During the second presidential debate of the 1992 election, the three candidates-George Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot-were asked by a woman in the studio audience in Richmond, Virginia, how their own lives had been affected by the national debt. It was a moment that was to prove decisive. President George Bush, perplexed and nonplussed, literally did not understand the question. “I’m not sure I get it,” he said. “Help me with the question and I’ll try to answer.”1 Clinton, opening his arms, moved toward the audience and re sponded that he personally knew people in Arkansas who were suf fering because they had lost their jobs. The clear implication was that he acutely felt their pain and Bush did not. W hat was at stake was the presidential politics of empathy. The rest is history.