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Feb. 20, 2008
Contact: Jonathan Earle, Dole Institute of Politics, (785) 864-4900.

Political journalists, historians headline Presidential Lecture Series

LAWRENCE — The Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas has announced programs for its 2008 Presidential Lecture Series, titled “The American Presidency: Past, Present and Future.” Four programs will take place in late February and early March. All will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Dole Institute and are free and open to the public.

“Viewed against the backdrop of the current campaign, interest in the presidency has never been higher,” said Jonathan Earle, interim director of the Dole Institute. “For this year’s series, we are focusing on a former president, the current occupant of the White House and the trio of compelling major candidates running to succeed him. There should be something for everyone.”

A panel of political journalists will kick off the series with talk of the future presidency in “Straight From the Trail: Part I” on Tuesday, Feb. 26. Part I will feature Jill Zuckman of the Chicago Tribune, Steve Kraske of the Kansas City Star and Joel Mathis of RedBlueAmerica.com. Zuckman works in the Tribune’s Washington, D.C., bureau and closely follows John McCain’s presidential campaign. Kraske is the Kansas City Star’s premier political correspondent. Mathis is the blue moderator and blogger on Red Blue America, a political Web site that strives to present both sides of contemporary issues.

On Thursday, Feb. 28, the lecture series will focus on the George W. Bush administration with “Reagan’s Disciple,” which will feature authors Lou and Carl Cannon. The father-son duo will discuss whether President Bush altered the conservative landscape in America and reshaped Ronald Reagan conservatism. Both are co-authors of “Reagan’s Disciple: George W. Bush’s Troubled Quest for a Presidential Legacy.” Lou Cannon, who kicked off the 2005 Presidential Lecture Series, is one of Reagan’s foremost biographers. Carl Cannon is an author and the White House correspondent for the National Journal. A book signing will follow the program.

“Straight from the Trail: Part II” will take place on Thursday, March 6, with reporters Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times; Chris Cillizza of WashingtonPost.com; and Geoff Earle of the New York Post. Sweet is on the trail with Barack Obama’s camp, and Earle is traveling with Hillary Clinton. Cillizza is the editor of “The Fix,” a political blog at the Washington Post.

The final event in this year’s series will examine lessons from the Eisenhower era with “Ike’s Final Battle” on Tuesday, March 11. Political historian Kasey Pipes will examine Eisenhower’s presidency and the civil rights movement. Pipes is a former speech writer for the Bush administration and is author of “Ike’s Final Battle: The Road to Little Rock and the Challenge of Equality.” A book signing will follow.

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