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Angela Merkel

Likability: don't underestimate it

Likability: don't underestimate it

As we near the 2019 Democratic debates, I clearly remember one January 2008 Democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire — the site of the headline making exchange between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. To re-cap, the debate moderator asked Ms. Clinton whether she thought she had enough personal appeal to win over voters. But before she could answer, Mr. Obama broke in saying, “You’re likable enough.”

Evidently, enough voters thought Mr. Obama’s comment insensitive, and Ms. Clinton won the New Hampshire primary a few days later. Nevertheless, as we know, Mr. Obama won the General Election — twice. And to this day, polls show him as an extremely likable ex-president, along with...