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Reflections on the 2008 Campaign

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Alumni panel assesses Obama's victory

"Was the election a victory for Obama, or a referendum on George Bush, whose popularity has declined so profoundly?" asked President James Wright at a Nov. 10 symposium titled, "Reflections on the 2008 Campaign: Challenges for the New President." Wright asked the alumni panelists to put the 2008 presidential election into a historical context and discuss its significance. Below, some of their comments:

symposium
Panelists at the post-presidential election symposium (from left): Rob Portman '78, former Ohio congressman, former U.S. Cabinet member and attorney for Squire, Sanders & Dempsey; Leah Daughtry '84, chief of staff of the Democratic National Committee; David Shribman '76, executive editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; President James Wright; Annette Gordon-Reed '81, professor of law at NYU law school and professor of history at Rutgers University; Jacques Steinberg '88, media reporter at The New York Times; James Kloppenerg '73, the Charles Warren Professor of American History at Harvard and the 2008-2009 Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at the University of Cambridge in England. (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)
Leah Daughtry '84: "This election is historic because of the change it's made in the psyche of the American people, particularly for young people, who now feel a sense of hope and possibility that we have not felt in many election cycles."

Rob Portman '78: "It was historic to have either of the major parties nominate an African American, and then to have that candidate win the presidency is something that is truly historic. As a Republican, I would love to see that happen in the Party."

iconAnnette Gordon-Reed '81: "A lot of people are character voters and there's a sense that people were responding to the perceived steadiness of Obama, as opposed to the more erratic nature of the new McCain who came out to do this campaigning."

Click here to watch a video of the full symposium.

By SARAH GOMEZ

 

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Last Updated: 12/8/08