1) Don’t react to a story in the New Times. No one reads the rag and its credibility has been below the curb level for years. If there is some truth in a New Times piece, take your time to consider how or if it needs further clarification. Generally news stories in New Times get more use in bird cages and packaging crates than they do in leading public discussions.
2) Once you have considered what needs clarifying, do it in writing. Don’t further feed the media beast. Whatever needs clarifying will certainly not be what the media want to talk about the most. The need for clarification needs to be balanced with an understanding that the media really doesn’t care about what you want to clarify, they just want to roll around in whatever sensationalism is tied to the original story.
3) Never, ever have romantic relationships in a campaign or on your job. Romantic relationships are by their very nature, emotional affairs. There is enough drama in any work environment not to add this highly volatile element into the mix. Having said that, if you do have a relationship, never end it during the campaign. If you start one, which is the first mistake, don’t end it (the second mistake) during the campaign. And never, if you are an elected official, ever have a romantic relationship with anyone in the office. There are no secrets…
4) This shouldn’t even need to be said in this social media age, but it seems like men in particular need this drilled into their skull: NEVER TAKE A COMPROMISING PICTURE OF YOURSELF AND POST IT OR EMAIL IT. NEVER… Understand. It is a mistake.
5) Whatever you did wrong, own it. I was proud of Paul Babeu today for the way he ultimately handled the powder keg issue of his sexual orientation. It really isn’t and never should be part of the discussion. Even though he made some mistakes, as outlined above, he bravely confronted the issue today. He may not ultimately be elected Congressman, but I will always admire him for the courage he showed today. I have rarely seen that kind of courage in the 25 years I have been in this business. Up until today, the only three politicians who I have seen “hold onto the bat, and keep swinging” –like the Sheriff did today–were John McCain, Fife Symington and Jan Brewer. I am glad to count them all among my friends. Win or lose in this life, finding people with character is what matters. Today we saw some of that from the Sheriff of Pinal County.