Yesterday a Democratic operative attacked Ann Romney, saying she “had never worked a day in her life”. To say the least, this is a self-defeating communication tactic. It’s worthwhile to remember the difference between a debate and a battle – two words which stem from the same root. In a battle, there are only two sides and you’re trying to defeat the opponent. In a debate, there are three sides and you’re trying to win over the audience. If your audience respects your opponent — as I think we all respect Ann Romney — then attacking the opponent reduces your credibility and alienates the audience. When you debate an opponent that the audience admires, you first need to show how much you respect the opponent and then clearly, and unemotionally, describe your differences. By showing respect, you build your credibility. Then, and only then, can you describe your advantages. Our politicians seem to have forgotten this. Here’s a video to refresh their memories.