I never thought I would say this but the stand out performance on this morning's political programmes didn't come from a safe pair of hands like William Hague, or from a left field 'celebrity with a cause' such as Simon Callow, but from Mr Cry Baby himself Kevin Rudd. The former Australian Prime Minister and now Foreign Secretary has a history of weak media performances as well as crying at any opportunity. This morning, while still perhaps a bit too soft spoken for many, he was a man very much on top of his brief.
Admittedly Andrew Marr gave him a very easy ride, allowing Rudd to develop his answers fully, but it made for a much more enjoyable interview to watch. The main thing people should take away from Rudd's performance was how he deliberately shied away from talking in generalities instead getting into specifics including using facts, figures and examples to illustrate his points.
Many media trained politicians and business leaders do the exact opposite, shifting the interview into general areas and using unsatisfactory and vague language which doesn't cut through in the homes of people watching. Rudd was able to shift the interview away from danger points such as corruption in Afghanistan by talking about what Australia has done and what the Australian mission has achieved. It was the same when asked about China. He could have talked in general terms (powerful ally, great opportunity etc) but instead said very specifically what the opportunities and threats to Australia and the world are from China's momentous growth.
When training people to appear on the media or talk to journalists I always advocate points are more powerfully made if back up with a bit of beef. Today's interview with a previously weak Kevin Rudd demonstrates exactly why.