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“The Overriding Campaign Issue: "It’s Leadership, Stupid!”

New York, March 3, 2004 – Now that the Super Tuesday results have made it an undisputed Bush/Kerry presidential campaign, what is the overriding campaign issue? It’s Leadership, Stupid!, says leadership expert Brent Filson, echoing the now-famous sign from a former successful presidential campaigner.

Twelve years ago, Bill Clinton hung a sign in his presidential campaign headquarters, "It’s the economy, stupid!" Then, says Filson, he went on to trounce the first President Bush whose campaign had focused primarily on Clinton’s reputed indecisiveness, foreign affairs inexperience, dangerous liaisons and supposed draft dodging – all sub-issues when compared against the slumping economy.
By focusing on the wrong issues, Bush #1 was beaten decisively, says Filson, founder and president of The Filson Group, Inc., a corporate leadership consultancy.
Since then, "It’s (you pick the issue), stupid!" has been a popular election catch-phrase describing unwitting candidates with any kind of misapplied focus, says Filson says.
In the 2004 campaign, we may be headed for another sorry case of misapplied focus, says Filson, who marks his 20th anniversary working with thousands of business leaders worldwide.
"I submit that the defining issue is : ‘It’s leadership, stupid!, Filson says. "Sure, the issues that the pundits are touting — jobs, the Iraqi war, national security — are important. But the overriding issue, one that will be on the minds and hearts of swing voters come November is, "Who can best lead the country in these turbulent times?"

If the campaign rhetoric of the past few weeks is any indication, both candidates might be as clueless to the real issues, just as the first George Bush was in 1992, Filson says.

The Filson Leadership Group, Inc.

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