During the 2000 campaign, I covered a Bush event at a hall in Pittsburgh, I think it was the Soldiers & Sailors National Military Museum, where Bush appeared along with Colin Powell and Tom Ridge, who was still governor of Pennsylvania (and hadn't yet wrecked his career as director of Homeland Security). Powell and Ridge are both tall, imposing ex-military men, who wear their suits sharp and crisp-pressed. They stand up straight. They are charismatic and forceful when they speak. Almost entirely unlike Bush on all counts. He looks incredibly ill-at-ease in a suit (a problem that was even worse then than now), and when uncomfortable, he tends to chuckle and huff in a most undignified way. After a few minutes of watching this painful contrast on stage, we in the press corps agreed that if you were an alien who had been suddenly thrown into this scene and asked to pick which of these three men was the nominee for president, you would never, ever guess the truth.
Bush has certainly gotten a lot better on stage in a lot of ways. But it doesn't always work.