January 24th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Competency test for presidential candidates?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The 2012 presidential campaign will soon go into high gear; but before it does, here's an idea worth considering:
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What if you had to pass a competency test in order to run for president? You know, prove to the voters that you have some sort of a clue.

It might go a long way toward eliminating some of the intellectual lightweights who have tried to pass themselves off as presidential timber in the past.

An evangelical supporter of Mitt Romney is calling on Christian conservatives to consider "a new litmus test" beyond the traditional cultural issues.

Politico got hold of the memo Mark DeMoss sent to 200 pastors, donors and intellectuals on the Christian right.

In it, DeMoss writes that a candidate "should be capable of becoming president, and then competent to be the president." What a concept!

He thinks Romney is the answer - since he can raise the money to mount a campaign against President Obama, is doing well in the polls and has a business background.

DeMoss seems to take a swipe at some of the other contenders. He says a candidate's values alone aren't enough to get his vote: "my pastor shares my values, but I don't want him to be my president."

This could be aimed at Mike Huckabee.

Then there's this: "By the way, 'energizing a crowd' is also not enough; Justin Bieber can do that - but I don't want him to be president either."

Are you listening, Sarah Palin?

Putting aside this guy's support for Romney, a competency test for the next leader of the free world doesn't sound like such a bad idea.

Here’s my question to you: Should presidential candidates have to pass a competency test?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: 2012 Election • United States
January 24th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Tucson shootings affect State of Union address?


FILE PHOTO: The State of the Union address on January 27, 2010. (PHOTO CREDIT: SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In light of the Tucson shootings, it looks like we're in for a very different State of the Union address this year.

The president's annual message to Congress is usually full of partisan theatrics - one half of the room applauds and stands while the other sits on their hands. Last year, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito mouthed the words "Not true" when the president criticized a Supreme Court decision.

Partisan rancor and rudeness were also on full display last year. Remember when a Republican congressman yelled "You lie" in the middle of the President's health care speech?

But it's highly likely we'll see anything like that tomorrow night. The mood is different this time. President Obama and other lawmakers have been talking about changing the tone of the talk in Washington. In a video preview of the speech, the president calls on the nation to "come together" and to "focus on what binds us together as a people."

And not unlike a high school prom, all of Capitol Hill is also aflutter when it comes to the seating arrangements for tomorrow night. Many members of Congress are crossing the aisle - and will sit with a "date" from the other party. Whether if any of this good will remains once the speech ends remains to be seen.

Meanwhile John Avlon writes for the Daily Beast that we may be seeing an end to the era of "hyperpartisan talking points and canned anger." Wouldn't that be nice?

Avlon points to several signs that Americans have had enough, including: Keith Olbermann's departure from MSNBC, Glenn Beck's declining ratings and loss of advertisers at the F-word network, as well as Sarah Palin's plummeting approval ratings.

Here’s my question to you: How will the Tucson shootings affect the State of the Union address?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: President Barack Obama • Tragedy