1, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  120. Mike Vos

    Sure, if they look like a Republican they get my vote. If they look like a democrat, no chance.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  121. Melissa

    I can't even believe this is a newsworthy topic.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  122. Ralph Addison

    Of course, esp. a nasty old man like McCain, he isn't drawiing much of an attraction. He is so mad, an angry old man he is.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  123. mitchell ,arkansaw

    well,you dont have to be able to walk,[FDR],and you dont have to be intelligent,[current wh occupant],and you dont have to be a 'POPULAR' actor,[ronald reagan],so, you dont have to be pretty,either.however i will make an exception in mccain's case.he needs a little work.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  124. bob, oshawa, ontario

    Jack, it really doesn't matter, so long as he or she has a modicum of intelligence, common sense and good judgment. Poor Obama is going to be labeled with yet another negative quality, in addition to being elitist, intelligent, witty and charismatic, that of being in good physical shape and health. Those Americans judging Obama negatively for having these qualities, may just as well vote for McCain who seems to, by default, to have all the endearing characteristics they desire plus he'll give 'em four more years of Bush style government.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  125. Rex in Portland, Ore.

    My president should be slimmer than Wm. Howard Taft, be shorter than Abraham Lincoln, have more hair than Dwight Eisenhower, be taller than James Monroe and – most importantly – not wear a wig like George Washington did.

    Personal appearance matters.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  126. tony

    You better believe it matters. At the San Fran exploratorium, there is an exhibit that tests this hypothesis. A series of photos of past candidates chosen from select elections, you pick the one you thought won based solely on appearance. The correlation between winners chosen by appearance only and winners chosen in the actual elections was very high.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  127. EBC, MD

    YES, it does Jack.

    There is NOTHING wrong with a NICE LOOKING man as a PRESIDENT. As a matter of fact it's a GOOD thing, added bonus if you ask me to have a BRILLIANT man as President AND have him LOOK GOOD too? Pleeeze..... bonus all the way.

    I mean, honestly, if it was a matter of looks, Sen. Obama is a box of delicious box of assorted chocolates. AND John McCain is a store bought box of stale coconut macaroons.

    Need I say more?

    August 1, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  128. RM

    As I said before...Politics is show biz. Period.
    Besides, we are a society where looks are exceedingly important.- probably much, much more important than they should be. Check out the movies, magazine racks and TV if you doubt that.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  129. Kim

    Im just ready to have a president that has common sense. Judging by the actions of our current president, common sense was apparently too much to ask for. Obama has is it, It also doesnt hurt that Obama is easy on the eyes.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  130. Kim, KY

    Yes, physical appearance does matter. We want a President that looks good and looks like he takes care of himself. Obama does look good...a little skinny but he looks good but I'm still supporting McCain...bless his heart, he can't help it that he's old but he does still look good for his age and I wouldn't be ashamed to say that's my President! With Obama, all he has is his good looks and good ability to speak...

    August 1, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  131. Janet C

    Give me brains first please ! We don't want fluff and farce and flipflopping fools.
    Janet C

    August 1, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  132. Jed in Texas

    If HowdyDoody can become President anyone can.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  133. Patrick, Boston, MA

    Physical appearance plays a major role in determining the outcomes of elections. For example, Americans adored Kennedy; his tan skin and flowing hair gave him a huge advantage over an older, less attractive Richard Nixon. Also, to paraphrase the movie, "The American President", would Franklin Roosevelt, who sat in a wheelchair, have been elected if every household in America had a television?

    August 1, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  134. Tim From Rolling Prairie Indiana

    Just once I would like to see a hot First Lady Candidate.....

    August 1, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  135. John

    As much as I wish it didn't, it does. We like to live around people who look like us. We like to hire and work with people who look like us. We like to worship with people who look like us. We like to vote for people who look like us. In the end – that is why Senator Obama will not win. And that's a shame.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  136. Sachi Ptadhan

    Not at all...Look at Bush ...

    August 1, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  137. allan tsybulnik

    If it look like Obama-no way.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  138. Eugene in Myers Flat, California

    Jack, the only thing important about a candidate to me is whether or not they can or will do their job. A congress chosen for looks alone will surely end up with a 9 per cent approval rating.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  139. jm

    melissa, you. are correct.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  140. Sachi Pradhan

    Not at all…Look at Bush …

    August 1, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  141. Julie, Houston

    Looks are important, but give me intelligence and judgment every time. Why is it that americans consistently want to elect c- legacy students/admissions? Why the distain for those smarter than we are?

    August 1, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  142. Sue of Minnesota

    Guess looks does counts. McSame says Obama reminds him of Britney & Paris. Guess that makes Obama a 10.

    When I was a kid, eveyone was making fun of Kennedy referring to Camelot. He was the golden boy.

    When I was a teenager everyone was complaining about the reaction to Bobby Kennedy. He was also a rock star. He could bring out the kids. They were also goodlooking and smart. Does that mean they also like Britney & Paris.

    Yes the public will be the judge McSame. Right now you'r a 3 with all your dirty tactics.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  143. peggy

    Yes, they matter, but neither one of these have any, but then they have no substance either

    Sure wish JFK, JR. was still with us.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  144. Pam

    The sad fact is that yes looks do matter. There's an unwritten requirement for President and it's based on looks. Is it right? No way. But it is there.

    The good thing is that looks are starting to fade as a requirement. People are a lot smarter now and they pay attention to the issues. Voting for President shouldn't be "well this man has x-y-z characteristics so I'm going to vote for him". Voting for President should be "the individual stands for a-b-c and I like those positions, so I'm going to vote for this person". We're not totally there yet, but we're getting there.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  145. Pa Girl

    Looks do matter. Maybe that's why McCain wears $500 shoes. He's hoping we look at his feet instead of his face. His complexion is pasty and he looks unhealthy. He'd better pick a youthful looking running mate (ie Ken Doll Romney) . Also, I find McCains voice to be irritating. Obama, on the other hand, looks and speaks polished and presidential.
    Obama 08!!

    August 1, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  146. Bryan Emerson

    Yes, the appearance of our president is important.
    Not necessary good looking , but well put groomed and confident.

    Mostly he must look honest and trustworthy.
    Hence the current president's smug, full of himself attitude and very leery eyes.

    Thank you

    August 1, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  147. lynne from lattimore, nc

    Is their appearance going to affect the price of gas, healthcare, enable me, an older college grad, finally become gainfully employed, provide some clothing, housing and food? If the answer is 'no' why are we talking about it? The basics are what matters to me. The rest is fluff and utter nonsense to get our minds off of what REALLY matters and that is SURVIVAL.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  148. Tom Bruce

    Of course. That's why we don't have a President Forbes today. If Lincoln had TV in his day, he never would have made it out of Illinois.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  149. Patricia Mo

    Experience and Substance matter most. Wow...Look at tall and akward Abe Lincoln and look what he accomplished, and don't forget Franklin D. Rosevelt who was crippled... This country needs great leaders not models for clothing catalogs.

    August 1, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  150. Jay form Ohio

    Of course they matter – to political cartoonists. Fortunately America has been blessed with some of the funniest-looking politicians the world has ever known. Abraham Lincon would never have won a beauth contest.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  151. Alex

    If America goes by "looks alone", the over-weight pasty faced scary old guy wins hands down over the tall skinny handsome young African American.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  152. Brian


    When fat people start voting along waist lines and not along party lines...well I think that was one of the signs of the apocalypse.

    Moscow, ID

    August 1, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  153. Nancy

    How pathetic that obese Americans won't vote for someone thin, yet they will vote for someone white who clearly is becoming senile? Someone who is making one mistake after another verbally and is too old to be president of the US. Maybe it is more that he is black than skinny and people won't admit it. Why can't people look beyond it and see what a bright and capable young man Obama is.............

    August 1, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  154. Ted Beaverton, OR

    There was this guy named Abraham Lincoln...who some say was a beanpole.

    Anyone who votes based on appearance should look in the mirror before they vote.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  155. Rebecca in SC

    Wow! This is incredible. I hear so much complaint from overweight people about discrimination (airline passengers who are too selfish to share their seats, for example). Now it seems people who are not obese are going to be subject to discrimination because they are no longer the majority. Intelligence, not appearance, should be the concern as we choose a president. Obama will be a better president than Taft.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  156. Jason from Hollywood

    My dead grandpa looks better than McCain. The guy needs to be checking into a rest home, not the White House. What's the deal with one of his cheeks big twice as big as the other? My opinion, by the way, is that looks don't really matter.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  157. G

    This is stupid if a person will not vote for someone because they are too skinny for them than they shouldn't be voting in the first place. This just goes to show how lazy people are when it comes to understanding the issues. They will make any insignificant issue THE ISSUE! If you don't want to vote for him than come out and say it and don't reduce yourself to such idiotic factors.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  158. Ray from Nevada

    Hey Jack... Lets try honesty... If you ran a poll on the positions that Obama has presented an overwhelming majority of americans would agree.
    Do you want to get out of Iraq?
    Do you think Oil companies should get tax breaks?
    Do you think the wealthiest Americans should pay less taxes than you?
    Do you want to be independent of forign oil?
    Do you think the President should be looked at as a World Leader?

    So if Obama's positions and abilities are in step with the majority the only reason he would not win election is because of "His Look"

    I know it is too long to make it on the air... But it is time for the country to be lead by a person who represents the opinion of the people.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  159. DeeDee

    yes, the appearance matters, but not necessarily regarding physical characteristics. There's a difference in dressing like and elite GQ man with designer sunglasses and looking stately and professionally well groomed. Obama does not dress like a president. He dresses like he is trying to show off his money. That kind of appearance turns me off.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  160. Julie from LA

    Good looks don't matter to me, Jack, but the appearance of good health does.

    I look at John McCain and see a man who is too mentally and physically OLD at 72 to be president.

    President of the United States is one of the most challenging jobs in the world–both mentally and physically.

    There's a reason that most of us retire or work part-time at 65, You don't give a job like "US President" to someone like Senator McCain, someone who just doesn't look like he's up to the challenge.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  161. Charlene, New York City

    Yes, I think looks do matter to an extent. You don’t have to be the most handsome, but you do need to look healthy. Obama looks healthy. Like he can take on the stresses that are associated with the job of President. of the United States. Which also makes a statement to the people of other countries. That America is strong and vibrant. McCain on the other hand, looks like he will have a heart attack when the going gets really tough. He represents old, antiquated ideas of the past.

    YES WE CAN!!!!!

    August 1, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  162. Daniel Snider Ironton, MO

    Not many of our past presidents have been lookers Jack. We need someone with solutions not just a pretty face. If Obama has that then he could look like road kill for all I care.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  163. Jason from Hollywood

    My dead grandpa looks better than McCain. The guy needs to be checking into a rest home, not the White House. What's the deal with one of his cheeks being twice as big as the other? My opinion, by the way, is that looks don't really matter.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  164. Temesgen

    Hey Jack,
    It is not the look that matters but the change he brings to us. If the llok matters then Mccain lost it long time ago. I don't think the look or the politics seem to work for Mccain.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  165. Jay in Texas

    Brownwood, Texas

    August 1, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  166. DJK

    Looks matter for certain democrat voters this year.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  167. Earl

    Don't worry about the next presidents weight.....


    August 1, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  168. B. from California

    Many want to argue,"Of course, looks don't matter," however, if look deeper into it, subconsciously it does have an effect on our choices and beliefs. We may not be able to recognize it outwardly but little factors such as looks do play a huge role in our choices. Author Malcolm Gladwell recognizes this clearly in his book, "Blink: the Power of Thinking Without Thinking," in which he describes the "Warren Harding effect." The people elected former President Warren Harding because he was good-looking, and some might say even looked "like a president," yet he turned out to be one of the worst presidents in our nation's history.

    These little prejudices do distract us from our intended way of thinking, however, I feel that if we make attempts to become aware of these little influences, we come one step closer to preventing another Warren Harding. We do not know what will result of the candidate who wins the most votes, however, increasing awareness can prevent a candidate from winning for the wrong reasons.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  169. Chris from Cedar Rapids IA

    Did I just read somebody saying that Hilary has good looks on her side?!

    That dent to the forehead aside, I think it isn't so much what you have as how you use it. McCain carries himself like he has something to hide. I find myself just rankling at the idea of him in charge with his past actions and demeanor.

    Obama carries sense of purpose when he moves and talks like he is after something greater than himself, which he is. I suppose he is a decent enough guy but it is that presence he brings forth that makes me want to vote for him. That and I find I can believe what he says and I can see in his actions that he can adapt instead of just "staying the course."

    August 1, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  170. Harvey in Va

    No but Obama seems to think so as he brings it up .. Does Hillary look like most presidents ?? I never heard that mentioned..the press is for Obama but that will not win him the election>>


    August 1, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  171. Steve Rush


    What is this country coming too? It's really sad that we have nothing else better to do than focus on a candidate's appearance. Who cares what the guy looks like. He couldn't do a worse job weighing 40 or 400 lbs than President Bush.

    Fort Riley, KS

    August 1, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  172. Doug in PA

    You used the terms "height, weight, and OVERALL APPEARANCE". Be glad your not running for president, the mccain campaign would accuse you of playing the "race card"

    August 1, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  173. Ruth in Illinois

    Well. . . I once voted for Ross Perot, so I guess it doesn't matter TOO much!

    August 1, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  174. Daniel Cook

    I don't think a candidate's appearance matters all that much. In terms of physical health, as long as he/she isn't a too busy going to the hospital or the gym to listen to a national security briefing I think everthing is fine.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  175. 24krtgold

    We can sure tell it's FRIDAY! So now we're focusing on the lack of body fat in a presidential candidate. No matter what size or shape the controversy will be micro analyzed! Pleeeeeeze! It's the issues Jack, the ISSUES!

    August 1, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  176. Julie, Indiana

    Unless a person is so butt-ugly that it gives me shivers (sorry – I'm human after all), physical appearance doesn't matter a bit. What does matter is the ability to communicate well, to speak clearly and passionately. After all, the single biggest power a US President has is the bully pulpit. And listening to Senator McCain reminds me of that jerk in grade school who scraped his nails on the chalkboard!

    August 1, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  177. Luwanna

    Jack you have got to be kidding me?? OK just on some of the points you made I would vote Obama because 2/3's of America obviously needs a better example when it comes to personal health. Looks??? are you kidding me???
    Luwanna Guysville OH

    August 1, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  178. Carl San francisco

    Okay Jack, This is getting ridiculous! Are we really focusing on he weight now!? Where was all this during the last elections!

    August 1, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  179. Richard L Kvasnicka

    I believe a canditates over-all appearance does have an impact on people. Especially dress and demeanor. Senator Obama has them all.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  180. Michael Gonzales

    No a candidates physical appearance has no weight in my decision making process for president.

    This is an example of the elite media continuing to keep our minds of the important issues that directly effect our lives.

    national initiative. us-empower the sovereigns

    August 1, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  181. Marv

    Jack, I don't care if the candidate weighs 100 pounds or 500 pounds, as long as he keeps to the main issues for the economy,educaton,health care and Security for the US.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  182. Mark, Oklahoma City

    Are you kidding? Jack Kennedy was elected because everyone in America could see his charm and good looks on television. Abraham Lincoln was elected because practically no one could see his homely face. Get it?

    August 1, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  183. Kate, Akron OH

    If I were going to worry about a candidate's appearance it wouldn't be his race or his weight I was concerned about. McCain looks old enough to be my great grandfather and I'm ready for a young, healthy candidate who's going to take on the issues affecting my generation instead of trying to take us back to the good 'ole days.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  184. Parker in Covington KY

    Looks? Aren't politicians the ugliest celebrities in the world? Isn't Washington Hollywood for ugly people? There's been too much attention to looks, and, in fact, too much attention to personalities too. These two men represent two gigantic political parties with platforms, agendas and policies that are beyond even the candidates themselves to change. I've heard nothing about that while the media obsesses about images. Who're the vapid celebrity airheads in that equation, huh?

    August 1, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  185. JB, Indiana

    Are you kidding me? This is what we are talking about?
    What about issues? It is unbelievable that the airwaves are filled with questions like this. People won't vote for someone because they are too thin? Give me a break.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  186. Travis Nelson in Lakewood, WA

    I don't think that a person's looks should play a role in whether or not they can run our country, I believe that it about what they say. If the world ran on looks, then McCain should just reitire, he already looks like he is stressed out now, that's not presidential.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  187. Christian, NJ

    Absolutely Jack!

    That is why I think you and wolf will make a fantastic team if you run as independents!

    August 1, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  188. Isabelle

    I think that a country whose adult population is 67% overweight could use a good example of a fit and athletic president. As far as I can remember George Bush has always been praised for his enthusiasm for biking, so I'm not sure what's the motive behind these statements. However, if obese and overweight Americans are stuck in their ways that they can't even handle a healthy and athletic president, our obesity problems are far worse than anyone has predicted.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  189. Jose Soto

    I dont recall being the country of the fittest, so why does it matter? Leave the physical fanaticism to Britney Spears and Lindsy Lohan... wait, werent they already used?


    August 1, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  190. david newell

    It's those senior moments that concern me most but if appearance
    really matters stand Obama next to Abraham Lincoln.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  191. Lake

    Looks only matter if your prejudice and not willing to vote for a black man regardless of his views. We all should take note of Obama's fitness and follow his lead, then maybe the world wouldn't be so obese!! McCain's has no appealing looks at all, he appears to be too old and injured to be President.

    New Jersey

    August 1, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  192. Nicholas Fruneaux

    Let's not forget that the presedent represents America world wide, so his looks do matter.
    If a candidate was very obese a don't think he would get very popular, it doesn't set a very dynamic image.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  193. Marty

    I thought we were voting for a President not a beauty queen – silly me. It doesn't surprise me that some Americans use such shallow criteria to make important decisions, though. It keeps them from having to take the initiative educate themselves or think too hard.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  194. Kristin Choate

    Obviously I want my president to be healthy enough to handle the rigors of the office, but it is not necessary to be an athlete. Case in point, George W Bush is one of the fittest presidential candidates we have ever had, but he is also one of the most ineffective presidents. Maybe if he had spent less time jogging, biking and chopping wood on his ranch, he would have known that gas was $4 a gallon!!!

    August 1, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  195. Galen

    What really matters is his brain and how he uses it. And that is why he would the best choice for this country. Look back at the past 8 years, what in the world happen to this country? It is time to move on with someone who can think........

    August 1, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  196. Tino

    Only if s/he is ugly like John McCain.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  197. Derick, Greenlawn NY

    Low-information voters are going to destroy this country. Wheelchair-bound FDR rescued this nation from The Great Depression and guide us through World War II. America needs to vote for the candidate with the best ideas, not the candidate with the prettiest jumpshot or the most war scars.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  198. Heather

    Appearance matters only as an indicator of health. Eisenhower had heart attack(s), Nixon had phlebitis, and Clinton ended up with heart problems. Presidents Ford, Carter and Bush the elder all enjoyed good health. Being shot like Regan doesn't count. If Obama unwinds through exercise and keeps himself fit at the same time, all the better. And much better than Canada's PM who was teased by the press corps until he went on a diet.
    Heather, Toronto

    August 1, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  199. LO

    It's not his fault he's NORMAL. It's in his genes. I'm sure he has no time to work out for that body. He's not skinny. He's normal, people. Get some help gosh!

    August 1, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  200. W. O'Rourke

    Just saw the story about Obama being "too fit" but let's keep it real - just how presidential is it for the president to wear Band-aids on his face? Looks do matter and I would rather see a healthy-looking man running this country than a man in charge of the country who is run down.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  201. Pennie Johnson Boyce,La.

    Well let's see... I can vote for Senator Obama whose very presence speaks for itself or I can vote for Senator McWHO?

    August 1, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  202. Art, Middletown, NJ

    It matters. Ask Richard Nixon.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  203. Teri Slagle

    Hi Jack,
    I guess too fit is like being too presidential couldn't stop laughing at this one

    YES WE CAN!!

    August 1, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  204. Peggy Howard

    The candidate for President of United States should be of a moderate age and fit in health to under take the stress of the job.
    McCain is way too fudi -dudy (old and weird) and his health is down the hill, i.e. cancer on face and head, arms cannot reach because of the capitivity he encountered, and probably much more than they are telling us. He better pick a healthy and fit and young vice president.

    Obama is the picture perfect of health. He is young and vibrant. He is nice looking very good looking and appealing enough to be a movie star, and oh by the way he already is at rock star status, and will be our next President of the United States. The first African American.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  205. Veronica in Richmaond, VA.

    Hi Jack, Senator Obama looks good, the look of saving us from 4 more years of Bush/Cheney. McShame looks dead, the only why I know he is alive is hearing his stupid evil jokes (not really jokes) Senator Obama bring a smile to your face & goose bumps, MaShame makes you want to puke!

    August 1, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  206. Mia


    Physical appearances should not matter. That only happens with people that have a high school mentality and have to tear them down on their looks because they cannot have anything nice to say about them.

    It's ludricous to think some people are not voting for him because he's "too skinny." Americans are obese because they don't exercise and eat right. They should certainly not find fault with a guy who exercises. If they do, our country has worse problems than I thought.


    Eau Claire, WI

    August 1, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  207. Brian from Berea, KY

    A candidate's appearance does matter to a small extent, but I doubt it will be the deciding factor in this election. Neither McCain nor Obama have outlying features that would be particularly endearing or repulsive to voters. Other things being equal, I would choose a youthful (46) and tall (6'2") Obama over an old (71) and short (5'7") McCain.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  208. mgaskill

    Jack, of course it doesn't. What bothers me is what you are relaying to the general public. Senator Obama is an enthusiastic health fanatic. How could someone that is so dedicated to his body and mind continue to smoke? Does it indicate that he is weak or has poor judgment?

    August 1, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  209. wsharp

    Look at pictures of Lincoln prior to 1860 and Lincoln just before his death. In between, regardless of looks the man was in Ali's words, the greatest. I don't care how either McCain nor Obama look now nor do I want them to be as ravaged as Lincoln–but it is what they do in between their looks now and four years from now. Obama has the best possibility.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  210. Karl in CA

    Looks are secondary. I'll take a Quasimodo or Ma Kettle that will fix the economy, energy and get us out of Iraq over a Marilyn Monroe or Tom Cruise that will drag us further down. Character, integrity good judgment and common sense beat a pretty face any day

    August 1, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  211. Kim - NE

    A nice looking person is certainly a bonus when you are watching & listening to determine who you will be voting for.

    Obama & his family remind of the times when as a child, we would build snowman & then try to sculp them into images of Jack & Jackie Kennedy. We even tried to do Caroline & Jon.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  212. Lacey, Texas

    Jack – here's a secret for you. True athletes think better when working out. Believe it or not, this is where problems are solved and questions are answered. So, when you see Obama on the court, he's not "really" playing (or goofing off). He's making important decisions. It's how he clears his mind. We should all follow suit.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  213. Krista, San Diego, CA

    Seriously? If anyone focuses on appearance rather than issues, then I hope they get what they deserve! How can people be so shallow & short-sighted?


    August 1, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  214. Kevin

    This is when you know the nation's getting too fat – when some people in the country won't vote for someone because he isn't fat enough.

    Personally, I'm more concerned about if the candidate share's my views or not than their looks.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  215. Asghar

    The look doesn't matter but the age certainly does, and that would change your look

    August 1, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  216. Richard T.

    Looks do matter. Look at history -Nixon vrs. Kennedy. I even had a roommate once tell me she was voting for George W. because he was "hotter" than Al Gore. Yes, looks shouldn't ultimately be the key factor in decision making, but we are humans and we all tend to make our decisions based on emotions, not reason and logic.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  217. Beverly- Weston, FL

    Come on Jack! it means alot I am in love with Senator Obama for the same reason that I am in love with YOU! Its because of your good looks and sex appeal!!!!


    August 1, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  218. Rudy in Bremerton, WA

    The real question should be "does someone's skinniness have anything to do with his presidential qualifications." I think not, unless you're an Obama hater. Or you're a McCain advisor searching for any strawman to hurl into the campaign. Or you're a journalist who is bored, seedy and deluded at the same time. Americans want to talk about issues, not about the front page of gossip magazines found in the cashier aisles of our local grocery.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  219. km

    sometimes...or else how the hell would nixon have been elected?

    August 1, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  220. josie geisen

    No, the looks of a candidate don't matter much to me, it's what is inside their head.

    I no longer believe in anything McCain says.

    The flap over Obama's dollar bill remark is nuts. He stated the obvious in a lighthearted way.

    Obama has some of the most experienced, smart people in the country behind him .

    iIf he brings as much efficiency to the Presidency as he does to his campaign it can be only good for our administration.

    McCain is unaware that there are bipartisan efforts to bring forth an energy bill in the Senate. APPARENTLY SO IS THE MEDIA. SEE TODAY'S C-SPAN.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  221. hugh ny

    zero,of all the senseless reasons to choose or not choose a president. total foolishness.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  222. Kevin C., Portland, OR


    It doesn't matter if the candidate looks like Quasi-modo, Cyclops, or Yoda. What DOES matter is the candidate's vision, goals, judgement, and common sense. If Brad Pitt ran for President, but had the same policies, poor judgement, and inability to communicate effectively as Dubya, why bother? I say give me a President that needs a "Phantom of the Opera" mask who has even an ounce of intelligence

    August 1, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  223. Carla

    Jack Senator Obama really does not appear to be that skinny. I really enjoyed watching him sink that three pointer, the camera person got a shot of him from behind. (Nice shot)

    August 1, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  224. Nadine

    As foreign countries puts it, "America has a obsession"! It's either the outward appearance, weight, clothes, and the list goes on. If your heart is right, it will make the outward appearance "glowing". If you have a mean-spirited heart and corrupt mind, it will "disfigure" the outward appearance. Isn't that's what happening to Bush, Cheney, Rove, Stevens, Bill Clinton, etc, etc....

    August 1, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  225. Jim

    Hopefully not, but look at the past JFK etc. Ivoted for him on his plans, but I wouldn't be surprized if many didn't vote for the 'Camelot' couple because of their appearance alone and the way thay reflected America to the world..
    Vote McCain, better democratre than Socialist!

    August 1, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  226. caroline rackowski

    Obama's too thin! Give me a break. Shouldn't we focus on how how he "weighs in" on issues rather than his weight? And isn't the strength of his policies on the ecomony, the war in Iraq and energy be what we consider rather than how much he lifts in the gym? I'm more concerned about how our president runs the country instead of how many miles he runs. Sometimes I just don't believe what the voting public thinks of as important in our candidates.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  227. Andrew Bandenieks

    In John McCain's case it sure does. His physical appearance is troubling enough, but his mental state is disturbing. I don't think we focus on that enough. He reminds me of how really old people act... He maybe 72, but he acts much older... scary

    August 1, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  228. Dorothy

    Jack, it's obvious to me that the media's purpose is to pick apart Sen. Obama until he's a shadow of himself. Sen. Obama is speaking the truth about McCain and his campaign playing the "race card". That goes for the media, also. Your question is a prime example of the insidiousness of your program to discredit Sen. Obama. I've never, in my 66 years, witnessed such biase, from the media, for a presidential candidate. Do you think, maybe, it's because Sen. Obama is black?

    August 1, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  229. Jim Green, Seguin, TX

    It shouldn't matter at all, Jack-but let's get real. It is like racism–we pretend it is not a factor in this election-when, in fact, it is a major factor!

    August 1, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  230. Dan McGuire

    Sadly, many Americans don't even look beyond appearance. I guarantee you, if Lincoln ran for president today, he wouldn't even have a chance.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  231. Colleen

    My vote will be based on whether or not the candidate is a leader and has a realistic agenda that he will set out to accomplish, not how he appears physically. However, I see nothing wrong with someone who believes in being healthy and physically fit, because that enhances mental ability and physical energy. According to the statistics that I just read, Americans need some positive role models in this area!!!

    August 1, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  232. Alex

    I don't think it should matter what someone lookes like to be president. So far we really haven't had some one as skinny as Obama but I'm not no skinny guy. But I like to stick to the issues and not go the "low road" like some people and focous on looks and names.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  233. Todd Calvin

    I don't recall skepticism about a candidate's health consciousness coming up in the last election despite breathless coveage of George Bush's 6-day a week, rigorous workout regimen.

    We were told Bush was a "regular guy" - look how well that worked out.

    August 1, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  234. Martha Moore

    Absolutely not. I can't imagine voters being so shallow. I think the people who think it does matter will not vote anyway. This election, more so than any I have experienced, (and I am 52) will be about issues and nothing else.
    Martha Roanoke, Va

    August 1, 2008 at 4:34 pm |