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Archive for Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dole Institute prepares schedule in run-up to election

September 9, 2008

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With less than two months until Election Day, Kansas University's Dole Institute of Politics is rolling out a fall series that showcases many of the issues surrounding the presidential campaign.

The series, "POTUS 44 - The Next President of the United States," begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday with 2008 Dole Fellows Joe Gaylord and Ray Strother. Gaylord, a Republican strategist, and Strother, a Democratic consultant, will discuss how the campaigns are reacting to the political climate.

"All of these programs are ones that we felt were a critical component of the fall," said Bill Lacy, the Dole Institute's director. "We're going to really try to get the students and members of the community to hear from a huge array of practitioners and journalists, and people from both parties and from different philosophical points of view."

Lacy, who served as campaign manager to former presidential hopeful Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., said working on the campaign gave him new insight to politics.

The series includes discussions about the controversial Electoral College, the top political films of all time, a former CNN pundit's look at Republican policies and a look at undecided voters.

"Our goal for the public is to have them be better informed about the campaigns, to understand and hear a wide variety of perspective on the campaigns. It's really to make a better informed electorate and to encourage them to participate," Lacy said.

Wednesday night's event precedes KU's Civic Engagement Week, which lasts from Sept. 26 to Oct. 15.

State Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, associate director for outreach at the Dole Institute, said the two-and-a-half week program gives students a way to learn more about not only the presidential race, but also about local races and community involvement.

"Often what they'll say about our students is that they're apathetic about (politics), but the whole idea is that if they're informed about it, involved in it, they're not apathetic," she said.

For a complete schedule on the Dole Institute's series, visit doleinstitute.org. KU's Civic Engagement Week schedule hasn't been released.

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