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Pride, Politics & Policy: Political journalists talk of lessons learned from past election

By Andrea Ordonez, News Editor

The Hofstra community felt a dose of "Super Thursday" action on March 29 with four high-profile speakers on campus to share their experiences with presidential candidates from 2008, and their predictions for this year's election.

At a late morning session, political journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin discussed their experiences with the different characters in their book, Game Change, and the new HBO film based on it. The University screened the film the night before Heilemann and Halperin's visit.

"Our idea was to take a story that people really interested in and had gotten a lot of attention, and to try and unearth events and relationships that hadn't really brought at forth during the course of the campaign," said Halperin.

Steve Schmidt, the senior campaign strategist and advisor to John McCain in 2008, sat between Heilemann and Halperin, and talked heavily about the changing perceptions of American politics.

"I think that this election on any given day much more resembles a reality show than it has a traditional political campaign," said Schmidt.  

While Schmidt has taken a break from campaigns and now works for MSNBC as an analyst, Heilemann and Halperin don't rest during an election year. They're already working on a sequel to Game Change.

"It'll be the exact same style and the same theory it had of sort of dealing with the story behind the story after the election," said Halperin.

On the same stage Watergate reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein spoke on nine days before, CNN's Wolf Blitzer shared how his college experiences and professors led to his many jobs in journalism, including his position as moderator for several presidential debates.

 "If you get a lucky break, don't coast with, don't waste it, don't misuse it," said Blitzer. "Ground it and make the most of it."       

Blitzer also gave his personal observations on President Obama.

"He was very confident in predicting that he would be re-elected, he flatly said he would be re-elected," said Blitzer. "He said he loves being President of the United States, it's the greatest job on earth."

The Debate 2012: Pride, Politics & Policy series continues in April with visits from Kalikow Center Senior Presidential Fellows Howard Dean III and Ed Rollins, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republicans R. Clarke Cooper.

Steve Schmidt was the senior campaign advisor of John McCain in 2008. (Photo by Harrison Knowles)

John Heilemann co-wrote Game Change (Photo by Harrison Knowles)

Mark Halperin, co-author of Game Change, told The Chronicle he and John Heilemann are working on a sequel book out Fall 2013. (Photo by Harrison Knowles)

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