Chestertown, MD — With the most exciting Presidential election in recent memory just weeks away, three legendary figures from the arena of presidential politics are ducking out of the fray for a rare public appearance here in Chestertown.
On Tuesday, Sept. 23, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and author Richard Ben Cramer will host "The Great Horse-Race: Talking Presidential Politics" with campaign gurus Mike Murphy and Joe Trippi, at the historic Prince Theatre in downtown Chestertown. The event, which begins at 5 p.m., is sponsored by Washington College's C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.
Cramer is the author of What It Takes: The Way to the White House, widely considered one of the best books on American presidential politics ever written. A 1,000-page Homeric tale of the 1988 political race (it took Cramer six years to research and write it), What It Takesrenders unforgettable six candidates—Bob Dole, Joe Biden, Michael Dukakis, Dick Gephardt, Gary Hart and the senior George Bush—and their epic quests (which began, in this telling, the moment they were born) for the Presidency.
A prominent Republican analyst in the current presidential race (you can see him almost every day on MSNBC), Mike Murphy was Bob Dole's advisor in 1988. But Murphy has also been the architect of more than 26 successful gubernatorial and senatorial contests, including the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor of California. He has worked for Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Tommy Thompson and Lamar Alexander, and was chief strategist for John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign. The Boston Globe once described him as "an uproarious character [who] calls politics 'a weird kind of show business.'"
Murphy writes frequently for The Weekly Standard and National Public Radio, has been a Harvard fellow and is a founding partner at the Washington-based public policy management firm DC Navigators. He lives in Los Angeles, where he also works as a writer and producer in another "weird kind of show business"—the Hollywood entertainment industry.
CBS News Consultant Joe Trippi was a senior advisor to John Edwards before Edwards dropped out of the race last year, and he was Dick Gephardt's strategist in 1988. But Trippi is best known for his extraordinary work on Howard Dean's 2004 campaign, when The New Republic touted him on its cover as "The Man Who Reinvented Campaigning." His book The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, the Internet and the Overthrow of Everythingdetails his groundbreaking use of the Internet, not just to raise record amounts of money and disseminate his candidate's message, but to actually foment and organize a national grassroots political movement. He has worked on the presidential campaigns of Edward M. Kennedy, Walter Mondale and Gary Hart. Another former Harvard fellow, he is a prolific blogger and heads the Washington, D.C., political consulting firm, Trippi & Associates. He lives in Easton, Md.
"In my experience, Mike Murphy and Joe Trippi are the two most brilliant political operatives working today, distinguished for their lucidity and candor," says Cramer. "Also, they happen to be very funny."
About the C.V. Starr Center
The C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience explores our nation's history—and particularly the legacy of its Founding era—in innovative ways. Through educational programs, scholarship, and public outreach, and especially by supporting and fostering the art of written history, the Starr Center seeks to bridge the divide between past and present, and between the academic world and the public at large. From its base in the circa-1746 Custom House along Chestertown's colonial waterfront, the Center also serves as a portal onto a world of opportunities for Washington College students. Its guiding principle is that now more than ever, a wider understanding of our shared past is fundamental to the continuing success of America's democratic experiment. For more information on the Center and on the Patrick Henry Fellowship, visit http://starrcenter.washcoll.edu.
September 5, 2008