MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt recently asked Rick Perry if he was “smart enough to be President.” In fairness to Perry, most of his response was intelligent, articulate and insightful. Here’s part of what he said about the challenges of running for President:
“It is a test of an individual’s resolve, it’s a test of an individuals’ philosophy, it’s a test of individual’s life experiences.”
Those are all fine answers.
But buried within his response was this nugget:
“Running for the presidency’s not an IQ test,”
Guess which quote is now running in the headlines on websites all over the world?
Perry committed the classic series of blunders of 1. Using the reporters negative words and premises in an answer. 2. rebutting a negative premise before moving to his own premise. 3. Being defensive. 4. Using words that provide the media a context for reminding everyone of your biggest perceived weakness.
So how should he have answered the question “are you smart enough to be president?”
Perry “Yes, and I think I also have the resolve, experiences and philosophy to be president and (then use the rest of the answers he gave in the interview.”
If he had answered the questions that way, then there would be no way of pulling out a quote to make Perry look stupid and to remind everyone that many voters don’t think Perry is smart enough to be President. Before you blame this on a partisan media, please realize that the media will quote any politician in any party if that politician says something that makes himself look like a fool.
Perry may be smart enough to be President, but he isn’t yet smart when it comes to how he handles himself in front of a reporter.