RULE 28 Don’t Get Sidetracked—Use the Ledge

In the 1988 presidential campaign, Vice President George Bush gave his opponent Michael Dukakis a lesson in “staying on message.”

During that campaign, Bush lambasted his opponent’s liberal politics over and over again. Dukakis, the Massachusetts governor, was trying valiantly to position himself as a moderate and attract middle-of-the-road voters. Somehow, though, Bush dominated the news cycles with inventive visuals and startling sound bites that always seemed to incorporate the “L word.” Whether the issue was prison furloughs, the Pledge of Allegiance, or tax policy, Bush always seemed to find a way to redirect the discussion to the subject of his opponent’s liberal bias.

It worked. Bush kept returning ...

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