B²: Clinton vs. Gowdy

Last Friday’s headlines told the same story – in the matchup at the Benghazi hearings, Republicans lost and Hillary won.

Though a possible indictment by the FBI will diminish cries of “victory,” the calm, cool, and collected Hillary Clinton who sat on the other side of Republican finger pointing for 11 hours did a whole lot to bolster her public image and her campaign. Add to her stellar performance Rep. Trey Gowdy’s (SC-04) concession that no new information was learned, and, well, Hillary Clinton had another good week.

True, there was a lot of pressure to prove the committee’s relevance leading up to the hearings. Thanks, in large part, to Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) and his suggestion that one of the committee’s goals may have been to take down Clinton’s campaign for President of the United States. But the nail in the coffin was Gowdy’s interview at the end of the day. When asked if he learned anything new from Clinton’s testimony, he said:

“I’d have to go back and look at the transcript”


Gowdy probably could’ve said ANYTHING else and lessened the blow. But his admittance that 11 hours of testimony highlighted no new information about what happened in Benghazi validated every skeptic of the committee’s existence.

So, what should he have said? And what do you do when you’re asked to comment on a situation that didn’t go as planned?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is the media question Trey Gowdy was asked and the B² (block and bridge) that could’ve set the narrative straight:

Q: “What new information did you learn today?”

B²: “What we learned is that Hillary Clinton still isn’t giving us straight answers, but we were able to get an honest answer about <insert talking point>.”

Regardless of whatever talking point Gowdy inserted, a good answer would’ve looked like this: underline what didn’t go well (with the finger pointed at Hillary) and then transition to a new piece of information. If you find yourself in a similar situation, do the same. If something doesn’t go as planned, admit it. And if there is a specific, uncontrollable reason why it didn’t go as planned, admit that too. But never forget to B² (block and bridge) to the good and/or an important piece of information the public should know.

Every answer is an opportunity to sell your message. Don’t let a reporter’s questions dictate your narrative. If you do, you’ll lose every time!