So Fred Thompson's in the race and in New Hampshire, at least, in a heap of trouble too.
A lot of voters there are ticked that he skipped a debate there.
I'm sure he'll try to make amends, but it reminds me of something my Irish mom used to tell me: "Never underestimate the power of a slight" — or the simple reality that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Lee Iacocca intrinsically knew that when he had his first big meeting with hundreds of frustrated Chrysler workers. His Vince Lombardi-like pep talk was so inspiring, I'm told, that workers pledged their undying loyalty to lee right there, right on the spot.
Ditto former Johnson & Johnson CEO Jim Burke's crisis baptism by fire with the Tylenol tampering scandal back in the 1980s. Rather than duck the controversy, Burke took the offensive: Recalling capsules, reassuring consumers and ultimately winning over investors.
Not so his counterpart at Union Carbide during the Bhopal gas leak in India in 1984 that claimed thousands of lives. Defensive, prickly and evasive — that CEO… forgettable.
Some wow in the moment. Others lose the moment.
Don't get me wrong: You can still get back a moment.
Who knows that better than Bill Clinton after his disastrously long-winded speech for Michael Dukakis back in 1988?
It's just tougher.
And for Fred Thompson now, maybe a lot tougher.
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Neil Cavuto serves as senior vice president, anchor and managing editor for both FOX News Channel (FNC) and FOX Business Network (FBN). He is anchor of FNC's Your World with Cavuto - the number one rated cable news program for the 4 p.m. timeslot - as well as the FNC Saturday show Cavuto on Business. He also hosts Cavuto on FBN weeknights at 8 p.m. In addition to anchoring daily programs and breaking news specials on FNC and FBN, Cavuto oversees business news content for both networks and FNC's weekend business shows, including Bulls & Bears, Forbes on Fox, and Cashin' In. Click here for more on Neil Cavuto.