Alix Spiegel of NPR explains an important skill for politicians: the pivot. As debate consultant Brett O'Donnell explains it, it is the ability to take a question "that might be on a specific subject, and moving to answer it on your own terms."
In this case, the moderator, Bob Schieffer of CBS News, asked President Bush about job loss. What, Schieffer wondered, would Bush say to someone who has lost his job? Bush began by promising to "continue to grow our economy" and then, subtly, changed course. Suddenly, Bush was talking about education, specifically his signature No Child Left Behind legislation. "I went to Washington to solve problems," he explained. "And I saw a problem in the public education system."
In two or three sentences, Bush had moved from a question about lack of jobs to an answer about education and a promise fulfilled. That is the power of the pivot.
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