Election Central 2008

Official Campaign Websites

Democratic Candidates
For President

Hillary Clinton

Barack Obama
John Edwards
Bill Richardson
Joe Biden
Chris Dodd
Mike Gravel
Dennis Kucinich

Republican Candidates
For President

Rudy Giuliani
Sam Brownback
(Out of the race)
Mike Huckabee
Duncan Hunter
John McCain
Mitt Romney
Tommy Thompson
(Out of the race)
Ron Paul
Tom Tancredo
Fred Thompson 
(Requires account)


Christopher Walken
(No appropriate website has yet to emerge)


Election Discussion or Essay Questions

6. What is more important in a candidate: charisma or experience? Why?

I believe that it is more important for a candidate to have experience than to have charisma. Although it may be easier for a charismatic candidate to be elected - in theory, they could draw more people to them and create a large group who would be willing to vote for them - they may lack the ability to follow up on their words. An experienced candidate has a past on display for the public; they can see and decide for themselves whether or not they believe that he or she will follow through. A charismatic candidate may not have a past or a track record that the public can view, and because of this it may be easier for a charismatic candidate to dupe people for their votes instead of an experienced candidate.
With an experienced candidate, people can guess where they stand. With a charismatic one, they have to be willing to take a bigger risk. Although it make pay off, it also has the potential to backfire - perhaps, the argument can be made - even more so than if an experienced candidate failed to follow through.
An experienced candidate also has an idea of what they're getting into because they've experienced it, or something like it, before. If a charismatic candidate is elected they may flounder, even if they have good intentions, because they're aren't prepared to deal with their new responsibilities.
- Nicole Brown

When selecting a candidate to support I believe that both are impressive qualities to have but experience is the more important one. A candidate may be very charismatic and persuade the public to support him/her, but that charisma will not necessarily make the choices the majority of citizens would want. A candidate with a lot of charisma can also be a very skillful liar, wooing more followers by their entrancing speech, with no real conviction or meaning behind it. Experience in a candidate is something you can rely on, and is handy in looking back at the candidates past to review previous decisions they have made. During election time they may say they are on one side of an issue but their choices and speeches in the past can prove their lack of innocence and rightfully change a persons vote. This is not something a voter can do to a candidate with no experience. Experience is crucial for a job like the President of the United States, and it is much more comforting to know the winner has been involved in politics before running our entire nation. 

Sabrina Christian
period 2 APGI

I believe that experience is the more important virtue in a presidential candidate. I think this because I would rather have an experienced and unappealing president than a charismatic idiot. I have concluded this from of researching past presidents. I have found that the experienced presidents did the most good for this country even though people did not like them because they were not charismatic. What really turned me off of stupid charismatic people would be Bill Clinton. He seriously injured the image of the United States but people still liked him and he got reelected. This told me about how people are deceived by charismatic people and will make the wrong decisions for this country just because a candidate is charismatic.

N Kurtz

I believe experience is more important. The person could be a really funny and an all-around nice guy/girl but they could lack the proper experience needed and be a horrible choice for America. However, they could have much more experience fill the position of an appropriate leader. I just feel that knowing what is going on around you and fixing the nation to match those needs is more important. 
~Nate H~

I think that experience is more important for a candidate to have because when the president is faced with any major decision such as “should the country go to war?” Etc. It would be important for the president to actually know what other presidents have done and know what would be best for the people or his or her country, then just giving a good speech that makes the people assume the president is doing the right thing when maybe he or she is not making the best decision possible.

            A president could win elections because they are an excellent speaker, and when faced with a small problem they might know what is right or to exaggerate, make a lucky guess, but when it comes down to a major decision we might see this charismatic president searching for the right answer in other people then themselves and covering up with a lovely speech to reassure the people. This is not what I want in a president and I’m sure many others would agree with me.

Rachel F.

The most important thing in a candidate is experience. Our country is in the middle of two wars and in a great deal of debt. The next President of the United States needs to have a ton of experience in our government. Charisma is an important factor in a candidate, but public speakers can always hire coaches to train and improve their public appearance and speeches. America needs a president that can come in and turn our country around. We need a president that has experience in government so we will be able to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. When it comes down to voting it should depend on how well they present themselves, it should depend on if they have the correct amount of experience to get the job done.

Natalie  B.

Assessing a good political candidate, equilibrium between charisma and experience is paramount. No one characteristic is more important than the other because both contribute to an individual’s ability to not only capture voters’ attention, but also to earn their trust and respect as well. It’s important for a candidate to have sufficient experience in order to establish a good foundation in his reputation; experience drives a candidate to convey his thoughts and opinions towards voters on specific issues. Simultaneously, an effective candidate needs an equal amount of charisma to deliver those positions on issues to persuade voters to agree with him or her. In order for voters to be persuaded by a candidate’s voice, the candidate needs to communicate articulately. Therefore, a balance between the two, charisma and experience, is equally important t o a candidate’s characteristics.

Jenn C.

What is more important in a candidate: charisma or experience? Why?

I would think that charisma is more important in a candidate because when I listen to a candidate's speech, it sounds so much more professional to talk with charisma than it is as if you have more experience. Experience is needed but I believe no matter how much experience you have, the thing that matters the most is if you relay that information to a crowd poorly, it really can change someone's opinion on that candidate. And experience is where you have lived through something in your life and have learned from that event. But if you have good charisma, you wouldn't have to experience something to know what the right decision is.

Brielle B.

It is by far more important for a candidate to be more experienced, rather than charismatic. Although a charismatic candidate is able to win over more voters, they lack the experience to run a country. A charismatic candidate is most likely to make promises they can not keep, because they don't know what they can make happen and what they can't. An experienced candidate knows more of the rules and what is acceptable and what is not. They will know what kinds of things upset the majority of the people and what won't. they will be able to handle and fix things better in a time of crisis. An experienced candidate will be able to make decisions based off of things they, themselves, have been through.
Alyssa M.


Email your answers. They will be posted pending editorial review. Only well-stated, appropriate responses will be considered.


When running for the White House a candidate has to have a few things nailed down. I believe that charisma and experience need to go hand in hand in order for them to grantee a win. With a candidate who’s been in the system for a while and knows the workings of the United States government inside and out, you can expect them to know what their doing. You won’t have the president making a fool of him/her self. But in order to get elected, they will need that extra spark. Charisma can help a candidate step out from the pack and bring attention to new issues and persuade the voters to a different form of thinking. With a personality unlike their opponent, they would have the ability to draw in a good size crowd in order to spread their ideas out to a larger population. Having energy, passion and knowledge for what they’re trying to accomplish for the American population is what the voters want to see.   
-Mel L.
I think that experience is more important than charisma in a presidential candidate. It is better for a person to be good at what they do rather than be really likeable. Charisma is important, the candidate shouldn't be a really boring person but popularity can be lost if the person can't do what they said they would do before they were elected.

Jake N.

A presidential candidate must have many qualities before being elected for president. Of those qualities, charisma and experience are big factors in whether the candidate gets votes or not. A candidate with charisma has a chance at convincing people to vote for them but it’s the candidates that have experience in politics and running large groups that should be elected. A candidate without experience would not be a good choice for president because running the country is a big job and if someone tried to take on that responsibility that didn’t know what they were doing, they would get taken advantage of and they would be unpopular with the majority no matter how charismatic they were. Any one with charisma can convince people to like them but those are not the kind of people we want running our country. They must know how to handle different issues in ways that others can support and they must know how to deal with conflicts and to accomplish these tasks, they must have experience.

Aleisha W.

In my opinion experience is the most important attribute in a candidate. If the candidate has no experience in leading or any part of the government then they have no chance at successfully leading our country. we need someone who knows how to lead our country and know what to do in case of an emergency, such as terrorist attacks. However they should have a certain amount of charisma. If a candidate isn't charismatic at all they have no shot at winning over the public and getting elected.
In our culture today it is hard to say what people will look for. there are a lot of shallow people who may vote only based on charisma and what the candidate looks like. Many may overlook things such as experience because of other attributes the person has. an ideal candidate will have both charisma and experience.

Josh F.

Experience is more important in a candidate, to me, because it is our country that is at stake, charisma is just not enough when making decisions that affect out country.


Santiago O.

What is more important in a candidate: charisma or experience? Why?

Having charisma is better than experience. When people know a lot about a subject it doesn't mean that they will go out to change things for the good or make things better after they're president. When a candidate is expressing that they WILL make changes or they WILL do something to make our country better, it makes people hold the candidate to what they say. It makes it so that they will have to go and make those changes after they say they will. Not knowing everything is not bad because the president can learn and know new things.


It is more important that a candidate have experience than charisma. Although charisma helps, the candidate most equipped and able to run America will not be one who is simply young and charming. He or she will need to have a broad range of experience--both in life and in education. Personality and the ability to look like you know what you are doing will not be able to make up for actually knowing. Many candidates have one or the other--they are either young, attractive, interesting, intelligent... Or instead experienced and capable but lacking that charm that others have. The candidate that has both charisma and experience will be the most likely to get the vote--he or she may not be the best leader, but whoever it is will have both the experience that some recognize as the most important part and the charisma that the rest are willing to follow.
Sarah R.
Experience is a much more important in a candidate than charisma, our country needs a candidate with experience to handle the current issues we are facing. Charisma is a great attribute to have and can definitely help a candidate win people over but it is not the people of America need. Also to I feel that charismatic people can be deceiving and their ability to charm people and talk impressively is not always a good thing. They may promise one thing before the election but after there is no sure bet they will actually follow through with it. Right now we need a candidate we can trust and rely on to help lead our country, and experience can help our future president do that and charisma cannot.

-Cassidy N.

Experience is by far more important than charisma. A candidate should be elected because he is going to do a good job and has a history of doing a good job. Charisma is somewhat important to lead people because you have to be someone other people will follow but this is irrelevant when comparing it to a quality like experience. Experience creates knowledge which creates wisdom which is necessary for any political career. Just because someone is charismatic doesn’t mean they are the right person for the job. If a person is telling you a lie but the way it is told sounds nice and pretty, does it make it any less a lie?

Mackenzie C.

I believe that a presidential candidate must have many different qualities to be elected president, both charisma and experience are very important factors/ qualities that a president should express. As a young voter i believe that is important for a candidate to be charismatic to keep the attention during a speech, making it easier to listen and understand. Charisma allows an audience to in a way relate to the candidate, being able to understand and feel comfortable with the candidate and what they are discussing. Experience is also just as important in a president, it is something that is expected. A president must be able to know how the government works, and know what they are doing to provide for the United States. Voters are looking for both charisma to relate, and also experience to feel comforted by the knowledge.
Jessica H.






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