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Random Quote
"For a large class of cases - though not for all - in which we employ the word ''meaning'' it can be defined thus: the meaning of a word is its use in the language."
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Donald Rumsfeld Quotes
Amidst all the clutter, beyond all the obstacles, aside from all the static, are the goals set. Put your head down, do the best job possible, let the flak pass, and work towards those goals.
Donald Rumsfeld

Arguments of convenience lack integrity and inevitably trip you up.
Donald Rumsfeld

As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They're not the Army you might wantor wish to have at a later time.
Donald Rumsfeld

Be able to resign. It will improve your value to the President and do wonders for your performance.
Donald Rumsfeld

Be precise. A lack of precision is dangerous when the margin of error is small.
Donald Rumsfeld

Be yourself. Follow your instincts. Success depends, at least in part, on the ability to "carry it off."
Donald Rumsfeld

Being Vice President is difficult. Don't make it tougher.
Donald Rumsfeld

Beware when any idea is promoted primarily because it is "bold, exciting, innovative, and new." There are many ideas that are "bold, exciting, innovative and new," but also foolish.
Donald Rumsfeld

Congress, the press, and the bureaucracy too often focus on how much money or effort is spent, rather than whether the money or effort actually achieves the announced goal.
Donald Rumsfeld

Control your time. If you're working off your in-box, you're working off the priorities of others. Be sure the staff is working on what you move to them from the President, or the President will be reacting, not leading.
Donald Rumsfeld

Don't 'over-control' like a novice pilot. Stay loose enough from the flow that you can observe it, modify, and improve it.
Donald Rumsfeld

Don't accept the post or stay unless you have an understanding with the President that you're free to tell him what you think "with the bark off" and you have the courage to do it.
Donald Rumsfeld

Don't automatically obey Presidential directives if you disagree or if you suspect he hasn't considered key aspects of the issue.
Donald Rumsfeld

Don't be a bottleneck. If a matter is not a decision for the President or you, delegate it. Force responsibility down and out. Find problem areas, add structure and delegate. The pressure is to do the reverse. Resist it.
Donald Rumsfeld

Don't begin to think you're the President. You're not. The Constitution provides for only one.
Donald Rumsfeld

Don't blame the boss. He has enough problems.
Donald Rumsfeld

Don't divide the world into "them" and "us." Avoid infatuation with or resentment of the press, the Congress, rivals, or opponents. Accept them as facts. They have their jobs and you have yours.
Donald Rumsfeld

Don't do or say things you would not like to see on the front page of The Washington Post.
Donald Rumsfeld

Don't necessarily avoid sharp edges. Occasionally they are necessary to leadership.
Donald Rumsfeld

Don't say "the White House wants." Buildings can't want.
Donald Rumsfeld

Don't speak ill of your predecessors or successors. You didn't walk in their shoes.
Donald Rumsfeld

Don't think of yourself as indispensable or infallible. As Charles De Gaulle said, the cemeteries of the world are full of indispensable men.
Donald Rumsfeld

Enjoy your time in public service. It may well be one of the most interesting and challenging times of your life.
Donald Rumsfeld

Find ways to decentralize. Move decision making authority down and out. Encourage a more entrepreneurial approach.
Donald Rumsfeld

First rule of politics: you can't win unless you're on the ballot. Second rule: If you run, you may lose. And, if you tie, you do not win.
Donald Rumsfeld

From where you sit, the White House may look as untidy as the inside of a stomach. As is said of the legislative process, sausage-making and policy-making shouldn't be seen close-up. Don't let that panic you. Things may be going better than they look from the inside.
Donald Rumsfeld

Have a deputy and develop a successor. Don't be consumed by the job or you'll risk losing your balance. Keep your mooring lines to the outside world - family, friends, neighbors, people out of government, and people who may not agree with you.
Donald Rumsfeld

I can't tell you if the use of force in Iraq today will last five days, five weeks or five months, but it won't last any longer than that.
Donald Rumsfeld

I don't do quagmires.
Donald Rumsfeld

I'm not into this detail stuff. I'm more concepty.
Donald Rumsfeld

If a prospective Presidential approach can't be explained clearly enough to be understood well, it probably hasn't been thought through well enough. If not well understood by the American people, it probably won't "sail" anyway. Send it back for further thought.
Donald Rumsfeld

If in doubt, don't. If still in doubt, do what's right.
Donald Rumsfeld

If in doubt, move decisions up to the President.
Donald Rumsfeld

If the staff lacks policy guidance against which to test decisions, their decisions will be random.
Donald Rumsfeld

If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.
Donald Rumsfeld

If you develop rules, never have more than ten.
Donald Rumsfeld

If you foul up, tell the President and correct it fast. Delay only compounds mistakes.
Donald Rumsfeld

If you try to please everybody, somebody's not going to like it.
Donald Rumsfeld

Imagine, a September 11 with weapons of mass destruction. It's not 3,000. It's tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children.
Donald Rumsfeld

In our system leadership is by consent, not command. To lead a President must persuade. Personal contacts and experiences help shape his thinking. They can be critical to his persuasiveness and thus to his leadership.
Donald Rumsfeld

In politics, every day is filled with numerous opportunities for serious error. Enjoy it.
Donald Rumsfeld

In the execution of Presidential decisions work to be true to his views, in fact and tone.
Donald Rumsfeld

Include others. As Senator Pat Moynihan said, "Stubborn opposition to proposals often has no other basis than the complaining question, 'Why wasn't I consulted?'"
Donald Rumsfeld

Inspectors do not have the duty or the ability to uncover terrible weapons hidden in a vast country. The responsibility of inspectors is simply to confirm evidence of voluntary and total disarmament. Saddam Hussein has the responsibility to provide that evidence, as directed, and in full
Donald Rumsfeld

It is easier to get into something than to get out of it.
Donald Rumsfeld

It is very difficult to spend "federal (the taxpayers') dollars" so that the intended result is achieved.
Donald Rumsfeld

It isn't making mistakes that's critical; it's correcting them and getting on with the principal task.
Donald Rumsfeld

Keep your sense of humor. As General Joe Stillwell said, "The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
Donald Rumsfeld

Know that the amount of criticism you receive may correlate somewhat to the amount of publicity you receive.
Donald Rumsfeld

Know that the immediate staff and others in the Administration will assume that your manner, tone and tempo reflect the President's.
Donald Rumsfeld

Learn to say "I don't know." If used when appropriate, it will be often.
Donald Rumsfeld

Leave the President's family business to him. You will have plenty to do without trying to manage the First Family. They are likely to do fine without your help.
Donald Rumsfeld

Let your family, staff, and friends know that you're still the same person, despite all the publicity and notoriety that accompanies your position.
Donald Rumsfeld

Look for what's missing. Many advisors can tell a President how to improve what's proposed or what's gone amiss. Few are able to see what isn't there.
Donald Rumsfeld

Make decisions about the President's personal security. He can overrule you, but don't ask him to be the one to counsel caution.
Donald Rumsfeld

Many people around the President have sizeable egos before entering government, some with good reason. Their new positions will do little to moderate their egos.
Donald Rumsfeld

Members of the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate are not there by accident. Each managed to get there for some reason. Learn what it was and you will know something important about them, about our country and about the American people.
Donald Rumsfeld

Most of the 50 or so invitations you receive each week come from people inviting the President's Chief of Staff, not you. If you doubt that, ask your predecessor how many he received last week.
Donald Rumsfeld

Move decisions out to the Cabinet and agencies. Strengthen them by moving responsibility, authority, and accountability their direction.
Donald Rumsfeld

Napoleon was asked, "Who do you consider to be the greatest generals?" He responded saying, "The victors."
Donald Rumsfeld

Oh my goodness gracious, what you can buy off the Internet in terms of overhead photography. A trained ape can know an awful lot of what is going on in this world, just by punching on his mouse, for a relatively modest cost.
Donald Rumsfeld

One of your tasks is to separate the "personal" from the "substantive." The two can become confused, especially if someone rubs the President wrong.
Donald Rumsfeld

Our task, your task... is to try to connect the dots before something happens. People say, 'Well, where's the smoking gun?' Well, we don't want to see a smoking gun from a weapon of mass destruction.
Donald Rumsfeld

People say, 'Well, where's the smoking gun?' Well, we don't want to see a smoking gun from a weapon of mass destruction.
Donald Rumsfeld

Plan backwards as well as forward. Set objectives and trace back to see how to achieve them. You may find that no path can get you there. Plan forward to see where your steps will take you, which may not be clear or intuitive.
Donald Rumsfeld

Politics is human beings; it's addition rather than subtraction.
Donald Rumsfeld

Preserve the President's options. He may need them.
Donald Rumsfeld

Presidential leadership needn't always cost money. Look for low- and no-cost options. They can be surprisingly effective.
Donald Rumsfeld

Prune - prune businesses, products, activities, people. Do it annually.
Donald Rumsfeld

Public servants are paid to serve the American people. Do it well.
Donald Rumsfeld

Reduce the layers of management. They put distance between the top of an organization and the customers.
Donald Rumsfeld

Reduce the number of lawyers. They are like beavers - they get in the middle of the stream and dam it up.
Donald Rumsfeld

Remember where you came from.
Donald Rumsfeld

Secretary Powell and I agree on every single issue that has ever been before this administration except for those instances where Colin's still learning.
Donald Rumsfeld

See that the President, the Cabinet and staff are informed. If cut out of the information flow, their decisions may be poor, not made, or not confidently or persuasively implemented.
Donald Rumsfeld

Strive to make proposed solutions as self-executing as possible. As the degree of discretion increases, so too does bureaucracy, delay, and expense.
Donald Rumsfeld

Test ideas in the marketplace. You learn from hearing a range of perspectives. Consultation helps engender the support decisions need to be successfully implemented.
Donald Rumsfeld

The Federal Government should be the last resort, not the first. Ask if a potential program is truly a federal responsibility or whether it can better be handled privately, by voluntary organizations, or by local or state governments.
Donald Rumsfeld

The most underestimated risk for a politician is overexposure.
Donald Rumsfeld

The price of being close to the President is delivering bad news. You fail him if you don't tell him the truth. Others won't do it.
Donald Rumsfeld

The Secretary of Defense is not a super General or Admiral. His task is to exercise civilian control over the Department for the Commander-in-Chief and the country.
Donald Rumsfeld

The way to do well is to do well.
Donald Rumsfeld

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.
Donald Rumsfeld

Think ahead. Don't let day-to-day operations drive out planning.
Donald Rumsfeld

Treat each federal dollar as if it was hard earned; it was - by a taxpayer.
Donald Rumsfeld

Visit with your predecessors from previous Administrations. They know the ropes and can help you see around some corners. Try to make original mistakes, rather than needlessly repeating theirs.
Donald Rumsfeld

Walk around. If you are invisible, the mystique of the President's office may perpetuate inaccurate impressions about you or the President, to his detriment. After all, you may not be as bad as they're saying.
Donald Rumsfeld

Watch for the "not invented here" syndrome.
Donald Rumsfeld

Watch the growth of middle level management. Don't automatically fill vacant jobs. Leave some positions unfilled for 6-8 months to see what happens. You will find you won't need to fill some of them.
Donald Rumsfeld

When asked for your views, by the press or others, remember that what they really want to know is the President's views.
Donald Rumsfeld

When cutting staff at the Pentagon, don't eliminate the thin layer that assures civilian control.
Donald Rumsfeld

When someone with a rural accent says, "I don't know much about politics," zip up your pockets.
Donald Rumsfeld

When you raise issues with the President, try to come away with both that decision and also a precedent. Pose issues so as to evoke broader policy guidance. This can help to answer a range of similar issues likely to arise later.
Donald Rumsfeld

With the press there is no "off the record."
Donald Rumsfeld

Work continuously to trim the White House staff from your first day to your last. All the pressures are to the contrary.
Donald Rumsfeld

You will launch many projects, but have time to finish only a few. So think, plan, develop, launch and tap good people to be responsible. Give them authority and hold them accountable. Trying to do too much yourself creates a bottleneck.
Donald Rumsfeld

You're thinking of Eurpoe as Germany and France. I don't. I think that's old Europe.
Donald Rumsfeld

Your performance depends on your people. Select the best, train them and back them. When errors occur, give sharper guidance. If errors persist or if the fit feels wrong, help them move on. The country cannot afford amateur hour in the White House.
Donald Rumsfeld

Type:
Politician
Date of Birth:
1932-07-09
Year of Death:

Nationality:
American
 

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