Is competence more important than honesty in a President?
Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position. (Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by party; black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria.)
Chuck Baldwin, Founder and Minister of the Crossroad Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL, issued the following statement through his Communications Director, Mary Starrett, in an Aug. 11, 2008 email to ProCon.org:
John McCain, US Senator (R-AZ), stated in a May 21, 2007 article titled "Senator McCain Addresses the Oklahoma State Legislature on Government Reform" on his official campaign website:
"Americans who expect their elected representatives to execute the responsibilities of our office with competence and integrity are often disappointed. They are disappointed by our failure to address the big problems facing our country, and make the necessary changes to government to meet those challenges...
If I'm privileged to serve our country as President, I will hold my administration to standards of conduct that will strengthen rather than diminish the people's faith in our integrity." May 21, 2007 John McCain
Ralph Nader, attorney, author, and political activist, issued the following statement through his Communications Director and Policy Writer, Loralynne Krobetzky, in an Oct. 20, 2008 email to ProCon.org:
Barack Obama, US Senator (D-IL), stated at the Oct. 30, 2007 Democratic Debate held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, hosted by the Microsoft/National Broadcasting Company (MSNBC):
"I think what we need right now is honesty with the American people about where we would take the country. That's how I'm trying to run my campaign. That's how I will be as president." Oct. 30, 2007 Barack Obama
(Candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria appear below in black and white and in alphabetical order by party.)
Hillary Clinton, US Senator (D-NY), stated in an Apr. 13, 2007 press release titled "Clinton Outlines Comprehensive 10-Point Government Reform Plan" on her official candidate website:
"In a major policy speech at St. Anselm College today, Hillary Clinton proposed a series of measures to restore Americans' confidence in their government by increasing transparency and cutting waste and corruption.
'This is a plan to enhance accountability and transparency and make government more efficient and effective for taxpayers,' Clinton said. 'To restore competence and end the culture of cronyism. To replace secrecy and mystery with transparency. A plan to make our government work for all Americans again.'" Apr. 13, 2007 Hillary Clinton
John Edwards, former US Senator (D-NC), stated in the Jan. 21, 2008 Democratic Presidential Debate, hosted by the Cable News Network (CNN) and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, held in Myrtle Beach, SC:
"Lord knows, if you don't agree with what we stand for, and you don't believe in us, our character and our ability to lead this country, you should not vote for us, no matter what it means for the general election." Jan. 21, 2008 John Edwards
ProCon.org emailed the Imperato campaign on Feb. 22, 2008 with this question. Mr. Imperato provided a response to this question and 26 others during a recorded 45-minute telephone interview with ProCon.org on Mar. 11, 2008. On Mar. 21, 2008 Mr. Imperato no longer met our eligibility criteria for inclusion on this site, and we stopped transcribing his verbal responses as of that date.
Steve Kubby, a Libertarian candidate and founder of the American Medical Marijuana Association, stated in a Jan. 31, 2008 email to ProCon.org:
"No, it isn't. Without trust, competence is irrelevant. A cat burglar may be competent, but that doesn't mean you want to trust him with the combination to your safe.
In 2000, George W. Bush ran on promises of 'a more humble foreign policy' and 'fiscal responsibility.' I suppose it's possible that he's competent enough to have kept those promises had he chosen to. But he chose not to.
Today we're looking back on the longest sustained period of US military adventurism since Vietnam -- and that adventurism has been fueled by factual claims which range from recklessly negligent to intentionally dishonest.
Today we're looking back on an increase in the US government's debt from $5.6 trillion in fiscal year 2000 to more than $9 trillion today. That debt has been growing at the rate of nearly a billion and a half dollars a DAY since 2006.
Again I say: Does it matter how competent the guy is if you can't trust him? Recent history says no." Jan. 31, 2008 Steve Kubby
Frank McEnulty, an Independent candidate and President of Our Castle Homes, in a Jan. 24, 2008 email to ProCon.org, stated:
"No, they are equally important and must come together. A leader must be both competent and honest in order to properly lead and I do not believe anyone can be an effective leader without both characteristics." Jan. 24, 2008 Frank McEnulty