Basic Biittner: Candidates are people too

Monday, September 21, 2015

As I watched Hillary Clinton's visit with Jimmy Fallon last week on 'The Tonight Show,' and I discovered something about the potential Presidential candidate that I hadn't previously noticed in her 20+ years in the national limelight, and that is, Hillary has a sense of humor, and can be an engaging interview subject.

In her years as First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State and failed 2008 Presidential nominee, Mrs. Clinton seemed to me to be to be a rather "cold fish," if you will, but in her interview with Fallon last Wednesday night she seemed like someone I might actually like to know (not that that's ever going to happen, of course).

This is not the first time that I've come across Presidential candidates whose public persona during campaigns seemed much more aloof and distant than they appeared to be when they were in the more relaxed setting of a talk show hosted by someone who had a sense of humor.

Two recent Republican candidates, Bob Dole and John McCain, also came across as much less stiff and more personable when they appeared with the likes of Don Imus or Jay Leno. And who can forget Bill Clinton's performance on saxophone on the 'Arsenio Hall Show' back in 1992?

I'm not suggesting that talk show interviews replace the current trend of candidate debates, of course ... or am I?

This is not to say that presidential candidates should never be serious about running for president. I mean, running the country is a pretty responsible job, after all. But by the time someone decides to run for president, they've had a chance to demonstrate their intelligence, business sense or political savvy, and let's face it, a president always has a large group of trusted advisors who probably have more expertise in certain areas than they do, and the bottom line is this - it is Congress which passes and enacts the laws in this country (a scary thought, I know),

I'm just saying that perhaps Presidential candidates should be encouraged to show the public more of their personality. After all, being the nation's #1 public representative is certainly a key function of the job, and we Americans want someone with a likable personality to represent us.