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What does it take to win an election? Is it charisma? Creating great policies for change? Honesty? All of the above? This is the season where hundreds of possible candidates are debating this question. While all of those factors are important, according to D.A. Pennebaker’s 1993 documentary “The War Room”, what matters the most is the caliber of people associated with you that has the biggest impact.

“The War Room” follows two important figures in the 1992 Clinton campaign as they figure out how maneuver the campaign away from distractions such as sexual scandals, the candidates past, and regular politics. George Stephanopoulos, Clinton’s communications director, handled how information would be told and distributed throughout the media. His role is often seen tied in with James Carville, Clinton’s lead strategist, whose knowledge about the “political game” is often frightening.

Through viewing the movie, one realizes the mechanics of a political campaign. For instance, the strategies that make up rally signs is not a topic that you would see on CNN, but it holds a lot of importance. Varied homemade signs, made from poster paper, markers, and anything else you can find in your arts and crafts bin, shows the emotional closeness that a voter has with a particular candidate. On the downside, varied signs could also show disunity amongst the people. While on the other hand, machine manufactured posters and signs display unity, but lack imagination and heart. Every single action– the little things, as well as the large (i.e., Gennifer Flowers) — is crucial to the well-being of the campaign.

What initially struck my attention was how young everyone was. George Stephanopoulos had just turned 30 when he joined the campaign, while Carville was 46. Regardless of their youth and slight inexperience, their passion for what they believed Clinton would do once elected president pushed them to succeed. It shows that drive and determination can go a long way.

Watch a preview of the documentary after the jump.

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