Does Experience Matter in a President?

Hillary Clinton and John McCain are arguing that Barack Obama is too green for the job. But history shows that when it comes to the presidency, experience doesn't guarantee success

Christopher Morris / VII for TIME

A story is often told at times like this — times when American voters are choosing among candidates richly seasoned with political experience and those who are less experienced but perhaps more exciting alternatives. Once upon a time, the torch was passed to a new generation of Americans, and a charismatic young President, gifted as a speechmaker but little tested as an executive, was finding his way through his first 100 days. On Day 85, he stumbled, and the result for John F. Kennedy was the disastrous Bay of Pigs.

For scholars of the...

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