Character Above All: Broadcast

PROLOGUE BY JIM LEHRER

Moderator for the PBS television program "Character Above All"


The subject is character... the character of those who run for-- and serve-- as president of the United States.

Questions about character have been part of presidential politics since our beginnings as a nation... and there is no reason to believe the campaign of 1996 will be any different.

The questions are many and varied. Most presidential historians believe they should be explored directly-- but in context,

Questions like: Does character matter above all else? If so, how do we measure and and judge character?

What does history tell us about presidential character? And, by the way, please define what is meant by "character?"

Is there a difference, for instance, between personal character and political character? Does personal character have only to do with sex and infidelity?

These were only some of the questions we tossed around on a recent evening in the House of Burgesses Chamber at the Capitol Building in Colonial Williamburg, Virginia. The nine toss-ers were historians, writers and others who brought special qualifications to the exercise as a result of their research and study or experience with one or more of the last ten presidents of the United States.


arrow Click here for the complete transcript from the broadcast.

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