Advice to the New President

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Republican Chairman of the 9/11 Commission

Reach across the aisle. This has been one of the most divisive campaigns in American history, and your job now is to pull the country back together.

Former CEO of GE

Get out your veto pen—you must reverse the trajectory of the budget deficit. You hate tax increases, and they should be your last resort anyway, given the fragile global recovery. But you will be forced into that option if you don't immediately start redlining spending requests.

President of Brown University

The President should acknowledge the widespread concern among many youths that they will inherit a world unalterably damaged by environmental degradation, cultural and political tensions, limited economic growth and other factors that could impair the realization of their goals. Leaders should permit us to see their willingness to engage critics for the profit of our democracy.

Radio Talk-Show host

Appoint Senator Kerry ambassador to France.

Dixie Chicks Member

As a fertility patient, I am concerned with the average citizen's lack of knowledge on stem cells and want to urge you to help educate people instead of making this a divisive issue. Few people know that stem cells, like mine, are being thrown away every day at fertility clinics after patients have no use for their remaining embryos. Thrown away! Think of the gift we can give people through this research.

Archbishop of Denver

No people can build a just society on 3,000 to 4,000 abortions a day. A nation that tolerates killing innocent children in the womb forfeits any claim as a beacon of freedom. I hope the President will use his second term to limit abortion and protect the unborn child in every way possible.

CEO of Rush Communications; founder of Def Jam Records

Bush talks about equality, about how everyone is entitled to a quality high school education. Those are great ideas. Great ideas. But I'd tell him, Put your money where your mouth is. Don't write off the black community. He also needs to treat his critics better. You can't say "You're with us, or you're against us." You can't suppress liberty.

Former Democratic Senator from Georgia

Keeping nuclear, biological and chemical weapons out of the hands of terrorists must be the top security priority. The next President must build a global coalition of nations working together to reduce these threats. We are in a race between cooperation and catastrophe.

Minister and Democratic politician

Bush must change the perception that he has divided the country. He should reach out beyond his normal circles. He should meet with the N.A.A.C.P., with labor leaders. He should not be so inflexible in terms of ideas and criticism. He's really got to take to heart the reasons people oppose him.

Host of Real Time

Resign. You made your point. You got re-elected, and your father didn't. Enjoy the ranch.

Former Foreign Minister of France

Europeans want the United States to respect them, to accept divergence of position and to be ecologically responsible. The world has not become anti-American; it's demanding to be listened to. It has things to tell America if she would be so good as to listen.

Director of Policy Studies, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame

A priority of your second term must be to restore the moral credibility the United States has lost. Reaffirm your commitment to see Iraq through to independence, stability and democracy. But admit the obvious—that serious mistakes were made in Iraq.


Get out of Iraq. Get out as quickly as possible, and respectfully. As long as we carry the burden of Iraq, a misbegotten war, it's going to be very difficult to do anything at home.

Lead Singer of U2

Brand U.S.A. is in a bit of trouble. When you call in the regional branch managers, they'll tell you you've lost touch with your customers around the world. The way you respond to the AIDS emergency and the difficulties of the developing world will offer an opportunity to redescribe America to the world in the 21st century.

Presidential Historian

Use history to lead. Throughout the Cuban missile crisis, John Kennedy struggled to ensure that global war did not start by accident, as he knew it had in 1914. Even before our Civil War, Abraham Lincoln tried to use the "mystic chords of memory" that went back to the Revolution to draw Americans together again.

CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation

Reach out to the Congress, and working together, craft a new health-reform plan that will fly. Expand coverage for the 45 million Americans without health insurance.

Co-Chair of the Nuclear Threat Initiative

It is imperative that we work with all our global partners—especially the United Nations—to ensure the planet's health, safety and security. The next President should be actively seeking friends everywhere; we cannot afford any more enemies.


Speak honestly and listen. We will let you know what is best for this country.

Former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration

We cannot be strong if we're coming apart. We can't have a vibrant democracy if we don't listen to one another. Reach out to those you disagree with. Give poorer Americans more opportunities to get ahead. Be a man of faith, if you wish, but don't use faith to justify your policies. Restore civility to public discourse and tolerance to public life.

Evangelical Bishop

We are praying that God will guide you through the next four years in condemning all injustices, providing for the needs of the unemployed and underemployed while protecting the safety of this great nation.