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Dec. 15, 2005
Contact: Bill Lacy, Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, (785) 864-4900.

Dole Institute series to focus on first woman president, features Moseley-Braun

LAWRENCE -- The Dole Institute of Politics announced today that its 2006 Presidential Lecture series will focus on "The First Woman President" and will kick off with former presidential candidate Carol Moseley-Braun and two noted pollsters in separate programs in February. Several additional programs in the series will be announced next month.

"A woman will be elected president probably during our lifetimes," said Bill Lacy, director of the Dole Institute. "With more women seeking and being elected to major office it's a perfect time to explore this topic."

Moseley-Braun, who was the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate and was U.S. ambassador to New Zealand before her 2004 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, will initiate the lecture series at 8 p.m. Feb. 7 at the institute.

Pollsters Celinda Lake and Kellyanne Conway will discuss their book What Women Want in the context of presidential politics at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 at the institute. Lake, a Democrat, and Conway, a Republican, are highly respected pollsters who have worked for a number of campaigns and causes.

"We will talk about the unique electoral challenges women face in building credibility, raising funds and discussing issues," said Lacy. "And we will talk about how a female president might look at public policy differently and the different leadership style we would notice in a woman president."

Each lecture is free and open to the public. No reservation or ticket is required. The institute will host additional programs that will address political and policy questions regarding the first woman president.

During her campaign for president, Moseley-Braun often said she was running for president because it was time to "take the 'Men Only' sign off the White House door." She was endorsed by two leading women's groups – the National Organization for Women and the National Women's Political Caucus – but her campaign never gained traction and she withdrew four days before the 2004 Iowa caucus.

Moseley-Braun, 58, was a prosecutor in Chicago before serving 10 years in the Illinois House of Representatives and four years as Cook County Recorder of Deeds. She was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992, dubbed 'the year of the woman' by political observers when five women were elected to the Senate. She was defeated for re-election in 2000 and then was appointed an ambassador by then-President Bill Clinton.

Lake is considered one of the foremost experts on electing women candidates and framing issues to women voters. Known for her groundbreaking research on single women voters, she has helped elect numerous female candidates, including Democratic Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and Moseley-Braun's 1992 Senate campaign in Illinois. She also works for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Lake holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Smith College.

Conway has directed hundreds of demographic and attitudinal survey projects for statewide and congressional political races, measuring voter attitudes, client satisfaction and consumer opinion. Her clients have included Bob Dole's vice presidential running-mate Jack Kemp, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson and former Vice President Dan Quayle. A lawyer, she has degrees from George Washington University and Trinity College in Washington.

In their book, subtitled "How American Women Are Quietly Erasing Political, Racial, Class and Religious Lines to Change the Way We Live," Lake and Conway argue that "America has become women-centric, reaching its full expression in the first decade of the twenty-first century. As a not-so-silent majority of women – from seniors to boomers to Generations Z and Y – confront the singular challenge of recasting the nation in their image, they are shaking the culture to its core."

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