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"Race for the Presidency" Election Panel Tonight

Old Dominion University's Department of Political Science and Geography will present a panel discussion on "The Race for the Presidency: The 2008 General Election" from 7-8:30 p.m. tonight in the Batten Arts and Letters Building auditorium.

Panelists will include four ODU faculty members and a guest panelist from Christopher Newport University. Former Congressman G. William Whitehurst, ODU's Kaufman Lecturer in Public Affairs, will serve as moderator.

"After a hotly contested primary campaign, the presidential nominees - Barack Obama and John McCain - and their selected running mates - Joe Biden and Sarah Palin - offer American voters several historical 'firsts': the first African American to head a major-party ticket, the first woman to be nominated by Republicans as vice president and potentially the oldest elected president, McCain, should he win on Nov. 4," observed Glen Sussman, professor of political science, who will address the topic "Presidential Campaign."

"Given the differences over policy positions held by the Obama and McCain campaigns," Sussman added, "this election will have far-reaching implications for U.S. domestic and foreign policy."

David Earnest, who teaches courses on international relations and international political economy, will address the topic "The Election and International Politics."

"Both Senators Obama and McCain argue they are candidates of 'change.' Yet while the public focuses on the economy and financial crisis, international challenges and American interests remain largely unchanged," said Earnest. "Who really is the candidate of 'change' when it comes to international affairs? And what might 'change' in the new administration look like? Voters who expect fundamental revisions in U.S. foreign policy starting in January may be sorely disappointed," Earnest added. "This is a point I'll discuss on the 27th."

Jesse Richman, who teaches courses on electoral politics, will speak to the congressional election race.

"A series of tight races will determine the composition of the 111th U.S. Congress. Republicans are fighting a defensive war to stave off further losses, particularly in the Senate. Although the presidential election grabs headlines, the outcome of the congressional election will shape the legislative challenges facing the incoming president," said Richman.

"If Democrats win filibuster-proof margins in the Senate, an Obama administration would have a much easier time passing laws. If McCain wins the presidency, will he face an emboldened and expanded Democratic congressional delegation, or one that has been diminished by losses? Presidential campaigns with substantial coattails provide presidents with loyal allies in their early legislative battles," Richman observed.

Elizabeth Esinhart, who teaches courses on constitutional law and judicial behavior, will speak to the topic "Impact of the Election on Supreme Court Appointments."

Quentin Kidd, chair of the government department at CNU, will discuss "The Election and Virginia Politics."

The panel discussion is free and open to the public. For more information, call 683-4643.

This article was posted on: October 27, 2008

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