The New York Post describes the plot as follows: "…William Russell, the ex-Secretary of State, is a wit and scholar with high liberal principles, beloved of the eggheads and suspected by practical politicians. Joseph Cantwell is a ruthless and hard-driving young man, a dirty fighter who will let no scruples stand in the way of his ambitions. And Arthur Hockstader is an ex-President, who loves politics for their own sake, admires a rough-and-tumble battler more than a chivalrous one, and is determined to have the final say in the selection of his party's candidate…The ruthless young man has got hold of papers indicating that his rival once suffered from a mental crackup, which he is all set to use. Then his scrupulous antagonist comes across some incriminating evidence about Cantwell, which he is loath to produce. The scruples don't appeal to the ex-President, who enjoys seeing the boys fight. All of this provides the framework for some vivid and interesting scenes in which Mr. Vidal contrasts the minds, emotions and fighting spirits of the two candidates…"
"Gore Vidal's THE BEST MAN makes you wish that Vidal were writing the dialogue for the presidential debates. It brings to the backstabbing world of campaigning the bright verbal fire that All About Eve and Sweet Smell of Success brought to the backstabbing worlds of show business and journalism. —NY Times. "A sophisticated, elegant and damnably entertaining play!" —The New Yorker. "Gore Vidal's best play! Well-crafted and witty with surprises, reversals, pungent character sketches, satire, worldly wisdom and juicy roles for all concerned." —NY Magazine."Gore Vidal's THE BEST MAN is a winner! Extraordinarily fresh, witty, sharp and relevant." —NY Daily News. "Vidal's story is a corker! Suspenseful, funny, surprisingly fresh!" —Associated Press.