Scorecard: September 16, 2015 CNN Republican Debate

During tonight’s pivotal second Republican primary debate, two candidates shined above the rest of the field. And no, neither of them is named “Trump.”

In fact, tonight’s debate might mark the end of Trump’s reign at the top of the field. His inexperience stood in marked contrast to his more experienced opponents, and his usual bullying routine didn’t work for him as it has in the past.

As always, I did my best to score this on debate points as a nonpartisan observer.

Donald Trump iStockPhoto

Should More Executives Communicate Like Donald Trump?

Donald Trump’s blunt communications style has helped catapult him to the top of the Republican presidential polls.

Millions of Americans appreciate his unrehearsed and direct responses, which stand in marked contrast to the carefully poll-tested statements uttered by overly cautious candidates. In an age in which too many candidates have seemingly kept their true selves hidden from public view, Trump can seem like a refreshing blast of fresh air.

Given Trump’s success, several people have asked me whether business leaders should model his approach. The answer isn’t as clear-cut as one of Trump’s bluster-filled tirades.

Hillary Clinton Email Press Conference August 2015

August 2015: The Worst Video Media Disaster

For months, Hillary Clinton has been dealing with a crisis regarding her use of a personal server and email account to send and receive work-related emails while Secretary of State.

Whether you believe this crisis is justified by the facts or the result of an unfair partisan attack, she should have been able to answer a direct question during a recent press conference (“Did you wipe the server?”) directly. Instead, she offered a glib sarcasm, feigned ignorance, and shrugged her shoulders.

It was a performance that led to negative press, reduced her poll numbers, and emboldened her opponents.


July 2015: The Worst Video Media Disaster

Donald Trump’s knack for getting media attention has catapulted him to the top of the Republican polls.

But whether you love him or loathe him, his dismissive comments about Senator John McCain being captured as a POW during the Vietnam War were awful and deserving of this month’s worst video media disaster recognition.

Of course, this post is probably beside the point. I can’t shake the feeling that Trump will be the first person in the history of the “worst video media disaster” series who relishes—and is somehow strengthened by—earning the title.


Lindsey Graham’s Masterful Response To Donald Trump

(July 23, 2015) Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of 16 Republican presidential candidates, recently called GOP rival and current frontrunner Donald Trump a “jackass” for recent comments he made on the campaign trail.

On Tuesday, Trump went nuclear by announcing Graham’s cell phone number on national television.

Graham’s unexpected response made headlines — and contains a lesson I wish more politicians would keep in mind.


Was Hillary Clinton’s Email Press Conference Effective?

Hillary Clinton faced reporters for 20 minutes this afternoon to answer questions about the personal email account she used while serving as Secretary of State.

Secretary Clinton repeatedly came back to the same talking points: She had operated within the rules of the State Department and opted to use a personal account (and her own server)


Is “Blame The Media” A Good PR Strategy?

This post was written by Christina Mozaffari, vice president of Phillips Media Relations and a former NBC News producer. 

I’ve always bristled at the “blame the media” public relations strategy.

Plenty of politicians and public figures have used the strategy, sometimes with great success (here’s President Obama, Bill Cosby, and Chris Christie). It’s also probably fair


Every Male Candidate Should Watch This Media Interview

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), a possible 2016 presidential candidate, gave an interview to CNBC yesterday that may eliminate his chances of winning the Republican nomination before his campaign even gets under way. 

Much of the media coverage about the interview focused on Paul’s dangerous insistence that vaccines should remain voluntary because of “freedom.” But another part

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