Friday, September 7, 2012

Renowned Political Writers Cramer and Bai Kick Off WC’s Lecture Series on U.S. Elections Sept. 18

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Two of America’s premier political reporters will kick off a four-part lecture series, “The Anatomy of an Election,” at Washington College on Tuesday, September 18. 

Matt Bai, author, columnist and chief political correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, and Richard Ben Cramer, author of What It Takes: The Way to the White House, widely acclaimed as one of the best books ever written on presidential politics, will talk about the 2012 election, American politics and the kinds of people it attracts.

The event, which is free and open to the public, begins at 5:30 p.m. in Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts, on the College campus, 300 Washington Avenue, in Chestertown.

Matt Bai covers politics for the
New York Times Magazine.
Bai has spent the past decade writing about politics for the Times, where he covered both the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns and is now covering the 2012 contest. He also writes the “Political Times” column for the Times politics and government blog, The Caucus. His critically acclaimed book The Argument: Inside the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics (Penguin, 2007) was named a Times Notable Book of the Year. He is currently working on a book about the failed era of boomer politics.

Cramer learned his politics as a cub reporter for The Baltimore Sun.  His newspaper career later carried him to the Middle East for The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he won a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. Subsequently, he became a magazine reporter, a bestselling author, a writer of TV documentaries and a resident of Chestertown.

Richard Ben Cramer wrote
the book on what it takes
to run for U.S. president.
“We are very excited to launch this election-season series with two great political journalists,” says Adam Goodheart, Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of the C. V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, which is co-sponsoring the series with the Goldstein Program in Public Affairs. “Matt Bai’s reporting is deeper, more timeless and, ultimately, much more informative than the common run of political news. And Richard Ben Cramer wrote the book that inspired Bai and an entire generation of young reporters to make politics their subject.”

The series continues Oct. 2 with Sasha Issenberg, a columnist for Slate and Washington correspondent for Monocle who covered the 2008 election for The Boston Globe. Issenberg will talk about his new book, The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns (Crown, 2012), which shows us the hidden persuaders behind the roller coaster that is the election news cycle.

On Oct. 16, Trevor Potter, the former chair of the Federal Election Commission who has been described by the American Bar Association Journal as “hands-down one of the top lawyers in the country on the delicate intersection of politics, law and money,” will talk about campaign finance. General counsel to John McCain’s 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns, he is the founding president and general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, which defends and enforces campaign finance, election and ethics laws.

The series concludes on Oct. 23 with Washington College alumnus Jack Bohrer ’06, who has written about politics for many publications, including The New Republic and Salon, along with Betsy Fischer, longtime executive producer of Meet the Press, and veteran political reporters James Hohmann and Jonathan Martin of Politico, talking about “Media and Personalities” in the presidential campaign.

Founded in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington, Washington College is a private, independent college of liberal arts and sciences located in colonial Chestertown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. For more information,

The College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience is dedicated to fostering innovative approaches to the American past and present. Through educational programs, scholarship and public outreach, and a special focus on written history, the Starr Center seeks to bridge the divide between the academic world and the public at large. For more information on the Center, visit

The Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs was established at the College in 1990 to encourage students to enter public service by introducing them to exemplary leaders, both in and out of government. The Goldstein Program sponsors lectures, symposia and visiting fellows, student participation in models and conferences, and other projects that bring students and faculty together with leaders experienced in developing public policy. For more information, visit

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