.... They get caught. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford knows that now when he faced reporters earlier this week asking them to re-ask a question they asked him in May. "You asked me a question back in May and you can repeat that question," Mr. Ford told a bunch of journalists earlier this week as reported in The New York Times. He then admitted that he did indeed smoke crack cocaine. Also last week, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R) was accused of plagiarism, denied it and finally this week admitted what happened. (Although to his credit, he also came out with a plan for addressing the situation.) Rolling Stone magazine released their "Top five political excuses of all time" earlier this week and unfortunately we keep hearing these excuses from our elected leaders.
To a political figure there is no worse punishment than a damaged reputation. The longer a person works to cover up something the more damage they will do to their reputation. As a result, here are 5 tips to help politicians out of a sticky situation:
- Don't lie. If you do lie or misrepresent something, speak out of turn or make a mistake, quickly admit it, apologize, work to resolve the issue and move on to the next issue.
- Don't try to cover it up, it will only make things worse.
- Don't react. Re-evaluate the situation and respond quickly but thoughtfully.
- Don't dodge the media. Focus on the facts and process.
- Seek the advice of an attorney and public relations professional before things get out of hand.