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What qualities do you think are most important for a president to have ? Which candidates seem to have these qualities ? Which ones don't ? Why do you think so ? 

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Michael Koren eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There are several qualities a presidential candidate should have. Once I share those qualities, you will be able to decide which candidates do or don’t have those qualities, or who have some of those qualities.

One quality a presidential candidate should have is integrity. Anybody running for the highest elective office in our country must be a person who lives by the highest possible standards. There can be no secrets about something that happened in the past that could damage that person’s reputation.

Another quality is honesty. The candidate must tell the truth about his or her views. The candidate must be able to answer questions directly and with truthful answers. The candidate must be able to admit when a mistake has been made. Being dishonest in any way can ruin that person’s image and credibility.

A third quality is being able to communicate effectively. Some of our most effective presidents were people who mastered the art of communication. Franklin D. Roosevelt was able to assure the American people with his weekly radio addresses. John F. Kennedy was the same way with his televised and broadcast speeches. Being a master communicator can really be an effective characteristic for a leader.

A presidential candidate must be knowledgeable of the issues. Knowing the issues can help the candidate develop policies to deal with them. By knowing the issues, a candidate may be able to avoid unintended consequences of policies created to deal with those issues. Knowing the facts surrounding the issues may help raise the credibility of the candidate. If the people believe the candidate knows the issues well, they will most likely have more respect for the candidate.

A candidate must know when to compromise. Candidates rarely succeed with they refuse to bend on issues. The candidate must be able to reach a compromise with those who see an issue differently than the candidate sees the issue.

A candidate must have empathy and be able to relate to the people of the country. Presidents will deal with situations that cause great sorrow. They must be able to respond with empathy for those who have suffered significant losses. The candidate must also be able to show the people that he or she understands the situations most people face every day. They must be able to relate to people of different backgrounds, of different income levels, and of different religions and races.

A final characteristic is the candidate must be hard working. The job of President is very demanding. The candidate must show that he or she can handle the effort, the time, and the demands needed to successfully fulfil the responsibilities of the job.

Based on these characteristics, who do you think meets most or all of them?

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