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Bill George is professor of management practice at Harvard Business School, where he has taught leadership since 2004. He is the author of four best-selling books: 7 Lessons for Leading in[…]

Can we elect a leader who will tell us the truth?

Question: What should be the big issues of the 2008 election?

Bill George: Can we elect a leader who will tell us the truth, and not say one thing and do another? I have a lot of trouble forgiving leaders that blatantly do not tell us the truth; and I think the American public has lost trust in its political leaders because people don't tell the truth. They say what the people want to hear. One day they're pro-choice; the next day they're pro-life. One day they say we're gonna fight terrorism; then they conflate terrorism and a bad leader in another country like Iraq. And they don't tell us the truth, and I think the American . . . Everywhere I give a speech, the question always comes up: Can we have an authentic leader run for president, run for senator, run for the House? There are good people there; but I think we've turned off a lot of good people from getting into public life. And I'm just hopeful that in 2008, that maybe somebody can slip through and tell us the truth, and then govern in such a way that is consistent without selling their soul. I think that's a tragedy that so much of that is going on.

Recorded on: 7/6/07