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Vanderbilt News

Renowned journalists offer behind-the-scenes perspective on 2008 presidential election

Mar. 11, 2010, 2:32 PM

Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson, two of the nation’s most experienced political reporters, will engage in an evening of political discussion April 1 at the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University. The 5:30 p.m. event will be followed by a reception and book-signing.

Balz and Johnson, co-authors of the acclaimed book The Battle for America 2008: The Story of an Extraordinary Election, will discuss the election of President Barack Obama and its impact on this year’s election campaigns for the control of Congress.

The program is co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions and the First Amendment Center.

John Geer, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, and John Seigenthaler, founder of the First Amendment Center, will introduce the authors and then lead a question and answer period.

“We are delighted that two of the most highly respected journalists in D.C. can join us to share their insights on the 2008 presidential election and its significance for the mid-term races,” said Geer, who co-directs the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions with Vanderbilt political scientists Josh Clinton and David Lewis.

“Dan and Haynes have given us some fascinating insights into the hotly contested campaign between Barack Obama and John McCain,” Seigenthaler said. “We are lucky to have the opportunity to hear them on that historical election and get their perspective on such questions as: How many incumbent members of Congress will survive this year? Is a political tsunami building that will upset the present balance in Congress? Is Barack Obama destined to be a one-term president? We could not find two more expert observers than Dan and Haynes.”

Balz, who began working at the Washington Post in 1978, is a national political correspondent after previous positions at the Post that include national editor, political editor and White House correspondent. He is a frequent guest on PBS’ “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer” and “Washington Week in Review” as well as CBS’ “Face the Nation.” In 1991 Balz was recognized by the American Political Science Association for his political coverage. He co-authored Storming the Gates: Protest Politics and the Republican Revival.

Johnson received the Pulitzer Prize in 1966 for distinguished national reporting of the civil rights struggle in Selma, Ala. He began working at the Washington Post in 1969 and was a national reporter, assistant managing editor and a national affairs columnist at the Post during his long tenure there. Johnson is also a frequent guest on PBS political programs. In addition, he has written several books, including The Bay of Pigs, Lyndon, The Working White House and Absence of Power.

The John Seigenthaler Center is located at 1207 18th Ave. S. All of the events are free and open to the public. Those planning to attend should leave a message on the First Amendment Center’s RSVP line, 615-727-1333. Free parking is available in Vanderbilt Lot 76 on 18th Avenue South.

For more information, contact either the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at 615-322-3175 or the First Amendment Center at 615-727-1600.

Media contact: Ann Marie Deer Owens, 615-322-NEWS

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