What I Wish Obama Had Said


During the second presidential debate, which seems like ages ago, the candidates were asked a question that I wish Mr. Obama had answered differently: "What don't you know, and how will you find the answer if you're president?"

Mr. Obama responded that they should ask his wife what he doesn't know, and then went on a tangent about what America needs (tax relief, better health care, etc).

He missed an opportunity to talk about the power of open innovation working in politics.

A better answer would have been while he doesn't know which specific types of technology will bring clean power to American homes, he does know that building the right incentives will inspire Americans to invent them.

Or while he doesn't know exactly how to get Americans focused on preventive care, he does know that if you give employers and doctors and individuals incentives to prevent illness, America can build a healthier country.

Or while he doesn't know what the perfect mass transit system looks like, he does know that if you build the right rewards Americans will develop systems that make us less reliant on foreign oil.

These are just a few of the big problems Mr. Obama faces as president. He should not pretend to know precisely how to achieve these goals, nor should he simply pass slow moving and watered down legislation. But he should use his post to structure markets so they point toward goals that transcend politics.


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