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The election08 blog is part of the interactive community of American Studies Leipzig. It seeks to give its readers a European American Studies perspective on the 2008 US presidential election. Our students put the election into a broader context, explaining the issues and their place within the academic debate. Thus, the blog fosters the dialog among the students, faculty, and the general public. Our most regular contributions are by Caterina Rost, an American Studies Leipzig student traveling the United States during the campaign season. Faculty and guest bloggers will join in.

Feel free to comment and engage in the debate!



Inauguration Event Draws Enormous Crowd

Today's inauguration event drew an unexpected crowd as over 200 people showed up for a live viewing of President Obama taking the oath of office, the inauguration speech, and discussions. On the panel, American Studies Leipzig faculty discussed with Consul General Katherine Brucker, and affiliated faculty joining the discussion from Oklahoma and Washington DC.

by Sebastian M. Herrmann, 3 comments

U.S. Presidential Inauguration Multimedia Roundtable

Update: Please see our report page for more information.

American Studies Leipzig is pleased to announce

The ASL 2009 U.S. Presidential Inauguration Multimedia Roundtable 

by Caterina Rost, 3 comments

For the Addicts: Fighting the Post-Election Hangover

For those of us who got used to checking out the latest polling data starting around 6pm in the afternoon and making this a central element of their procrastination schedule, the election was a real bummer. Not because of the result, but because the numbers game is over now.

by Sebastian M. Herrmann, 0 comments

American Studies Leipzig Election Wrapup

The evening after the 2008 presidential election, about 50-60 American Studies Leipzig students gathered for a two-hour discussion with Prof. Paul Rundquist. Rundquist talked about how political interventions such as the 1971 busing decision by the Supreme Court might have helped reduce racism, about the electoral map as it emerged after the election, the question of voter turn-out, and the role Obama's social networking platform and databases might play in the upcoming presidency.

by webmaster, 0 comments

Post-Election Roundtable - Please Join Us!


The Day After: Analyzing the Election Results

A Roundtable with Professor Paul Rundquist

Wednesday, 5 November, 19:00-21:00

Dresdner Bank (am Dittrichring), Room 13

by Andrea Siebeck, 0 comments

Students Party for Election, MDR reports

For more on the election, see the American Studies Leipzig Election Blog

On Nov. 4th, American Studies Leipzig students celebrated a warm-up party for the upcoming presidential election. They met over beer, pizza, and snacks to get ready for a long night of watching TV and following the results as they came in.

Pre-Election Party
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Pre-Election Party
Pre-Election Party
Pre-Election Party
Pre-Election Party
Pre-Election Party
Pre-Election Party
Pre-Election Party
Images tagged preelection

For more pictures, please see the institute's picasa page.

by webmaster, 0 comments

Halloween & Politics: The Candy Vote

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Early Results to Watch for on Election Night



Rost says I should post some stuff to the blog.  Well, here goes.

Yes, I know that you are eager election watchers, but the polls don't close until 1 a.m. German time at the earliest.  So, if you need some sleep, here are some tips for things to watch for during the early election returns.

by Paul Rundquist, 1 comments

Pictures Published on the Huffington Post

Some of my pictures got published on the Huffington's Post campaign blog "Off the Bus." To see them, click here.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Senatorial Races to Watch: Dole vs. Hagan (North Carolina)

In North Carolina, the senatorial race has recently turned very ugly. Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole is fighting it out with Democratic candidate Kay Hagan. According the latest polls, Kay Hagan is leading Elizabeth Dole by an average of 3.2 percent. Consequently, incumbent Dole got anxious. Her fear of loosing her senate seat to the Democratic challenger Hagan culminated in an ad that has been widely criticized in the media (see below, both CNN clips include the Dole ad).

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Get Out the Vote in Virginia Beach

In einigen Minuten mach ich mich auf den Weg von Virginia Beach. Übers Wochenende werde ich für das Obama Camp in Süd Virginia unterwegs sein. Was ich da genau mache, weiss ich noch nicht. Heute Abend gibt's einen Workshop in dem uns erklärt wird, was wir machen sollen.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

NYT: Following the Script: Obama, McCain and The West Wing

I knew it... Today the New York Times featured an article that describes the similarities of the last two seasons of "The West Wing" and the current presidential election. It's stunning and if you haven't seen the series yet, you should, it's fabulous.

When Eli Attie, a writer for “The West Wing,” prepared to plot some episodes about a young Democratic congressman’s unlikely presidential bid, he picked up the phone and called David Axelrod.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Minnesota Senate Race Update

The Huffington Post reports: 

"Court Docs: GOP Donor Secretly Funneled $75K To Coleman Family"

"Norm Coleman Sues Al Franken For Defamation"

The October 29 Rasmussen poll has Coleman up by 4 percentage points.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Senatorial Races to Watch: Stevens vs. Begich (Alaska)

Another congressional race to watch is the senate race in Alaska. Incumbent Republican Senator Ted Stevens, who is the longest-serving Republican senator in the U.S. Senate, has a tougher time than expected defending his seat. The Republican has recently been indicted for lying about gifts he received causing the Republican leadership in Washington to call for his resignation. But Ted fights on. The first poll after the indictment shows a clear advantage for Begich.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

What If Obama Loses?

The polls have been very clear over the last couple of months: An Obama victory on November 4th seems very likely according to the pollsters. Some commentators have even started talking about the possibility of a landslide. And they have good reason to speculate, states that haven't voted for a Democrat for President in decades are suddenly in play. Even Georgia is getting close.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Controversial Interview: Florida Reporter Questioning Biden

The following interview on a local Florida TV station (WFTV, Orlando, FL) made the national news. According to news reports, the interviewer, Barbara West, is married to a Republican media consultant. It shows in the questions. See for yourself:

by Caterina Rost, 1 comments

"In a week and a half, it'll be over. What will we do to fill the void in our lives?"

In today's Washington Post, Eugene Robinson,  compared the campaign with an "epic novel." Here is an excerpt (for the whole article, click here):

"It feels as if we've been making our way through some great epic novel, by Tolstoy, perhaps, or Thomas Pynchon -- a book peopled by indelible characters who act against the backdrop of sweeping events. Just think back to where we started. On New Year's Day, the conventional wisdom was that the general election would be an Empire State contest between Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Senatorial Races to Watch: Franken vs. Coleman (Minnesota)

Former comedian Al Franken is running against freshman Senator Norm Coleman for a senate seat in Minnesota. The race has become a wild card. After leading the polls in double digits, Coleman is losing ground to Al Franken, who is now pulling ahead in the polls. The Big12Battleground poll has Franken leading Coleman by 6 percent, a recent Rasmussen poll has Franken up by 4 percent. The independent candidate Barkley makes things even more unpredictable.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

"Unbelievable McCain Vs. Obama Dance-Off"

Here is an entertaining video I just found through the Huffington Post. I dedicate this to all Hip Hop Awareness activists. To check it out, click here.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Ohio Update (Video)

I know that there are Americans, who still believe that Obama is a muslim and there will always be some. Racism will probably always exist to some extend. And I won't forget a conversation I had with a local in Ohio. who implied the possibility that Obama is the anti christ. I should be used to this, but nevertheless, I found this video rather  disturbing: 

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Reviving McCarthyism: Rep. Bachmann, Palin, and the New Republican Strategy?

In an interview on MSNBC's Hardball on October 17th, the Republican Representative Michele Bachmann (Minnesota) called on the media to investigate, which members of Congress are anti-American. Bachmann's attempt to revitalize the 1950s McCarthyism triggered uproar among progressives and helped her opponent, Democrat Elwyn Tinklenberg, who raised a million dollars in the days following Bachmann's interview with Chris Matthews. As a consequence of her remarks, the Republican National Committee withdrew funds that it had planned to spend on ads for Bachmann.

Extract from the controversial interview:

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Drinking Liberally: Ein Prost auf Joe den Klempner

Den folgenden Artikel habe ich für das Nachrichtenportal Zoomer.de geschrieben. Eine ganze Reihe deutscher Studierender berichten für das Nachrichtenportal aus den USA , darunter sind auch eine handvoll Leipziger Studierende. Zoomer gehört zum Tagesspiegel.

Die Anwesenden waren sich einig: Nachdem John McCain, Joe den Klempner während der letzten TV-Debatte der beiden Präsidentschaftskandidaten zum dritten Mal genannt hatte, wurde aus der halb metaphorischen, halb realen Konstruktion, mit deren Hilfe die unentschlossenen Durchschnittsamerikaner angesprochen werden sollten, ein Trinkspiel. Jedes Mal, wenn einer der beiden Kandidaten "Joe" erwähnte — insgesamt elf Mal — hoben die Anwesenden die Gläser.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Campus Voices

I found out about this interesting website today...


It lets students report about the election campaign from their perspective. Thirteen universities nationwide are part of this broad debate, including Tufts University where I am at the moment. Students can upload articles, videos, and pictures, to discuss the issues they care about. So check it out.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Visiting the Battleground State Ohio

The election campaign was far more visible on the campus of Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus than in Kansas or Oklahoma. But that comes as no surprise since Ohio is one of the key battleground states in this years’ election. In 2004, Ohio won Bush Jr. his second term. But a lot of questions were raised about the validity of the process. One of the documentaries that takes a look at the role of the Buckeye state Ohio in the 2004 election is “So Goes the Nation.”

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

"What's the Matter with Kansas?"

Den folgenden Artikel habe ich für das Nachrichtenportal Zoomer.de geschrieben. Eine ganze Reihe deutscher Studierender berichten für das Nachrichtenportal aus den USA , darunter sind auch eine handvoll Leipziger Studierende. Zoomer gehört zum Tagesspiegel.

Politik spielt in Kansas eine untergeordnete Rolle.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

The Biden/Palin Debate. A Few Quick Thoughts.

First of all, I'm relatively relieved that the debate does not seem to have turned out a game changer (the NYT, e.g., asserts that it was not a tipping point). My biggest fear had been that, somehow, the expectations game would work and Palin, going into the debate on her disastrous interviews, would be celebrated as surprisingly strong.

by Sebastian M. Herrmann, 0 comments

Debatte Nr. 1: Report aus Oklahoma (inkl. Video)

Ich habe die Debatte in Oklahoma verfolgt. Prof. Alpers, der ehemalige Leipziger Fulbright Gastprofessor den ich hier in Oklahoma besuche, und ich sind kurz vor 8 PM CT bei der Watchparty der Studentenorganisation „OU Votes“ angekommen. Ca. 50 Studierende hatten sich im Institut für Journalistik, wo die Party stattfand, versammelt um die Debatte und das kostenlose Essen zu genießen. Während der Debatte, blieben die Studierenden erstaunlich still, abgesehen von einigen Lachern, die der Moderator Jim Lehrer erntete.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

The Bailout & Presidential Politics

Prof. Tepker, OU Law School About the Bailout Plan: 

Former ASL Fulbright Prof. Alpers About the Presidential Debate and Economy: 

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Demokraten in Oklahoma

Seit Mittwoch bin ich in Norman, Oklahoma. Erstaunlicherweise habe ich die meiste Zeit in einem für Oklahoma sehr untypischen Umfeld verbracht: umringt von Demokraten. Was allerdings weniger verwunderlich erscheint, wenn man in Anbetracht zieht, dass der Bezirk, in dem ich mich aufhalte, der einzige Bezirk in ganz Oklahoma ist, der 2004 für John Kerry gestimmt hat.


by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Road Trip: Mittlerer Westen und Nordosten der USA

Die letzten Wochen seit meiner Rückkehr von den Parteitagen war ich in Washington DC, meiner „Homebase“ hier in den USA. In Washington war ich in der Library of Congress, dem Hauptquartier der Demokraten und der Republikaner, sowie der George Washington Graduate School of Political Management. Außerdem habe ich natürlich die Gelegenheit genutzt mich mit Freunden zu treffen, die ich letztes Jahr während meines Praktikums im House of Representatives kennen gelernt habe.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Debate Season Looms

Eight quick thoughts on the arrival of debate season….

by Ben Alpers, 0 comments

They're Called Convention Bounces for a Reason


For those of you new to the dynamics of U.S. presidential elections, the Democratic and Republican Conventions each tend to create a “convention bounce”: an increase in the poll numbers for their candidate and his party.  The size of these bounces varies from year to year and convention to convention, but the reasons for their existence are clear.  While conventions were once where presidential candidates were actual chosen, where party leaders entered the infamous smoke-filled rooms and hashed out the deals that would give someone the majority (or in the case of the Democrats before the 1930s the supermajority) of the delegates necessary to secure the nomination, since the 1970s, there has been little real drama about who will emerge as the parties’ nominees once the conventions role around.

by Ben Alpers, 2 comments

Registrierung von Wahlberechtigten

In den USA ist das mit dem Wählen gar nicht so einfach. Die wahlberichtigten Bürger können nicht einfach mit ihrem Wahlschein am Wahltag im Wahllokal aufkreuzen wie wir Deutschen das gewöhnt sind. Die Amerikaner müssen sich rechtzeitig als Wähler registrieren lassen, wobei die Frage was „rechtzeitig“ ist abhängig ist vom jeweiligen Bundesstaat in dem man wählt.

In den meisten Bundesstaaten ist die Wählerregistrierungsdeadline Anfang Oktober. Einige wenige Staaten lassen Registrierung am Wahltag zu, darunter sind Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Wisconsin und Wyoming. North Dakota ist der einzige Bundesstaat, in dem keine Wählerregistrierung nötig ist. Aber in North Dakota wohnen auch nur etwas mehr als eine halbe Millionen Menschen.

by Caterina Rost, 1 comments

Saturday Night Life: Hillary Clinton vs. Sarah Palin Parodie

Die Saison-Premiere der Comedy Sendung "Saturday Night Life (SNL)" war ein Paukenschlag. Mit einer Paradie der Republikanischen Vizepräsidentschaftskandidation Sarah Palin und Hillary Clinton haben die Macher von SNL einen Volltreffer gelandet. Nach der Erstausstrahlung des Sketches, wurde dieser in unzähligen Nachrichtensendungen wiederholt ausgestrahlt.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

"Infiltrierte Republikaner"

Der Blogger und Autor Michael Connery hat beim Parteitag der Republikaner deren Studenten Organisation infiltriert. Vor ein paar Monaten hatte ich Connerys Buch "Youth to Power: How Today's Young Voters Are Building Tomorrow's Progressive Majority" gelesen. Beim Parteitag der Republikaner habe ich Connery dann persönlich kennen gelernt.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Another Reason to Remember September 11th

Back in my home country, I'm bracing myself for another anniversary of September 11th, 2001. It's the day when, for most Americans, the world suddenly seemed surprisingly hostile, when "They" acted out on a rage not experienced before in the United States. I'm going to remember it for another reason, and I was reminded of that reason when I spoke to a colleague who was arrested recently during the Republican National Convention last week. 

by Ann Alquist, 0 comments

The Conventions

Howdy from Oklahoma! 

Sebastian Herrmann and Catarina Rost have asked me to blog about the ongoing presidential race. I'm beginning by an (overly long, I'm afraid) post on the just-completed conventions as we enter the home stretch of this long campaign.

by Ben Alpers, 1 comments

Demokraten und Republikaner feiern ihre Kandidaten: Eindrücke aus Denver und St. Paul

Unterschiedlicher hätten die beiden Wahlparteitage kaum sein können. Nicht nur die Größe, sondern auch die Atmosphäre war eine ganz andere. Es war offensichtlich, dass die Demokraten in diesem Wahljahr mehr Energie generieren können als die Republikaner. Historisch waren jedoch beide Nominierungsparteitage: Zum ersten Mal wurde ein Afro-Amerikaner zum Präsidentschaftskandidat einer großen Partei gewählt und zum ersten Mal wurde eine Frau zur Vizepräsidentschaftskandidatin der Republikaner gekürt.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Updated: Race: Westmoreland Calls Obama "Uppity"

Expecting this years presidential election campaign to be free of racial stereotypes would be like believing that we can solve the conflict between Israel and Palestine by meeting up for a week-long peace summit.

Just a few days ago, Congressman Westmoreland (R-GA) referred to the Obamas using the term “uppity.”  He said: 

"Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they're a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they're uppity."

by Caterina Rost, 1 comments

Interview mit Shari Temple, Delegierte der Democrats Abroad Delegate aus Deutschland

Nachtrag vom 26. August 2008.


Sie sind eine Delegierte für Barack Obama, wie wurden Sie dafür nominiert?

Temple: Wir sind insgesamt 22 Delegierte für die Democrats Abroad und wir repräsentieren 7 Millionen Amerikaner, die im Ausland leben. Der regionale Caucus für die Region Europa, Naher Osten und Afrika fand Anfang März in Brüssel statt. Dort wurden sechs Delegierte gewählt. In der internationalen Vorwahl haben 2/3 der Amerikaner für Obama gestimmt, deswegen haben wir unsere Delegation aufgeteilt: Senator Hillary Clinton bekam zwei Delegierte, Senator Barack Obama bekam vier. Ich bin als Obama Delegierte angetreten. Und mehr als 100 Personen haben sich für die vier Plätze zur Wahl gestellt. Letztendlich war ich eine der Glücklichen die ausgewählt wurden, was sicherlich auch daran lag, dass ich durch meine Arbeit im IT-Bereich für die Democrats Abroad in den unterschiedlichen Ländern bekannt war.  

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

A Few Quick Thoughts About McCain’s Acceptance Speech

Can McCain do it? Can he outperform Palin? He certainly has to, if he doesn’t want the news media and the comedians to tear him apart.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Double Standards, Abortion, & Palin's Speech

On Monday, the news broke that Palin's 17-year-old daughter is pregnant. The story caused a intense debate about McCain's judgment and the issue of teen pregnancy in the US. A prominent question has been whether it is even okay to talk about Palin's daughter, since it is a private issue. Sure, it's dicey, but isn't it relevant considering Palin's pro-life stance? On last nights episode of the Daily Show, Jon Stewart questioned former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich about the issue.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Ironic Hostilitiy: Republicans Attacking the "Liberal" Media

Sitting in the press stands during the speeches last night was very intense. A lot of  hostility towards the media was expressed in the speeches. I felt the negative vibe and wondered if some people would like to throw things at us. Seriously! People in the audience were pointing at the writing press in disgust when the speakers mentioned the "liberal" bias of the media and then they started booing.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

The Issues on Labor Day: Bush, McCain, and Teen Pregnancy

Today, the Republican National Convention started in St. Paul/Minneapolis. The official program was shortened due to the potentially dangerous storm Gustav. The happenings on the floor in Xcel Center took place for only about 3 hours. President Bush, who was supposed to headline the evening stayed in Washington to deal with Gustav. One delegate told me that that is the best thing that could have happened. Having Bush in St. Paul, he argued, would have only given Obama more ammunition against McCain.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

McCain's VP Pick, Clinton Supporters, & the Hard Fight Ahead

McCain's VP pick again underscores how hard the Democrats will have to work over the next 143 days to reunite their party with upset Clinton supporters. At the same time, Obama's acceptance speech, watched by 38 million Americans (!), showed how many people he can inspire. Still, a large portion of Americans are very skeptical of him and his background.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Most Memorable Speech Lines at DNCC

Ted Kennedy (Massaschusetts Senator): "The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on."

David Patterson (New York Governor): "In 2007, John McCain voted with the administration 95% of the time. So if he is the answer, the question must be ridiculous." 

Kathleen Sebelius (Kansas Governor): "There is no place like home. Or a home. Or a home. Or a home." 

... check back for more soon. 

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Republican Convention Preview: The Upcoming Storm

This morning John McCain revealed his pick for Vice President. It was timed as expected: The announcement was made directly after Barack Obama's history making acceptance speech yesterday to reduce the news coverage about the Democrats successful and historic convention and to refocus on the Republicans. I actually first heard about it, when I was at Denver International Airport this morning waiting for my flight to Salt Lake City to depart.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Political Discussion Above the Clouds, Part II

I guess I should turn this into a series... After all, people who sit next to me in the air plane seem to always feel like they need to talk to me. So here is my most recent experience:

Flying through Salt Lake City, Utah, is quite something. The experience certainly met my expectations because on my flight to the Mormon state, a Mormon sat next to me. That fact alone was hilarious: I got the full dose of cultural differences and coming to Utah (even if it's only for a short layover) without meeting a Mormon wouldn't have been authentic I suppose.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

History Making @ Invesco Field in Denver

Today, Barack Obama officially accepted the nomination as the candidate for president of the Democratic party, 45 years after Martin Luther King's internationally known "I have a dream" speech.



by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Internet at the Pepsi Center

There is no free wireless internet on the floor and in the press stands in the Pepsi Center… to my great surprise. So I went to the technology center asking about the access at my press seat, only to find out that it would cost me $850, plus $500 because it’d be a late order, to have the internet at my seat for the three days in the Pepsi Center. Seriously?! I decided to safe that money and to use the press filing area that has free wireless instead. The sole delegate for the Democrats Abroad from Germany told me that it was advertised before the convention started.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Democratic National Convention Pictures

To give you a few impressions of the Democratic National Convention in Denver check out these pictures:  

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Schauspiel ohne gleichen: Auftakt des Parteitages der Demokraten

Diese Woche treffen sich die Demokraten in Denver, Colorado. In den letzten Tagen sind tausende Journalisten, Lobbyisten, Aktivisten und Politiker in die Stadt im Westen der USA geströmt. Die Einheimischen haben ihnen das Zentrum der Stadt großteils überlassen. Universitäten und Bürogebäude bleiben geschlossen. An jeder Ecke gibt es Obama und Convention Souvenirs, sowie Aktivisten, die unter anderem gegen den Krieg protestieren.  

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Countdown to the Convention

It's just a few hours to go until the Democratic National Convention officially starts. I have been in town since the 21st. I have witnessed a transformation of the city in the last couple of days. Everybody is getting ready for the official opening of the convention Monday night 5 pm ET. The number of police cars and officers has substantially increased. Reports and politicians flocked to town and helicopters started flying regularly over the area.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Conversation with an Undecided Florida Voter

On my flight from Washington DC to Atlanta today, I had a very interesting conversation with the guy, who was sitting next to me. My one-hour conversation with Garry, a computer engineer and registered Republican from Tallahassee/Florida, focused on politics. He was eager to talk politics, asking me about Obama's positions in different policy areas after I told him that I study American Politics.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

American Studies Leipzig Student Caterina Rost Travels to US for GOP/DEM Conventions

American Studies Leipzig student Caterina Rost left Sunday on a flight to the US to visit the Democratic and Republican National Conventions this fall. The trip is part of the research project she does investigating the current elections and especially the "youth vote." See her blog at americanstudies.uni-leipzig.de/blog/4 for more details.

by webmaster, 0 comments

Election08 Road-Trip

Today, I will be starting my election08 adventure. From August 18 to November 7, I will travel to the US to investigate my MA thesis case study: this year’s election. I started writing my MA thesis in May. The topic is “American Youth, Political Parties, & the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election.” Up until now, I have done the theoretical work focusing on the concepts of political participation as well as democratic and generational theory. From now on, I will be on the road... So check back for reports.

by Caterina Rost, 1 comments

Energy Policy Debate: “To drill or not to drill?”

Since the gas price has risen above $4 a gallon in the US earlier this year, oil specifically and energy more generally has been on top of the campaign agenda. The actual substance or rather non-substance of the energy policy debate can make you wonder though. Republican Representative Michael Burgess, for example, even referred to the Paris Hilton Energy Plan on the floor of the House of Representatives saying: "Let’s have the vote. Even Paris Hilton has a plan. Let's bring up the Paris Hilton plan."

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Revisiting the 3 AM Phone Call: The Caucasus Conflict, the US, & Russia

 www.russiablog.orgSince the eruption of fighting and violence in South Ossetia, the conflict between Russia and Georgia has been discussed widely, not just in terms of its consequences for the Caucasus region, but also in terms of its impact on the US presidential election. Republican John McCain is widely believed to have an edge over Democrat Barack Obama, when it comes to foreign policy and national security.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Kampf mit harten Bandagen: Warum der US Wahlkampf negativer wird

Der US Wahlkampf ist rauer geworden. Der Republikaner John McCain hat den Demokraten Barack Obama nach dessen Rückkehr aus Europa hart angegriffen. Mit einer Reihe so genannter “attack ads” (negative Werbespots) griff McCain die Popularität seines Gegners an, indem er sie als negative Eigenschaft definierte. So versucht er der Obama Kampagne den Enthusiasmus zu nehmen und seinen Gegner als elitären Popstar zu charakterisieren.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Yes, you can CHANGE the color and style of your hair

You may have noticed it. Or you might have read about it being noticed: Barack Obama's hair seems to be getting grayer each week. And in general – don't you underestimate the importance of hair in politics...

Concerning the hair of presidential candidate Barack Obama, people started speculating about whether

by Claudia Müller, 0 comments

Democrats vs. Republicans: Debate in Leipzig

The upcoming November presidential election is already casting big shadows.  Even in Leipzig there will be a debate between Democrats Abroad Germany and Republicans Abroad Germany. 

The event will take place on Monday, September 1st 2008 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, in the Kuppelsaal of the Leipziger Volkszeitung on the top floor of the Verlagshaus. Petersteinweg 19, 04107 . It will be hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Campaign Goes Second Life

Politics goes Second Life? Well, my first reaction was pure and pragmatic skepticism. After all, I was wondering who has the time to have a second life? But my research interest in online campaigning triggered my curiousity.  So I checked it out:


In his article "The Politics of Second Life," the Harvard Crimson editorial editor Clay A. Dumas described Second Life as:

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

"Nauseating Tradition": U.S. Election Campaigns and Racism

The op-ed article "Running While Black" by Bob Herbert of the New York Times comments the role of race in election campaigns. It compares the recent negative McCain ad that criticizes Obama for being popular (whatever you do is wrong-style) to a 2006 attack ad by the Republican National Committee that denounced former Representative Hard Ford, Jr., who ran for a Senate seats in Tennessee in 2006. He lost to his Republican opponent Bob Corker. The article stands for itself and is a must read! And here are the two ads:   

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Real Patriotism: Flag vs. Ballot

Patriotism is American. It is a central factor in the presidential election campaign. McCain and the Republicans hammer on Obama for not being patriotic enough. They seek to paint him  as an unpatriotic popstar-like politician, who does not care about the troops, but only about being elected. Obama tries to counter that image by wearing flag pins  and standing in front of several American flags when he speaks (e.g. Race speech in Philadelphia).


by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Barack Obama and American Studies Leipzig in Berlin

After much preparation and debate, the day had finally come. In advance, German politicians as well as the German media have focused much of their attention on the visit of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, debating the potential location, the nature, and the impact of the visit and the speech. Prof. Rundquist's "Presidential Elections" seminar group, of which I am a member, also prepared for the Obama visit, planning a class trip to Berlin to attend the much anticipated speech.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Radio Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) Interviews ASL about Obama Visit

Radio Berlin-Brandenburg, the largest source for radio news in north-eastern Germany, interviewed American Studies Leipzig today about the visit of presidential candidate Barack Obama to Berlin.

by webmaster, 0 comments

MDR Interviews ASL About Obama Visit to Berlin.

MDR and its current affairs radio show, Figaro, interviewed American Studies Leipzig today about the visit of presidential candidate Barack Obama to Berlin. MDR (Mitteldeutschland Rundfunk/Central Germany Public Radio) is the leading news provider for central Germany.

by webmaster, 0 comments

Radio Mephisto Interviews ASL About Obama Visit.

Radio Mephisto, the leading student radio station at the University of Leipzig with a regional listnership of approximately twenty-five thousand, interviewed ASL today about the visit of presidential candidate Barack Obama to Berlin.

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Study: Political Participation Rooted in Genes

After having studied the factors that are traditionally thought to influence political participation or non-participation—namely, social factors (education, social class, age, etc.), political factors (alienation, cynicism, partisanship, etc.), and structural factors (registration requirements, two-party system, electoral college, etc.)--I ran accross a new study that found evidence for biological factors (genes) to have an impact on political participation:


by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Presidential Cookie Wars

The Nominees:

And the nominees are...

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Deutschlandfunk Interviews ASL on Upcoming Obama Visit

Deutschlandfunk (German Public Radio) did a live interview with ASL for the national morning news program on Thursday, 10 July. The interview concerned the upcoming visit to Germany of Presidential candidate Barack Obama.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

Flip-Flopping? - The Dilemma of the Median Voter

Recently, Barack Obama has been critized for moving to the middle of the political landscape to counter the impression of being liberal given among others by the National Journal. The media and the Republicans immediately jumped on Obama for what they define as flip-flopping. Given the make-up of the U.S. political system (winner-take-all, non-proportional representation, two-party-system, etc.), however, candidates are forced to appeal to the median voter if they want to win elections.

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments


You may have not noticed, but it is appears to be obligatory for U.S. presidents to have a dog. A quick research (cf. pictures below) has shown that every president since Kennedy had a hairy pal. Now, the important questions are: How is this issue going to play in November? And when and what kind of dog will Barack Obama get?


by Caterina Rost, 3 comments

Bump, Bump, Bump

On June 3, after the final primaries in Montana and South Dakota, Senator Barack Obama held a victory speech in St. Paul, the site of the upcoming Republican National Convention. Following Michelle Obama's introduction, the presumtive Democratic nominee entered the stage exchanging a fist-bump with his wife. As a consequence of the two-second gesture, the blogosphere as well as the mainstream media obsessed about what to call it, what it means, and if it is black or not. Below is a small selection of chronological links reflecting part of the online coverage. 

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

The Terrymania is Over

Terry McAuliffe, former Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton for President committee chair, will be very much missed on the campaign trail now that Hillary Clinton has suspended her candidacy. The always forward looking McAuliffe was persistant in delivering and staying on message. Today the New York Times wrote:

by Caterina Rost, 1 comments

McCain-Obama, amusing ourselves to death?

So, according to the New York Times Caucus Blog, John McCain proposed to Barack Obama to "join him in 10 joint town-hall-style meetings in which the likely Republican and Democratic nominees could discuss the issues this summer." The NYT goes on to report that McCain claims to have gotten the idea from an agreement between "President Kennedy and Senator Barry Goldwater to fly around the country together to debate the issues."

According to an update on the blog,

by Sebastian M. Herrmann, 0 comments

Reading and Discussion with Christoph von Marschall

Historian and journalist Christoph von Marschall will read from his book Barack Obama: Der schwarze Kennedy on April 3, 2008, 7.30 pm in the Schaubühne Lindenfels Leipzig. Von Marschall, who has before worked for the Süddeutsche Zeitung and Deutschlandfunk, accompanied presidential hopeful Barack Obama during his campaign gaining much insight at close range.
Admission is free. For more details, please click here.

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Hussein Obama

Leo directed my attention to the attached video clip forwarded to him by a (indo-muslim) friend in the USA. The clip (originally posted at www.livesteez.com?) shows pro-Hillary democrats trying to argue why they would rather vote for McCain than support Obama.

While Leo highlighted the discursive contortions people go through to thinly veil their racism, I was struck by a couple of other aspects.

by Sebastian M. Herrmann, 1 comments

College Democrats Endorse

The College Democrats of America are unquestionably very tech savy as the generation of citizens they represent. They are present on every major social networking site online to reach out to and to organize their members. To determine who they should endorse, the president and vice-president of the College Democrats took a quite unconventional  survey of their members. They produced a youtube video asking for feedback from College Democrats nationwide. And here is the outcome:

by Caterina Rost, 0 comments

MDR Info Interviews ASL About Presidential Primary

MDR Info, the most listened to source of news on radio in Central Germany (Mitteldeutschland), interviewed American Studies Leipzig today about the implications of the latest round of primary elections in the United States that are part of this presidential election season.

by webmaster, 0 comments

Exhibit on Press and Presidential Elections Open to Enthusiasm

Some 70 people gathered to open the Exhibit on “Media, Power, and the White House” on Monday, 28 April. The project is co-sponsored by the Department of Communication Studies and the Institute for American Studies. Generous funding for the exhibit has been provided by the American Consulate in Leipzig.

Under the supervision of Dr. Gerhard Piskol, a specialist in comparative journalism, and Professor Emeritus Hartmut Keil from American Studies, the exhibit was constructed by ten students over several months.

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Opening of Exhibit on April 28: Media, Power, & the White House

ASL and the Department of Communication Studies of the University of Leipzig proudly present the exhibit "Power of the Media - Media of Power: The Fight for the White House." The exhibit will open on April 28, 2008 at 6:30 pm in the humanities building (GWZ, Beethovenstreet 15), room 2.516. The theme is the presidential election in the USA and its portrayal in the media - historically and currently. From April 28 onwards, the exhibit will be shown in the foyer of the humanities building and in the Communication Studies Department (Burgstreet 21, 3. Floor).

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One-Day Workshop in Dresden on U.S. Elections

On Wednesday, 5 March, there will take place a one-day workshop on American
society during the presidential election year of 2008. Students are welcome to
attend. Details about the workshop can be found by clicking here.

by webmaster, 0 comments

Primaries Roundtable Attracts Large Crowd from Community

Some 65 guests from the greater Leipzig community attended a lively roundtable on the presidential primaries and what they indicate so far as to whom could be the next president of the United States.

The roundtable consisted of Mark Wenig, Consul for Public Affairs at the U.S. Consulate in Leipzig, Fulbright-Leipzig Professor Ben Alpers, and Professor Crister Garrett from the Institute for American Studies.

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Roundtable on the Presidential Primaries

Städtisches Kaufhaus Room 207
Wednesday, 16 January 2008
5-7 PM

The Presidential Election of 2008 is shaping up to be a highly important moment
for the United States and for international affairs. With major developments in
the fortunes of candidates for both parties after the caucus in Iowa and the
primary in New Hampshire, critical votes are days and weeks ahead
('Giga-Tuesday' on 5 February) that could very well determine who will be the
two final candidates that will compete to become the next president of the

by webmaster, 0 comments

ZDF Heute Interviews ASL on Presidential Primaries

ZDF Heute, and its on-line news organization, zdfheute.de, interviewed ASL today about the implications of the New Hampshire primary for the future course of the presidential election process. The internet news portal zdfheute.de is accessed by over a half million people each day both in Germany and worldwide.

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Radio Berlin-Brandenburg Interviews ASL About Primaries

Radio Berlin-Brandenburg (Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg), the largest radio news source for northeastern Germany, interviewed ASL live today about the presidential primaries.

by webmaster, 0 comments

Mephisto Radio Interviews ASL About Presidential Primaries

Radio Mephisto, the main student-run radio station for the University of Leipzig and with a listenership of approximately thirty-thousand people in Leipzig and the surrounding region, interviewed ASL live in studio today about the presidential primaries and what the results in New Hampshire mean for the future course of the election season.

by webmaster, 0 comments

Leipziger Volkszeitung Interviews ASL on Presidential Primaries.

Senior Editor for International News at the Leipziger Volkszeitung, Dr. Anita Kecke, interviewed American Studies Leipzig about the results from the Iowa Caucus and what they mean for the future course of the presidential primaries. Crister Garrett noted that the results dramatically showed that in an overwhelmingly white and rural state like Iowa, voters are ready to vote for a black candidate like Barack Obama. In what was a stunning surprise to all observers, presidential candidate Hilary Clinton managed to get a majority of votes only among voters over sixty.

by webmaster, 0 comments

Deutschlandfunk Interviews ASL about Presidential Primaries

German Public Radio (Deutschlandfunk) interviewed ASL live on 3 January 2008 for the morning news program and the reports on the primary elections taking place in Iowa, New Hampshire, and beyond. Questions included the importance of early primaries and caucuses for setting the tone and course of the presidential election, which candidates had the best chances, what a Democratic president could mean for international politics, and how the Republican party was trying to improve its chances for re-winning the White House.

by webmaster, 0 comments
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