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Keller @ Large: What True Leaders Look Like During Coronavirus Crisis

BOSTON (CBS) - The unprecedented coronavirus crisis has put the spotlight on political leadership. Here are two Democrats and two Republicans who are, so far, showing how it's done:

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh

Privately, Walsh must feel overwhelmed. Mayors are used to sudden crises, but nothing on this scale; even the Boston Marathon murders and their aftermath only lasted four days from atrocity to capture.

But publicly, Walsh has been calm and focused on "knowledge and collective action," even when his initial decisions to let schools and bars stay open drew backlash, moves he quickly reversed.

Governor Charlie Baker

Baker is famous for his no-drama demeanor, and has also made quick corrections of early misjudgments, a key to positive leadership. Also useful: his background in health care, which he's tapped to display a reassuring grasp of detail, like cutting red tape "so hospitals can staff up faster."

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine

Here is another Republican building public confidence by listening to public health experts and moving fast to deploy their recommendation, regardless of the potential political fallout. DeWine has consistently been out ahead of everyone else in grasping the severity of the situation and taking action in an apolitical manner.

"It's my job to be as honest as I can with people and tell our citizens what we know when we know it," he said.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo is never one to be shy about anything, and he hasn't shied away from scolding the feds when they have dropped the ball. But he has also praised the White House when they have taken appropriate measures, and has volunteered political cover for officials charged with implementing his orders.

"Your local mayor did not close your restaurants, your bars, your gyms or your schools," he said. "I did. I did. I assume full responsibility."

And that is what the times demand: fact-based leaders who search out the truth, share it candidly with the public, and let their actions do the talking. As Mayor Walsh puts it: "We are not powerless and you are not alone."

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