Obama Remains Calm During First Scandal

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Now that Barack Obama is moving past the Rod Blagojevich scandal, we can make some assessments as to how Team Obama is liking to handle future political scandals and uncomfortable moments. Politico outlines Obama’s five rules of scandal management:

1 – Be transparent, to an extent

2 – Don’t let the news cycle dictate response

3 – No freelancing by staff members

4 – Aides take hits to protect the boss

5 – Shy away from even justified fights

While Obama’s initial response to the Blagojevich scandal was very light on details, his cautious approach ensured he and his top aides had the time to perfect a more comprehensive response. Thus we end up with the Obama team’s five page report clearing themselves of wrongdoing.

Self-absolution never sits well with cynics, but Obama can now claim he took the matter seriously and handled it reasonably.

Obama ran a very tight campaign. The Blagojevich scandal raised the question of whether the president-elect could run a much larger organization with the same calm, in-control leadership style. I thought this scandal coming right out of the gate might trip Obama up. But a few weeks later, he seems to have slid through the media maelstrom without significant damage.