WHO: American University experts
WHAT: President Obama’s State of the Union 2014 speech
WHEN: January 21 - ongoing
WHERE: In–studio, on campus, via telephone
WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 21, 2014): President Obama’s State of the Union speech could be the most important of his second term as the country heads into mid-term elections. American University experts are available to discuss the speechmaking process; prominent domestic and foreign policy issues highlighted in the speech; and historical traditions underpinning the event.
Speech, Political Communication and Media Experts
Robert Lehrman, public communication professor, is former chief speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore and author of the The Political Speechwriter's Companion (CQPress 2009). Lehrman is the author of thousands of speeches for politicians, heads of corporations and nonprofits. Lehrman writes often about politics and other topics, and conducts speechwriting workshops in the U.S. and abroad.
Leonard Steinhorn, professor of communication and affiliate professor of history, is an expert in American politics, culture and media, strategic communication, the presidency, and recent American history. Steinhorn can comment on the politics and history of the State of the Union speech and what President Obama must accomplish in the speech to regain his political momentum.
Dotty Lynch, public communication professor, serves as a political consultant for CBS News doing on-air radio analysis. Lynch worked the 2012 election from New York as an exit poll consultant for CBS News.
Jane Hall, journalism professor, specializes in media and politics, particularly issues relevant to young people.
Income Inequality/Political Behavior Expert
Jan Leighley, government professor, focuses her research on American political behavior, voter turnout, media and politics, and racial/ethnic political behavior. She is co-author of the critically acclaimed new book, Who Votes Now?: Demographics, Issues, Inequality, and Turnout in the United States which identifies the trend of the rich consistently voting more than the poor for the past four decades, and that voters are substantially more conservative in their economic views. Leighley is available to discuss proposals to address income inequality and how the midterm elections may affect action on addressing the gap.
Carolyn Brown, communication professor, specializes in immigration/the border, Latino immigrant communities, and anti-immigrant militia groups. She recently produced an award-winning documentary, From the Fields: An American Journey. Brown just released the trailer for her new film The Salinas Project, which follows four young people, the children of immigrant farm workers, in Salinas, California.Alan Kraut, professor of history, can discuss U.S. immigration issues. Kraut is a non-resident fellow of the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., chairs the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island History Advisory Committee and is a consultant to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. He is an historical consultant and the prize-winning author or editor of nine books and numerous scholarly articles.
Presidential HistoriansAllan Lichtman, distinguished professor of history, is an expert on the presidency, American political history, presidential campaigns, voting behavior, and public opinion. Lichtman, is renowned for his "13 Keys" system, which has consistently predicted presidential winners. Lichtman can comment on legislative priorities and the significance of the speech as the country heads into midterm elections.
Anita McBride, executive in residence, most recently served as chief of staff to First Lady Laura Bush and served in the last three Republican administrations. McBride runs the First Ladies’ program and is a fellow in American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies. McBride can discuss the tradition of the First Lady box and the message the administration tries to convey.
James Thurber is the director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies. Thurber is an expert on campaigns and elections, presidential-congressional relations, and author of Obama in Office (2011). Thurber can address what the White House and Congress can accomplish.Jennifer Lawless, director of the Women and Politics Institute, is a nationally recognized expert on women's involvement in politics and women’s issues. Her latest book is Becoming a Candidate: Political Ambition and the Decision to Run for Office (2012). Lawless can address speech highlights, constituencies, and issue groups.
Connie Morella, ambassador in residence, represented Maryland’s 8th district in Congress from 1987 to 2003. In Congress, Morella was a well-known moderate. In addition to teaching at American University, Ambassador Morella is the president of the United States Association of Former Members of Congress. Morella can speak about the current atmosphere on Capitol Hill and the impact the midterm elections will have on President Obama’s agenda.Patrick Griffin is the academic director of the Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute and served as legislative affairs director in the Clinton administration. Griffin also has served in various roles in the U.S. Senate including as a staff member on the Senate Democratic Policy Committee and the Senate Budget Committee. Griffin can discuss Obama’s legislative priorities including immigration and the amount of time he has to achieve them.
Richard Benedetto is a journalism professor who served as a White House correspondent and columnist for USA Today and political columnist for Gannett News Service. Benedetto covered the White House from Reagan through George W. Bush and can speak to how U.S. Presidents use the speech during their terms of office.Foreign Policy
Gordon Adams, professor of U.S. foreign policy, served as the associate director for national security at the Office of Management and Budget, the senior White House official for national security and foreign policy budgets. Adams is available to discuss budgets, foreign policy, and defense policy issues mentioned in the State of the Union.Tax PolicyDavid Kautter, is managing director of the Kogod Tax Center and executive in residence in the department of accounting and taxation. Previously, Kautter served as Ernst & Young's Director of National Tax, the chief operating executive for the firm's national tax practices. Kautter has written extensively on tax law, policy and compliance issues. Kautter can address efforts to reform the tax code including corporate tax reform.American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and nearly 140 countries. Located in Washington, D.C., the university provides opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation’s capital and around the world.