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Dole Institute announces election-related slate of events

The Dole Institute of Politics has announced a series of election-related events this fall titled "POTUS 44 -- The Next President of the United States." Each program will focus on an important facet of the 2008 presidential race. The programs will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Dole Institute.

"We're delighted to have such a busy and focused fall," said Bill Lacy, director of the Dole Institute. "It's a presidential year, and it is a good opportunity to reach more students and members of the community while they are focused on the Obama-McCain contest."

The series began in September with "Obama vs. McCain: Campaign 2008." The program featured 2008 Dole Fellows Joe Gaylord and Ray Strother. Gaylord is a top Republican strategist with a specialty in congressional races and was a top adviser to Newt Gingrich. Strother is a legendary Democratic political consultant who has worked with candidates at every level, including former Vice President Al Gore. Both fellows are hosting study groups throughout the fall as well. See for more on the study groups.

"One Month Out: Strategists Look at Obama-McCain" will be Oct. 8. The program will feature Jerry Austin, former Dole Fellow and campaign manager for Jesse Jackson, as well as Republican pollster Whit Ayres. These guests will provide a status report on the campaign as election day nears.

"The Final Debate: What Do the Undecideds Think?" will take place Oct. 15. The Dole Institute will show the televised presidential debate, and guests will signal their reactions as part of a dial group responding to the debate through electronic devices. The dial technology allows for focus-group members to instantaneously and anonymously register their responses to the candidates throughout the debate. Mary Banwart, associate professor of communication studies, then will discuss key points and reactions to debate moments with the undecided focus group.

The institute will explore the media's role in the election in "Media Coverage of Campaign 2008: Magic or Misguided" on Oct. 22. Guests include Mary Walsh, Chuck DeFeo and Terry Michael. Walsh is a producer for the CBS program "60 Minutes." DeFeo is the site manager for Michael is the executive director for the Washington Center for Politics and Journalism and formerly was press secretary for the Democratic National Committee.

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