Tuesday, 04 November 2008 12:48

Gergen: For Obama, bigger is much, much better

…From David Gergen’s post on the AC 360 blog for CNN…

With victory almost in his grasp, the looming question for Barack Obama is whether he will squeak by or whether he can roll up the score. It will matter enormously to his leadership as President.

For Obama supporters, just climbing to the top of the mountain with 270 electoral votes has always seemed daunting enough. And they are right. After all, Democrats have seen triumphs slip away from them so often—they have lost 7 of the past 10 presidential elections—that they are extremely uneasy that the Republicans can pull an upset this time, too. It seems unlikely after a raft of national polls this weekend showed Obama with a national lead of around 7 points—and by some estimates in double digits. Still, there were also unsettling state polls last night by the Mason Dixon firm showing McCain closing in fast in North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Missouri. Who can say for sure that Pennsylvania will remain blue. It ain’t over ’till it’s over.

Thursday, 11 September 2008 12:13

ServiceNation interviews Obama & McCain tonight

Following the tragedy of September 11th, Americans, realizing the imminent needs of so many, volunteered in record numbers for scores of public service enterprises. And now, seven years later, that sentiment is being stoked by ServiceNation—a conglomerate of social ventures that seeks to make public service a top priority of the incoming administration and the US government, more broadly.

On this day of remembrance and reflection, both presidential campaigns have agreed to suspend political activities out of respect to those that lost their lives in the most devastating terrorist attack on American soil. A joint appearance, to pay their respects at the site of the World Trade Center, will be followed by a Presidential Forum on Service at Columbia University, sponsored by ServiceNation. Judy Woodruff of PBS and Richard Stengel of Time will interview the candidates live on CNN at 8 p.m. (EST) tonight.

This conversation kicks off a two-day summit in New York City. CPL director David Gergen, a member of the ServiceNation leadership council, will be moderating a panel discussion tomorrow on “Creating a ServiceNation: What will it take to finally break through?” Check back for a report on the discussion following the summit.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008 12:09

Conventions: condensed

After two weeks of convening in Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul, the nominees for president have charged out of gates and into the general election season. In the midst of the media saturation that accompanied the quadrennial political gatherings, many CPL voices shared their thoughts and insight into the process, the politics, and the fanfare. Here is a brief recap of the must reads from CPL affiliates: past, present, and future…

» Morra Aarons-Mele (MPA ‘08) opines for the Guardian on the historical significance of Obama’s nomination.

» Steve Grove (MPP ‘06), head of news and politics for YouTube, and the rest of the YouChoose ‘08 team did some great reporting and reflection on both of the conventions.

» CPL director David Gergen blogged for Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN.com throughout the marathon of proceedings.

» And our friends at the Institute of Politics produced all types of great media for their Campus Voices project.

If we missed any other CPL convention coverage, be sure to add it in the comments section so that we can all keep up with our prolific affiliates and alums.

Monday, 25 August 2008 12:04

Gergen: Opening of historic convention

…From David Gergen’s post on the AC 360 blog for CNN…

As the Democrats open their convention in Denver, these quick thoughts:

HISTORIC: Whether or not they win the White House, this Democratic convention represents an historic breakthrough. Remember that this is a party whose roots rest deep in the soil of slavery and Jim Crow. Only with the coming of John Kennedy to the White House and then, especially, the passage of the Civil Rights laws of 1964 and 1965 under Lyndon Johnson did Democrats win the allegiance of black Americans. And now they become the first party ever to nominate a black America. Win or lose in November, this represents a huge advance for the party—and the country.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008 11:51

Gergen: Obama: In need of a game changer

…From David Gergen’s post on the AC 360 blog for CNN…

Say what you will about Republicans making a muddle of governing, but they sure know how to campaign. The turn of events that John McCain and his team have engineered in recent weeks is one of the most significant events of the campaign and now poses a serious threat of an upset this fall.

In just a few short weeks, they have not only thrown Barack Obama on the defensive and made him seem smaller but they have also made McCain seem larger and more commanding. And it has not just been one event but a string of them that they have tied together to propel McCain upward—from the ads (which most of us in the media didn’t like) to the way McCain seized upon the drilling and Russian issues to his winsome performance at Saddleback. The capacity to create issues and momentum practically out of the ether is the sign of a strong campaign. Both McCain and his team are impressing voters.

Monday, 18 August 2008 11:42

Gergen: Is the tide turning?

…From David Gergen’s post on the AC 360 blog for CNN…

Heading into the candidates’ appearances on Saturday night at Saddleback Church, the conventional wisdom in politics was Barack Obama should have a clear upper hand in any joint appearance with John McCain—one the young, eloquent, cool, charismatic dude who can charm birds from the trees, the other the meandering, sometimes bumbling, old fellow who can barely distinguish Sunnis from Shiias.

Thursday, 14 August 2008 00:00

Gergen: Different paths on Georgia

…From David Gergen’s post on the AC 360 blog for CNN…

I’m unfortunately stuck in an airport tonight and cannot join the discussion about the way the candidates have responded to the recent face-off between Russia and Georgia. Perhaps I can add two cents on the blog.

As a general proposition, Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama took different paths that represent two different approaches to foreign policy. Obama was much more the pragmatic, taking a cautious stance at first, calling for negotiations, when the facts were murky and it appeared there was some fault on both sides. As the Russians became more brutal and clearly went over the line, he hardened up, while still emphasizing the ultimate need for negotiations. In all of this, he was acting in concert with the Bush administration as well as NATO allies.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008 00:00

Gergen: Did Obama make a mistake?

…From David Gergen’s post on Anderson Cooper 360 blog for CNN…

Hello everyone—tried to post a blog earlier but I am afraid that it got lost in the system—perhaps it was eaten by that dog!

Anyway, to be brief, was trying to say tonight on air that I welcome the Obama trip overseas—and hope it sets a precedent for all future candidates. At the same time, as an old-fashioned institutionalist who was strongly shaped by working in the White House, I believe that whether a President is right or wrong on policy, we have only one President at a time and he must be the chief negotiator with other countries, especially in a time of war.

It is not clear that Senator Obama was trying to negotiate with Maliki—probably just the opposite—but in issuing that statement after the meeting, he left himself open to the charge that he was.

That’s why I thought it was a mistake—the first in what has been so far a very successful trip.

Hope this helps. Thanks.

…To comment on this post please visit Anderson Cooper 360 blog

Wednesday, 09 July 2008 00:00

Gergen: What is the Iran connection?

…From David Gergen’s post on Anderson Cooper 360 blog for CNN…

It looks like gas could hit $5 a gallon shortly and perhaps even $6 a gallon by the end of the year. This is a huge problem for drivers, the auto industry and airlines, of course. And it could lead to significant changes in the way we live.

It also might have some grab in the presidential campaign: how much is the rumbling over a possible strike against Iran driving up prices? There was a lot of speculation last week about that. Then the price of oil went down yesterday because nothing happened over the weekend regarding Iran.

…From David Gergen’s post on Anderson Cooper 360 blog for CNN…

The latest remarks by James Dobson, just like those yesterday by Karl Rove and Charlie Black, are sure to stir up a public fuss. Every presidential campaign brings these flare-ups when partisans let fly with criticisms about rival candidates (sometimes off the wall, as these seem) and naturally enough, the news media focuses in.

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