The Candidates On Firing Staffers

In less than a week, Americans decide whether Barack Obama or John McCain becomes the 44th President of the United States. In the series "Presidential Questions," CBS News anchor Katie Couric asks questions that move the candidates well beyond the usual sound-bites. Some questions concern policy. Others are more personal. All will give you a better sense of who these men are - and what has shaped them. What follows is Couric's question - and the candidates' full answers.



Katie Couric: When was the last time you fired someone who worked for you and why?

John McCain: Well, we had to make a change in our campaign. It was going in the wrong direction. We knew we had serious problems in our campaign and the way it was being managed. And that will be well chronicled in the books that are written after this election. But, it wasn't easy and it wasn't fun. And I still value the friendship of the people that left our campaign. And it was just that we needed a different direction. It certainly wasn't anything that had to do with personal differences.

Barack Obama: I have directed people to be fired during the course of this campaign. I would prefer not sharing that with the public because obviously I don't want to embarrass them.

You know I don't mind people making mistakes, but I want them to learn from their mistakes, and, what I won't tolerate are people who put their own ego or their desire for self-aggrandizement ahead of the team. You know, I played sports as a young person, and still try occasionally as an older person, and I am a big believer in "there's no 'I' in team." And I don't tolerate a lot of drama or people back-biting or trying to push people down to push themselves up. When I see evidence of people who are not acting on the basis of "how are we getting our mission accomplished," then I'll give them a couple of warnings, and if it's chronic, they won't be part of my organization.
  • Katie Couric

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