October 5th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Better for candidate to stay off campaign trail or risk a mistake?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's being called the "year of the missing candidate."

Politico reports how with only a month to go before the midterms, candidates in some key statewide races are missing in action on the campaign trail.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/10/05/art.odonnell.jpg caption="Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell at the Values Voter Summit on September 17."]
They're skipping debates, ducking out on public events, refusing to publicize the ones they hold and opting out of national television interviews all together.

This includes everyone from newcomers like Christine O'Donnell in Delaware and Rand Paul in Kentucky to incumbents like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid or Texas Governor Rick Perry.

The reason why: these candidates are worried that if they do step out in public, they'll do or say something stupid that will come back to haunt them.

They're gambling that in the long run it's better to get some bad press for staying away from the campaign trail than to be caught on tape in some "gotcha" moment.

Political observers are stunned at the lengths to which some candidates are going, like refusing to release public schedules to local reporters or running away from cameras and shouted questions. Some wonder if going forward, candidates in state races will be as tightly guarded as presidential candidates.

Then again - you can't totally blame these politicians when you take into account the rise of what's called the "tracker culture." Opponents send staffers with camcorders to their events to record every single word a candidate utters. Make a mistake and you turn up in your opponent's campaign ad to be seen over and over again.

Here’s my question to you: Is it better for a candidate to stay off the campaign trail or risk making a mistake?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Lance in California writes:
Jack, They are at risk regardless of the decision. If they can't get their message out, they lose. If they make a mistake, they lose! If they allow their opponent to run the race with their unchallenged rhetoric, they lose! The answer is, you get out there, deliver your message, trash the opponent's record/message, and take your chances.

Steve in New York writes:
Staying away is the best bet. Hungry journalists and the internet tend to destroy people. I think if we got rid of half of the journalists and 75% of the news channels, things would be more peaceful in today's society.

D. writes:
Let's spare us the agony of political b.s. during the election process. Silence is golden. Too much has already been said by too many. Does it really matter what is said during elections?

Mario in Phoenix, Arizona writes:
In this political environment where idiocy is king, it's better to read the news than make the news!

Ernie in Vermont writes:
When the late Vermont Sen. George Akin ran for his last term in 1968, he spent $17.09 on his campaign. He made only a handful of appearances. He won by a landslide!

Paula in New Mexico writes:
Staying off the campaign trail means that candidates might make fewer mistakes. However, it's a clear indicator that some candidates are outright cowards. It also means that voters will be "buying pigs in pokes." But, public appearances, or not, that's what we've all been doing, for years, anyway, isn't it?

Jay in Madison, Wisconsin writes:
A candidate staying off the campaign trail is like a soldier staying off the battlefield. It may be better for the soldier but not better for the country!

Filed under: Election Process • Elections • Polls
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. Paul Austin,Texas

    Look to Rick Perry who wants to be the king of Texas. We will not face his chalenger Bill White face to face about the issues. Yet he runs an ad stating he confronted Obama about the border problems Texas and other states have. He gave Obama a letter asking for help that in my eyes is no confromtation. Also he states he is not for any law like Arizona has just his way of getting more votes from our friends on extended stays here in Texas from south of the border. When running for office someone needs to out there and if it gets rough than oh well you tried.

    October 5, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  2. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, New York


    Since 2012 is proving to be the the year of Forest Gump, public appearances by most candidates would only prove the stupid is as stupid does axiom.
    The first legislation that President Obama needs to send to Congress is for term limits. If we're forced to vote for an empty suit( or skirt) at least provide the voter with the security that they will only be in office for a short time.

    October 5, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  3. Greg Who? Mechanicsburg, PA

    It may be better for a candidate, who has multiple flaws, to remain scarce, but it does the process harm. How are we to judge a candidate if we are not able to see them in contrast with their opponent in active debate? This just goes to show how bad the system is. We need to redraw the political map state by state and district by district, but we voters are constrained by the weaknesses of the current system. What's left for us to do? Riot in the streets? The majority of voters are ill-informed as it is.

    October 5, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  4. Mr. D

    Lets spare us the agony of political BS during the election process. Silence is golden. Too much has already been said by too many. Does it really matter what is said during elections?

    October 5, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
  5. Herman Portland OR

    Yes Jack,
    The reason is not that the candidates may say someting that would incriminate them but that the media is so bias and will fry them if given the chance. I sure would like it if they stuck to the basic principals and important issues, intead of bashing on their oponents past. We the people need to be represented by who is out for our best interest. Not a tid bit of bad publicity. Democrats are avoiding the public but can't seem to find out anyhting to run on except passing unpopular bills.

    October 5, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  6. Phil In Massachusetts

    Better to make a mistake and apoligize. Not campaigning and depending on Kennedy blessings; didn't cut it up here in Massachusetts. We have Scott now; a Republican! Poor Ted had to roll over on that one.

    October 5, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
  7. steve in fl

    You bet. God forbid they accidently speak the truth instead of the regurgitaing campaign talking points. I say once you're nominated, you should go into seclusion and put a political avatar out that self-corrects their talking points daily based on the latest polls. Once elected then you go to Washington and start slinging the "juice".

    October 5, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  8. Jane (Minnesota)

    I don't think so – even though some of the press acts more like the National Enquirer these days. I think the voters are getting tired of not knowing what a candidate stands for. I personally wouldn't ever vote for a candidate that is hiding from the press and ducking questions; I would wonder what the candidate is afraid I might learn. It is a chicken or egg issue; the more the candidate refuses to talk, the more likely the press is to be persistent.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    It doesn't usually make much difference. They rarely say anything of material significance on the campaign trail, anyway. It is all just the usual BS rhetoric that politicians dole out in every campaign.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  10. pat in michigan

    As far as I am concerned if my candidate is M.I.A. before the election when I can ask questions, then my vote for them will also be M.I.A. on election day.
    He is asking for a job.Would I be hired if I didn't show up for an interview.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  11. Ralph

    Jack, more like the old saying: "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. "
    Ralph – Corpus Christi, Texas

    October 5, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  12. Arlene, Illinois

    I'm so tired of getting those campaign phone calls before the
    elections that only trash the other guy or girl,
    I want to box on the ballot to say candidate # 1 Or #2 or
    Non of the above.
    Am I the only person in America who is sick of dirty politics?
    You have to be a born again liar to run for office these days.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  13. Loren

    It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. The same holds true for explaining your platform to your constituents. If you can't explain your own platform, then you have no business holding elective office.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  14. Denny from Tacoma

    Who gets the money not used in a campaign? If the candidate does, then the more left over the better, if they are not sure that they will win.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  15. Doris Lauter

    That tells me that they aren't sure of themselves or their agend to intelligently relay that information to the media, so they are cowards. Any politian who won't answer questions, or beats around the bush and changes the subject like Palin is not ready for the office.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  16. frankie

    We are being drowned in campaign ads that say nothing, it's not the American way for the candidates to also say nothing. Word to Christine O'Donnell: you are not me.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  17. Gadisa

    They are not lying, they are just playing different charector!!!
    If they stay true to themselves and not try to rehearse a movie charector, to look and sound what they are not, they will not make mistakes wheather it be on a trial or on a trian.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  18. Carol Auburndale, Fl

    I want them all out campaigning so the people can see what a bunch of nut cases they are. I love to watch Christine O'Donnell in Delaware and Rand Paul in Kentucky , and Sharon Angle in Nevada put their foots in their mouths. If people elect these nuts, then they deserve whatever they get and God have mercy on the rest of us. Didn't they learn anything from electing George W Bush?? That turned out real good, didn't it??

    October 5, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  19. jim hosea

    Why not just tell the truth then there is no fear?

    October 5, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
  20. TSO-Wenatchee, WA

    "Is it better for a candidate to stay off the campaign trail or risk making a mistake?"

    With these kinds of candidates it shows lack of accountability, leadership and confidence this country so desperately needs. If these people can't answer or avoid simple questions, what's going to happen when they're voted into public office? When we're promoting someone who can't complete a public service term or stand behind a candidate who wants to cut the federal budget in half, even though he/she can't explain what program/s they want to cut, where does that leave us as voters? It's time to "buck up", face the music, admit your mistakes...and if you can't hack the program, then get out.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
  21. Rhonda in NC

    Jack, I know they all make mistakes but at least they could look us constituents in the eye from time to time. If they will not make an effort to get out on the campaign trail to gain my vote then I will not make an effort to go vote for them. Politics may be modern but you must still ask for the vote!

    October 5, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
  22. Gerry

    Get them on the campaign trail as this exposure really helps the voters determine where the candidate stands. Too ,you can always expect some revealing tidbits as most candidates suffer from "Hoof and Mouth"desease and you get a better insight if your going to get a political lackey or constituent representation. Candidates need as much interaction with the voters as the potential voters can squeeze out of them.

    Ash Fork, Az

    October 5, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  23. Simon, FL

    Too late for the Democrat incumbants. They've already made their mistakes. That's why they're being voted out.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  24. Kim S. Dodge City, Ks.

    In the twisted logic of the political animal this makes perfect sense, and it doesn't change the quality of information we get about the candidates. After decades of blatant lies, cover-ups, scandals and corruption, maybe it is better that they keep out of sight.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  25. diridi

    jack, it is not staying off or risking....it is showing that they have ethics, and principles. Unfortunately America lacks, lacks education itself. GOP thugs will mess and shall mess this nation just like Reagan, and Bush-2....they are idiots. I think, Obama is doing just excellent. If I were the president, I would do the same.....he pulled out of Iraq, and will pull out of Afganistan. He is investing on infrastructure, Taxes, and Education apart form Health Care, and Energy efficiency. Show me single president having guts in 200 years. Because he is black, people cry???? Writer is not a black...listen. Pres. Obama is smart, and doing the nation's dire need. God bless the nation, the USA! Writer is a very highly educated, jack.....

    October 5, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  26. MNResident

    The old saying applies: "It's beter to shut your mouth and let people think you are a fool than open your mouth and leave no doubt". Politicians are just cutting their losses at this point.....

    October 5, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  27. David in Indiana

    As they say, if you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. With virtually a cell phone on every person, ego-driven candidates have reason to lay low. Anyways, everybody says/does something they regret.

    Name recognition is the key. I think it is possible to win an election without TV or radio – even the internet. But that is alot of campaign signs.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
  28. George


    If they say they are qualified to be a leader, then they need to act like one. That means debate their opponent, talk to media, and stick to the issues that voters want. Candidates that remain quiet are then characterized by the media and pundits. Therefore the voters are going to believe the media rather than the candidate.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
  29. Steve Hart

    Is it any surprise that this is the case? Ever since George Allen was basically crucified in the press for using an obscure racial epithet to describe a mole sent by his opponent to follow him around in order to capture just such a gaffe, politicians have measured every word they speak VERY carefully. What is refreshing is some candidates like Carl Paladino come out saying what the average voter is really thinking without concern for how it is going to play in the press, and the voters are eating it up.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
  30. Carla

    Jack, this is sort of a different take on the old anti-war poster: What if they gave an election and nobody came? The candidates stay off the trail because they're afraid they'll make a mistake. We stay away from the polls because we're afraid we'll make one.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
  31. Geri

    By staying off the campaign trail, it says the candidates lack courage in the convictions. Makes one wonder what kind of courage or convictions they would have if they were elected. Probably no courage and no convictions either.

    Geri, Mead, OK

    October 5, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  32. ken, atlantic city nj

    Better to have a non-incumbent make every mistake in the book than continue to vote for the same old corporate dems and pubs. Other than giving out a few handouts to the unemployed and small business the dems and pubs are all for wall street, banksters, corporate fat cats, defense contractors, and themselves. Congress needs a wake up call from main street. A vote for a dem or pub incumbent just means more of the same.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  33. Mario (Phoenix, AZ)

    In this political environment where idiocy is king, it's better to read the news than make the news! God help us...

    October 5, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
  34. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Hey Jack, this is another appalling example of why we should not vote for someone who is hiding from the truth and afraid to answer a simple question. If they spoke honestly from the heart it wouldn't matter who was recording what they said but I realize it takes real courage to stand up and accept responsibility for their actions. Hope all of those that duck these things lose, and especially people like Rick Perry.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  35. two the rebel

    If a canidate stays off the campaign trail that makes it seems that they have something to hide. I cant see how anyone could vote for a name! THAT SOUNDS LIKE A TEABAGGER!

    October 5, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  36. Craig in Houston

    If they stay of the campaign trail to avoid risking a mistake, then they don't have the fortitude to do the job. This accounts for a large portion of the Dems who don't have the guts to campaign on what Obama and the legislature have accomplished. None of them deserve to come back if they can't stand by their own actions. The problem is, the right is full of arrogant idiots who want to go back to the way they were doing things under Bush. So, our choice is clear. Either we elect political cowards, or arrogant idiots......or worse yet, the lunatic tea-baggers. Some choice we have, right?

    October 5, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  37. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    Those who can't speak in public without saying they are going to get rid of Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, and Medicare need to hide until after the votes are counted. The Democrats on the other hand, need to be talking to every man and his dog.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
  38. Bizz Quarryville Pennsylvania

    It's the best strategy for people who have something to hide or know very little about the office they are running for. But it is bad for the country. In years past you could never get elected by avoiding the news media. Some candidates today can have their cake and eat it too. If you belong to the tea party or the conservative right. You can go on Fox news where your interview is turned into a political commercial. If candidates like the ones you mentioned get elected, then we only have ourselves to blame for our country's problems.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  39. Ray E. (Georgia)

    I suspect most people already know who they are going to vote for or who they are not going to vote for so it doesn't make a lot of difference.
    Most people will not see the Canidiate anyway.

    Personally this year I am voting for George Washington and my wife is voting for Abraham Lincoln. What! They're not on the Ballot? Dang!

    October 5, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  40. Phil, Jersey

    These are the "Sarah Palin" candidates. Don't do interviews or your dumbness–shallowness will show. What is America comming to when our representatives don't present themselves.

    This does nothing but say they are hiding something, and its an obligation for the voter to know who they are voting for and what they are hiding.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  41. Jerry Johns Creek, GA

    The manner in which candidates are treated by the media, it is better for them to stay close to home.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  42. Peg from N.Y.

    If you are a real candidate, then suck it up, get out there and risk it!

    October 5, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  43. dennis in minneapolis minnesota

    If they aren't working at writing new policies, and not telling us about new policies they have planned, why would I vote for these slackers?

    October 5, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  44. Jerry Johns Creek, GA

    The manner in which candidates are treated by the media, it is better for them to remain silent. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, "It is better to remain silent and be thought of as a fool then to open ones mouth and remove all doubt."

    October 5, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  45. Alex in Gig Harbor, WA

    I want open democracy and will never vote for a candidate who hides from the public and the press. Many candidates who are hiding are not afraid of the occasional gaffe but that their extreme views will become known beyond the base who won them the nomination before the general election.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  46. Terry in Chandler, AZ

    Actually I hink it would be best if they were not only off the campaign trail but off the ballot as well. In regard to the question, they should have as much public exposure as possible. We need the entainment. Some of these people are better than Leno or Letterman.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  47. Brian, Baton Rouge

    It's better for the candidate to hide and avoid gaffes.

    It's worse for the voters, because they'll have less information about the candidates, and will end up having to buy a pig in a poke.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  48. dennis in minneapolis minnesota

    As a politician you don't have the option of just laying low so you don't make a mistake. They have to be at work. This is not a vacation! Get to work, or QUIT!

    October 5, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  49. Khan Alim

    Yes, for some of them. We people should look at this very closely if we want to change Washington. Unfortunately sometimes this tactic works for politician in this highly polarized environment.

    Khan Alim
    Sacramento, California.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  50. Arnold MI

    It is better for most of them to hide since they are better at acting than they are at governing and a picture is worth a 1000 words.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  51. Lia, Bradenton

    With this group, the damage has already been done, but they ARE still good for some hearty chuckles. SNL must have enough material to liven up their skits through New Years!

    October 5, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  52. Tina Tx

    It tells me that there is something they are hiding and I will not vote for them. I do not buy the story that they had previous engagements, yea right. You did not want to answer the questions don't run for an office. Put on your big boy/girl panties.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  53. Al

    Wouldn't you rather vote for a leader than decide that a hider was the lesser of two evils? To be respected you have to go on the campaign trail and tell people what you plan to do and how you plan to work with them to make things better.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  54. Lori - PA


    How can I make an informed decision if a candidate stays off the campaign trail? I use what the media reports to make a final decision on who gets my vote. If a candidate wants my vote, they need to make themselves accessible to the media.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  55. thom richer

    Jack, if a person is a viable candidate for public office and may possibly elected to represent the people of America, they should at least be capable of an intelligent campaign. If unable to face the people and intelligently answer their questions and concerns without making a fool of herself or himself, then they most certainly do not have what it takes to be a candidate let alone take office. This should be the first clue voters should look for when deciding who to back.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    October 5, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  56. Arne from Maryland

    It's a sad commentary when voters will let candidates take the low road to an office. It's not the candidate that's at fault but the voter. If there is to be a "gotcha" moment it should be before an election otherwise watch out. I'm glad for the "gotcha" moments that occurred during the national election in 2008 because it helped this independent make what I feel was the best choice.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  57. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Jack, I haven't noticed or heard any of the candidates that seemed smart enought to keep from making mistakes. We are truly blessed with a group this year that hands down will be know as the dumbest bunch of political wantabees that has ever graced the ballot box.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  58. Dennis north Carolina

    The only time you hide or as you say stay of the trail is if you have a past you do not want to answer questions about those subjects or if you can not handle the public. in either case. you should not run for office.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  59. Paula in Albuquerque

    Staying off the campaign-trail means that candidates might make fewer mistakes. However, it's a clear indicator that some candidates are outright cowards. It also means that voters will be "buying pigs, in pokes"! But, public appearances, or not, that's what we've all been doing, for years, anyway, isn't it??

    October 5, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  60. Pete from Georgia

    I guess this confirms that politics is in fact a game of "hide and seek".
    Politicians will now HIDE, and then SEEK your vote, based purely on a few
    orchestrated, flimsy, deceitful TV ads.
    Does any of this honestly surprise anyone ???

    October 5, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
  61. John - Texas

    It is really irrelevant. the campaign should be about issues. Since the campaigns pertain only to politics and getting elected we vote for someone based on what party they are in with no respect for the country. It really doesn't matter since the policies so destructive to America are embraced by both Democrats and Republicans. Issues of no relevance are debated heatedly but never anything of any consequence.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  62. Jerry Driskell

    Absolutely ! Don't say {anything} until after you're elected; then you can join the rest of the D.C. crowd and say all the stupid things you want.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  63. Wm in TX

    Sorry, it make no difference. The populace is going to elect the nay Sayers who will continue the destruction of the United States. When a child, I was confused when told the life time of a democracy was about 200 years. Here it is happening in my country in front of my eyes. So, too bad but we are gone.
    What a time to have lived on the planet.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  64. joe dibenedetto

    If the electorate didn't crucify candidates every time they made a gaffe,maybe they would really say what's on their minds.We blame politicians with being combative and negative,but aren't too many of us the same.

    Joe Dibenedetto-New York

    October 5, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  65. Eve Lemon, Texas

    Certainly it is a safe strategy; most voters can't figure this out, so it makes little sense to ask that question. Eve Lemon of Texas

    October 5, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
  66. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    It's not going to matter for some because the race is already lost.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  67. bud rupert

    If they would just tell the absolute truth they wouldn't have to worry.
    Uh, Of course, they wouldn't get elected by telling the absolute truth would they jack.

    Example: I don' tbelieve there's a god. I think religion is a joke and does more harm then good and believe I can live a good, happy and moral life without either. Now, I told the truth. Could I get elected? I think not.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  68. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    I think this just illustrates how far we have fallen as a nation. We have candidates who are MIA, dodge the issues, focus entirely on negative campaigning vs the merit of any ideas they may have, unable to participate in debates without having all the questions lined out beforehand, and incumbants who are so ashamed of the votes that they have cast on critical policies that they don't even quote their record. Do you think if Jefferson, Franklin or Adams were alive today they would be proud of the "statesmen" we have? Do you think they would have side-stepped debates about critical issues? I think it is sad and pathetic that these people are the best we have to offer. They are a bunch of self-absorbed narcissists whose sole goal is to increase their power and a reap the benefits.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  69. Dan Tabor

    A wise man once said: It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  70. Ed's Kate

    No they should not stay off the campaign trail because they're afraid they'll make a mistake. They are candidates and the public should be able to not only see them but ask questions of them. If they make a mistake that is part of being a human being as well as a political candidate. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. The bottom line should be the ability to be a candidate who handles situations with dignity and resolve (regardless of the problems involved). That is what makes a politician acceptable or not.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
  71. Meg from Troy

    John Boehner, the man who would be Speaker of the House, is my Congressman–and I use that term loosely. He refuses to debate his opponent Justin Coussole and has been a no-show around here. He is definitey keeping out of sight because if the voters in this district did see him debate his opponent they would find out just how clueless he is about everything that's not on a teleprompter or is just two letters like the word "no."

    October 5, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  72. Chuck

    The candidates that do not debate or stay away from the campaign trail, do not want voters to know what they really stand for. They hope uniformed voters will vote party line. It has become an easy job for the just say "NO"

    October 5, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  73. john ........ marlton, nj

    If a candidate worries about the risk of making a mistake ...they don't deserve to be elected... The only real mistake a candidiate can make is to impersonate a leader .... that's why they get called out when they screw up ....

    October 5, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  74. Craig Smith

    If we have a candidate that cant communicate, who or what does it help? We are truly the laughing stock of the civilized (i use that word with caution) world.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  75. Mari, Utah

    Jack, candidates need to get their message out; they need to articulate their solutions and ideas. O'Donnell is incapable of either. She is certifiable. Here's a woman who filled for bankruptcy, who lied about which university she attended, who believes that the world is 6,000 years old; that scientists have created mice with human brains..... etc. Her lunatic statements just keep coming.

    Is Christine O'Donnell the best candidate the GOP/TeaParty has to offer?

    October 5, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  76. Annie, Atlanta

    Where do these clowns get off thinking they don’t have to speak to us? This hide and seek game Palin got a free pass on is a slap in the face to all Americans. An important lesson: When candidates run and hide, it’s because they’re afraid we’ll discover they’re actually idiots.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  77. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, they are at risk regardless of the decision. If they can't get their message out, they lose. If they make a mistake, they lose! If they allow their opponent to run the race with their unchallenged rhetoric, they lose! The answer is, you get out there, deliver your message, trash the opponent's record/message, and take your chances. The american voter respects a fighter, who will face risk, and they will accept a gaffe or two, if you can convince them you will work their issues!

    October 5, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  78. Nancy, Tennessee

    Some of the candidates may feel like they can hide until the election and keep their feet out of their mouths. Christine O'Donnell doesn't have the luxury of hiding now. She needs to come out and tell people what she believes in now instead of being portrayed by the clips from Bill Maher's show. By staying quiet now she is letting the silly blurbs from a comedian's show define her candidacy.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  79. Tony from Southport

    All of us, as human beings, have made mistakes in our lives. Some minor and some major. In spite of those mistakes, most of us have principles that guide us through life.

    In the political arena, each side uses the mistakes of their opponents to increase their chances of victory. It's up to the voters to decide if those mistakes are major or minor. It's up to the voters to put aside the minor mistakes of candidates and look at the big picture. Does THIS candidate believe what I believe in, or is THAT candidate more in line with my vision of the United States of America.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  80. Matthew Hoffman

    Candidates who hide from the public will receive no votes.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  81. Susan from Idaho

    You can see what being in the public eye did for Mccain. When you have to use a buffoon like Joe the plumber for substance in the race you're in deep trouble.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  82. Osa - FL


    It's the era of information technology where a pedestrian can upload a gaffe via blackberry to the 'world' wide web... With that said, it's time to be straight forward... there is a saying, 'if you have nothing to hide, you speak your mind .' As long as if dosn't revolve along the lines "i dribbled with witchcraft."

    October 5, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  83. Angel Gonzalez

    I think the majority of Americans want to see and hear the candidates live, and in person, in order to make a more educated decision. At the same time, we do want to see any mistakes or "off camera" actions and attitudes that also might sway our opinion. Its better to make a mistake and explain yourself, than to not risk anything and seem disconnected.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  84. Samuel W., FL.

    Campaign – but noone talks about their own records or what their ideas are; they just lash out at each other...no wonder people are looking for a new party.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  85. Kim

    Incumbents should stay in the office and WORK. Obama is MIA to much already. Why does he not stay in Washington and do what he was voted in to do?

    October 5, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  86. Scott Stodden

    In My Opinion Jack I Think It Would Hurt A Candidate To Stay Off The Campaign Trail, If You Know What Your Talking About You Won't Risk Making A Mistake But Im Disturbed By How Every Single Thing A Person Has Done In There Lives Is Held Against Them By The Media Such As Christine O'Donnell So What That She Dabbled In Withcraft That Has Nothing To Do With Her Running For Office Now But When Allegations Like This Come Up Or Just Because Your Not Popular With The Public Doesn't Mean You Should Stay Hidden You Should Be Out Defending Yourself And Getting To Know The Public And The Voters Are Are The Ones That Make The Final Choice!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    October 5, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  87. Greg in Cabot, AR

    Sounds like the candidates only want "transperency" for the other guy.

    Is this what we can expect from them after the election? Dodge the tough questions and only issue prepared statements that have been screened by their staff.

    If they can't stand the heat....stay the hell out of the kitchen. I won't vote for a coward that hides from the public.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  88. Esperanza

    Well Jack only a coward would avoid a debate. I'm from Texas, Rick Perry only shows up to receive money from special interests. He can't run on his record but can runaway from the truth.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  89. deborah calimese

    You must be a republican Jack. Running away in any circumstance is a bad idea and telling these canidates anything else is silly. Is that what we teach our kids to run rather than face the hard questions?
    NO it's a terrible idea/
    Loving that am a DEM

    October 5, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  90. Matthew Hoffman

    Politicians are in the spotlight all the time. If they hide from the media and shun questions from the public its a pretty clear indication of the kind of hidden agenda that will follow if voted in.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  91. Gigi Oregon

    Damned if you do,damned if you don't. There is no way to have a winning election. The American people have gone crazy. Thanks to the media and Internet. And lets give some of that credit to the fundelmentalist Christians.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  92. ~BEVERLY~Mystic,Iowa

    Their already making a serious mistake, byhiding away, & staying off the campaign trail. They're wasting their time & money, if they think that this is the way to get votes, so those Teabags better drop out now.

    By the way, Harry Reid is itching for at least 1 good debate. It's Sharron Angle who is cowering & quaking, & with good reason. She knows that she's in way over her head, & that he'd make mincemeat out of her in a debate, so her strategy now is to avoid ALL interviews, questions & debates, & continue to lie, attack, avoid & distract, so we won't find out how incompetent she is until after the election. She has no ideas, no plan, & she hasn't got a clue what's going on. If she thought for one minute that she was qualified for the job, she would want to prove it to everybody, the way Hillary did, instead of hiding. Their behavior is costing them thousands of votes. Voters know that these people are frightened; we need courageous people in office. Besides, now we're all curious about why they're so secretive. Exactly WHAT are they trying to hide. As far as we know, there's no reason to vote for the cowards. Only after repeated interviews on every national TV & radio news program & in every major newspaper, guest appearances on all late night talk shows, The Daily Show & a minimum of 3 live, televised debates, will we find out they are worthy of our votes.

    After 8 years of Dubya, we're not foolish enough to vote for anybody we don't even know! "Fool me once"... oh, I can never remember how that thing goes – better ask Dubya.

    How about "If you can't stand any heat, why the hell are you running for office?" 

    October 5, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  93. corymac

    Jack, in this era of the cell-phone camera, Youtube, media-sensationalism, and the 24-hour news cycle, the ONLY way to be a successful politician is to be seen and heard as little as possible. Unless, of course, you are Barack Obama. The media SWOONS when that guy shows up.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  94. katiec Pekin, IL

    Sure opponents hold responsibility but the biggest blame goes to the media. They sensationalize every tidbit, headline it never checking whether true or fact, and print negativity about the candidates, especially the Democrats. No one gets fair and trusted treatment from the media and we are all victims of their bias.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  95. Brian


    Gimme a break. Do these candidates think once they're elected they'll be able to simply avoid making mistakes by not doing anything? Inaction is not a platform.

    Boise, Idaho

    October 5, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  96. Scott Falgoust

    It is better for a candidate to risk making a mistake. The American people understand that candidates are human and may make mistakes on the campaign trail. However, it is those aspiring politicians who are dishonest that Americans must be wary of, and those refusing to campaign are most likely the ones hiding something. One cannot vote FOR a candidate they do not know (one who doesn't campaign), they can merely vote AGAINST that candidates opponent. I prefer voting FOR my leaders not AGAINST aspiring ones who are willing to communicate.
    New Orleans, LA

    October 5, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  97. Mark, Oklahoma City

    The Candidates should post their voting record on-line and let the voters decide if they have represented them or screwed them. Why bother to campaign. Their voting record tells me all I need to know.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  98. AB

    Jack, it is part of the course in politics to risk making mistakes if you decide to run for public office. We are all human. However, if a candidate for public office has a plethora of flaws such as Christine O'Donnell, it is better for her to stay off the campaign trail and not run. This woman has a history of personal and financial problems and should not be running for the US Senate at all!!

    October 5, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  99. AB

    Jack, it is part of the course in politics to risk making mistakes if you decide to run for public office. We are all human. However, if a candidate for public office has a plethora of flaws such as Christine O'Donnell, it is better for her to stay off the campaign trail and not run. This woman has a history of personal and financial problems and should not be running for the US Senate at all.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  100. Helen Krajewski Canada

    If a candidate is running for Public office he should be honest and forthright, so there should not be any mistakes, unless they say one thing to get elected and hav e no intention to follow through. Is this windowdressing policy?

    October 5, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  101. Jim Blevins

    Depends on the candidate. Having said the right key phrases, many candidate got nominated with lots of Tea Party support. Unfortunately, many of these candidate hold views that are not very generally acceptable. The hope is that they can get elected before people find out what they really believe. For these candidates, the less said the better.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    October 5, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  102. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio


    It is an interesting and kind of nefarious field of management but I would say that especially incumbent politicians do not take risks, they manage them. More accurately they hire risk managers among their consultant domain in the form of political "analysts". Then, if the risks are too great, and the writing is on the wall, they go into lobbying !

    October 5, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  103. Emma Rae

    Jack, There's a big difference between making a mistake while speaking in public and accidentally speaking the truth you don't really want to come out. Remember George Allen's "macaca" moment? That was not a mistake. It was George Allen telling everyone exactly who he is. And Sharon Angle's idea to dismantle and "privatize" SS is too dangerous to say outloud or risk the senior vote.

    I refuse to vote for anyone who hides from the media. How can I make an informed decision if they refuse to tell me what they stand for? Hiding behind Facebook and Twitter is something only a liar or a coward does.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  104. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Yes, if they don't have anything to reload with it's better to retreat to the foxhole, stop shooting blanks and don't show up after the battle is won expecting a reward.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  105. KDS Irvine, CA

    Just how in the world does a politician expect to win another term by running from the cameras? It's a "public" office.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  106. Viv from NY

    If the candidate you are considering voting for has to hide to get elected I think you need to get your head examined if you vote for them. If you cant stand the heat get out of the fire. Christine O'Donnell Rand Ppaul two people who have no solutions.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  107. Jim


    In some cases the answer is surely YES. What a sad commentary on our times that some of the newer candidates are so under-qualified that they can't open their mouths without confirming it, and many of the more experienced ones are afraid to give a speech for fear of how some innocuous word or phrase might be spun by the opposition. You couldn't pay me enough to be a politician in this country.

    Reno, Nevada

    October 5, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  108. Steve Kemp from Sacramento, Ca.

    The Tea Party candidates going missing makes sense,
    They were never fully vetted, thus more of their "little secrets" might get out. You know like once having a "date" on a Satanic Altar all the way to admitting that they want to abolish Social Security.

    Dem canditates (Reid, for instance) going missing is probably due to the Tea Partiers as well, at least in a few cases.

    Hey, all they have to do is sit back and watch the Tea Bagger destroy themselves! Why interupt the wackiness?

    October 5, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  109. Allen in Hartwell GA

    I think it depends on whether the candidate is a right-wing wacko or a moderate, mild mannered Democrat. Get the wackos out there in the light and let everyone see them for what they are.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  110. honest John in Vermont

    Strange for politicians to be so camera-shy. But it is pleasant.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  111. Nick

    Does it really matter? Does anyone still believe the voting process in this country actually works? What a joke that we are overseeing elections in third world countries.We try to get the least hostile murderer into power over there, so why would anyone believe that us "middle class morons" actually have a say in the elections here? Politicians are all bought and paid for. Its who has the friends in the highest places.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  112. david doherty

    I don't know if it's better for the candidates, but it sure is better for my heartburn
    Dave from NH.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  113. lynnej in nc

    You know I don't know. If they stay silent you can't tell which one is dumb as a rock and the lesser of two evils.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  114. JackieInDallas

    They are ducking out, and hiding because of the anger of the voting public. It doesn't seem to make any difference WHAT candidate you vote for, or what party - they all lose their minds, their hearts, and their ethics when they are elected. Fewer public statements to them equals fewer ways their electorate can call them liars!

    October 5, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  115. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Dear Jack,

    it is not better for democracy! The right to vote is having the right to having a real conversation with the person who choses to run to represent us and has no right to run away from any of us!

    October 5, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  116. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Dear Jack,

    it is not better for democracy! The right to vote is having the right to having a real conversation with the person who choses to run to represent us and has no right to run away from any of us! In fact, it means these candidates are running away from themselves!

    Take care!

    October 5, 2010 at 5:57 pm |