POLITICAL CONSULTANT'S 10 COMMANDMENTS, 3
7) Thou shall not rely on external influences to win thy campaign. The Party helps those who help themselves. Just because the Party expresses an interest in a particular race a year before the election and says that they will help out, does not give you an excuse to neglect raising money or running a campaign. Don't allow your clients to believe that the party will help them if they do not take initiative and help themselves first. There is only so much help the party can provide and every campaign wants it. The party would rather give money and support to campaigns that can show they are viable because everyone likes to win. Focus on winning, focus on building the campaign. When you can show that your campaign is viable without the support of the party, the party will come to you.
8) All adultery and past indiscretions thy opponent has committed shall be considered fair game; spouses and children as well. Many times, candidates are squeamish about even looking into an opponent's personal life and will forbid their consultants from doing the necessary opposition research. You must help them get over it. To win a campaign it is essential to look at the opponents' spouses, children and everyone related to them. Opposition research will find his DUI, his wife's infidelity and his son's cocaine habit. This is absolutely acceptable. Always look into your own candidate as well. They will not usually be forthcoming with information which makes them look bad, but you need to know the facts if you want to help them inoculate themselves from attacks to come. It may be unsavory to dig through all that history, but it is necessary. This is not to say that the campaign should attack their opponent on any of these issues unless it is tactically prudent to do so, but to not have the knowledge on hand would be to do a disservice to the campaign and its prospects of winning.
9) Thou shall never lie to the press. Spin, twist, stretch, withhold; but never lie. If you lie to the press, you will most likely get caught. Especially easily verifiable lies like degrees and military service. Not to lie, however, does not mean to tell the truth. Many times you will be asked questions that place you between a rock and a hard place. It is always acceptable to spin or provide your side of a story. This is not considered lying. To withhold parts of a story or certain key details is not lying either, merely not telling the entire truth. Never say "no comment", but feel free to reject the premise of a question. Make sure your candidate internalizes this message as well. People may argue that you are being deceptive, but you have an absolute right to offer your perspective on what happened and try to frame the issue.
10) If it is not in writing, it never happened. All that exists is what has been documented. Everything else is hearsay. If it is not in writing or recorded, there is no way to prove it ever happened. Don't covet what you could have had if there were documentation. Make sure a contract is drawn clearly outlining the expectations you have of your candidate and that your candidate has of you. Until you accept their terms, everything is subject to negotiation. Detail what will be paid and when. Document all meetings and strategy sessions. Of course, if you are trying to do something covertly, don't write it down. Then it's as if it never happened at all.