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The Leading Edge – Obama, Clinton ’08

Obama, Clinton ‘08 with Bill as Secretary of State Since I am not running for office, I respectfully exercise my right to change my mind or as I prefer to view it, have my opinion evolve. In a prior blog, “Why I switched to Hillary Clinton?” for which she and I took a fair amount of heat, I suggested that a Clinton, Obama ’08 ticket would be the way to go.

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Obama, Clinton ‘08
with Bill as Secretary of State

Since I am not running for office, I respectfully exercise my right to change my mind or as I prefer to view it, have my opinion evolve. In a prior blog, “Why I switched to Hillary Clinton?” for which she and I took a fair amount of heat, I suggested that a Clinton, Obama ’08 ticket would be the way to go.

I’ve had a change of mind, because I’ve had a change of heart. Being an expert on emotional intelligence (so for those obsessive compulsive personalities who only focus on substance vs. style, please have at me), I’ve come up with something that makes more sense emotionally to me and I think will to others.

Essentially, Hillary Clinton does not “feel” like a CEO or someone that a lot of people would like to listen to for 4-8 years. It’s not her fault that she comes across too much like a primed-to-scold mother with her hands on her hips about to sternly say: “So why did you do that?” In fact I’ve heard that in a private relaxed setting and one on one she is quite warm and authentic (dare I say Al Gore who had the same reputation). However in public upon which the stage a President spends more of their time and where they are judged, she comes off more opinionated and insistent which too easily triggers a defensiveness or feeling that you’ve done something wrong even when you didn’t. It’s like driving past a policeman in a car and feeling like you’ve broken the law when you haven’t.

It’s not just a female thing either. In the minds of most people, Carly Fiorina and Martha Stewart have similar “primed to be strident” public personalities, Meg Whitman does not.

Barack Obama on the other hand comes off as having strong opinions and being passionate which is easier to listen to. Bill Clinton had that quality (which is being eroded into as we sadly see a “darker” side of his personality showing through too frequently).

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In my prior blog I thought Clinton as President, Obama as V.P. was the way to go. Currently, I have reversed that. The reason being that Obama feels more expansive and visionary and will be viewed more like an exuberant CEO and someone who will play better on the world stage both to other countries and to youth around the world (think Tony Blair and now Nicolas Sarkozy in France and Bill Clinton ’92), Hillary Clinton feels more “baby boomer refusing to go gently into that good night,” more focused on the details and pedantic the way you’d expect a COO to be. On the world stage, people would rather listen to a CEO than a COO.

If the best interests of this country could take precedence over ego and politics (which cynics and realists will say is not a “big” if, but an “impossible” if) Obama as President, Clinton as Vice President with Bill as Secretary of State and the “global market” facing presence to the world that continue to find him charming and inspiring would get my vote.

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About the author

Mark Goulston, M.D. is the Co-Fonder of Heartfelt Leadership a global community whose Mission of Daring to Care it dedicated to identifying, celebrating, developing and supporting heartfelt leaders who are as committed to making a difference as they are to making a profit

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