The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Forum examines strategies of presidential campaigns

The department of political science at CSUN held a presidential election forum Monday, Sept. 15 in the Grand Salon where panelists of both parties, Democrats and Republicans, fired their standing points.

Panelists were asked to give their different outlooks on the strategic contexts of the campaign and in which direction it is heading.

John Shallman, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin, who’s also a director of the Wisconsin Advertising Project and a democrat, said, ‘It’s been an amazing year whether you’re a democrat or a republican.’

Shallman addressed the issue about Barack Obama and how this election ‘became what a lot of people fear ‘- a racial campaign.’

Shallman admitted that the problem of the Democratic Party is the tremendous focus on Sarah Palin rather than John McCain.

‘Let’s get away from the traditional campaign of negative television ads’hellip;(The candidates) should sit next to each other and talk about what change really is,’ Shallman said.

Democrat Chris Kofinis, the communications director of John Edwards’ presidential campaign, said politics is not a soft sport. He talked about how the GOP has been trying to bring out all the negatives about Obama.

‘Every time (Democrats) put Obama’s positive message out, republicans turn it to negative’hellip;It’s a win for them,’ said Kofinis.

In Kofinis’ opinion, both parties are going to fight every single day for the rest of the campaign trying to get their message out.

‘What the Democrats did in their campaign convention in Denver was so amazing,’ said Kofinis, ‘and what the Republicans did the next day is squash it by introducing Sarah Palin as a vice president.’

Kofinis said he believes ‘the critical moments in this election’ are the debates and the key points that will come with them.

Wrapping up his answer, Kofinis brought the attention of the audience to how the economy is doing, saying, ‘it’s not in good shape.’

Matt Klink, a republican political consultant and the executive vice president of Cerrell Associates, also shared his thoughts about the election.

‘It’s a victory for the Republicans, whether you like it or not,’ Klink said.

Klink said what McCain did a day after the democratic convention in Denver was fascinating when he introduced Sarah Palin as a vice president.

‘It flipped the election on its head,’ he said. The way the democrats showed their reacting towards McCain’s choice was by attacking Sarah Palin for being a mayor of a small city, and that was of an amusement for Klink to watch. He said democrats attacked Palin because they saw a woman who was ‘on the ticket’ who happened to be pro-life, and ‘it was out of their limited mind set’hellip;Many democrats refer to Palin as a ‘republican blowup doll’,’ he said.

Klink said he was worried that if McCain loses Florida or Ohio, the election will be over for the GOP.

‘If the election is looked at as McCain equals Bush third term, then Obama wins,’ Klink said.

Kat Connolly, who is a registered democrat and the president of Connolly Consulting, said this is the most fascinating election she has ever witnessed.

‘(Obama) is really talking about change; his message is a new glass of water,’ Connolly said.

One of her main concerns that she has seen in the past elections is the drop in the numbers of voter participants, and while this election has shifted that path to increase the numbers once more, she said, ‘no matter who wins, I am excited that people are getting involved’hellip;We have the freedom to vote and choose, this elections is bringing that to the table.’

All the panelists came to the agreement that the messages are the key in leading to successful campaigns.

Kofinis, in support of Shallman’s answer, said, ‘Ask yourself, are you better off now than you were eight years ago?’

Connolly said that what is happening now is that the country is ‘hungry for change’ and voters are not stupid or ignorant to not see who is hiding their messages and who isn’t. ‘My hope is people are desperate for change’hellip; the new generation is willing to take risks because they need to be convinced,’ she said.

Why people are focusing so much on Sarah Palin is because the messages she has are unclear and ‘she shoots from the hip,’ Connolly said.

Kofinis stressed the unexpected and shocking pick of Palin as the republican vice president nominee, but he also stated that the campaign focus should not be about Palin, but about McCain.

One of the students asked Connolly about the surge in Afghanistan and how successful she feels it has been.

‘Our troops there feel forgotten, I was there last year and I saw everything,’ Connolly answered. ‘They go through psychological tests each months, and the results came back to be worse than anything anyone has ever seen’hellip;Even worse than Vietnam.’

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