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Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
901 South Bond Street, Suite 540
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Phone: 443-287-9960 | Fax: 443-287-9920

January 10, 2008
CONTACT: Office of News and Information

Johns Hopkins Sources for 2008 Presidential Election Stories

For stories about the 2008 presidential campaign, consider the following sources from The Johns Hopkins University. Listed with each source is a brief description of his or her area of expertise or particular take on the campaign. Specific contact information is listed for some sources; in cases where it is not, contact the staff of the Office of News and Information at (443) 287-9960 or c&pa@jhu.edu.

Immigration, Hispanic Voters and the 2008 Elections
Adam J. Segal, director of the Hispanic Voter Project at Johns Hopkins,
says immigration is one of the top issues in 2008. He predicts Hispanic voters will also play a very significant role. The 2008 presidential campaign has been historic, he says. The Democrat and Republican candidates participated in forums on the Spanish-language television network Univision. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who is Hispanic, has been a significant candidate. At the same time, Segal says, Spanish-language campaign TV advertising may not reach the level of the 2004 presidential campaign. Polls show Democrats with potential for increased support among Hispanic voters and Republicans may shy away so as not to alienate the party base. Democrats saw their support among Hispanics grow in 2006, largely because of the national immigration debate and concerns about the war in Iraq.

Since establishing the Hispanic Voter Project, Segal has been interviewed frequently for print and broadcast. The Hispanic Voter Project's research has received national media attention. Segal is a faculty lecturer in the master in communication program at Johns Hopkins, where he teaches ethnic marketing and political communication as well as Internet strategies. He is the president of The 2050 Group, a public relations and multicultural marketing agency in Washington, D.C., serving major Hispanic organizations, among other clients. He contributed a chapter to The Mass Media and Latino Politics: Studies of U.S. Media Content, Campaign Strategies and Survey Research: 1984-2004 (Routledge/Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Jan. 16, 2008).
Contact: Adam Segal at 202-422-4673 (cell) or 202- 756-2252 (office) or by e-mail at adam@the2050group.com.

Election civility
P.M. Forni, director of The Civility Initiative at Johns Hopkins and professor of Italian literature

Political debates can turn friends and co-workers into sparring partners. Johns Hopkins University professor and civility expert P.M. Forni suggests ways to defuse arguments and offers techniques for people to express themselves without offending acquaintances with differing political views. Forni is the author of Choosing Civility: The Twenty-five Rules of Considerate Conduct. Its follow-up, The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude, will be published by St. Martin's Press in June. Read Forni's tips online at www.jhu.edu/news/home08/jan08/civility.html.

Presidential power
Matthew Crenson and Benjamin Ginsberg, professors of political science

The American presidency is out of control and this long campaign offers little hope of restoring the traditional balance of power in Washington, say Matthew Crenson and Benjamin Ginsberg, Johns Hopkins political scientists and authors of Presidential Power: Unchecked and Unbalanced (W.W. Norton & Co., April 2007, $27.95). Picking up where Crenson and Ginsberg's first co-authored book, Downsizing Democracy, left off, Presidential Power explains the exponential growth of the White House's authority since the second half of the 20th century. Writing for a general audience, they approach their subject as they would a murder mystery, looking at the motives, means and opportunities leading to the aggrandizement of power by the commander-in-chief. More details about the book are available online at www.jhu.edu/news/home07/jun07/prespowr.html.

Embracing cynicism in the face of political posturing
Benjamin Ginsberg, professor of political science

If you hate politics, you aren't alone. In his book The American Lie: Government by the People and Other Political Fables (Paradigm Publishers, July 2007), Johns Hopkins political scientist Benjamin Ginsberg suggests that embracing one's inner cynic is important for keeping political rhetoric at bay. Politics is not about truth, justice and principle, Ginsberg asserts. Rather, he says, it's about money, power and status. Ginsberg argues that politicians pretend to fight for principle in order to conceal their true selfish motives. Ginsberg encourages citizens to become "realistically cynical" in their participation in the 2008 election process, to think outside the ballot box and find new ways to act on behalf of their own individual interests and the greater public good. And if voters do make it to the polls, Ginsberg's advice is, "When in doubt, vote them out." Details on the book are online at www.jhu.edu/news/home07/jul07/ginsberg.html.

Women's quest for the White House
Erika Falk, associate program chair of the master of arts in communication in contemporary society program

If most Americans say they would cast a vote in a presidential election for a qualified female candidate from their own party, and if most say that the country is ready for a woman president, where is our woman in the White House? Erika Falk, author of Women for President: Media Bias in Eight Campaigns (University of Illinois Press, Jan. 28, 2008), suggests that potential Madame Presidents in past campaigns have been obscured in the press, and as a result, female candidates haven't been as familiar to voters as male candidates. Details about the book are online at http://www.jhu.edu/~news_info/news/home08/jan08/mediabias.h tml. Though Women for President was written before Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for president and doesn't study her campaign, Falk's work offers a historical perspective relevant to the 2008 election, where a woman is a front-runner for the Democratic candidacy. Falk's bio is at advanced.jhu.edu/academic/communication/faculty/

Federal promotion of marriage
Andrew Cherlin, professor of sociology

Andrew Cherlin studies the sociology of the family and public policy, particularly in the area of marriage and divorce. His expertise will be useful to reporters writing about the impact of legislation in 2006 that reauthorized welfare reform and allows federal grants to pay for marriage promotion programs at the state level. He also notes that gay marriage remains an issue in the 2008 election, even though a constitutional amendment regarding it seems dead at the moment.

Elections, congressional politics and legislative- executive relations
Joseph Cooper, professor of political science

Joseph Cooper serves or has served as a board member of the Dirksen Congressional Center, the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University, the Center for Congress at Indiana University, and the U.S. Advisory Committee on Congressional Records. He was a faculty member at Harvard and Rice universities before coming to Johns Hopkins as well as a visiting research professor at the Stanford Business School. He has worked as a staff director in the House of Representatives and testified before congressional committees on a dozen occasions. His expertise includes electoral politics, congressional party voting and leadership, congressional organization, and the growth of presidential power. In all these regards, he has published analyses not only about the present but the historical development of the party system, Congress, and the presidency.

Electronic Voting Machines: Can We Trust Their Results?
Avi Rubin, professor of computer science and technical director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins

Avi Rubin has conducted research on the electronic voting machines that many states purchased in an effort to avoid the "hanging chads" and other punch card ballot problems that created an uproar during the 2000 presidential election.

Rubin believes the touchscreen machines pose problems of their own, because they are vulnerable to tampering and, in the absence of a paper trail, do not permit a meaningful recount in a contested race. Rubin has testified before government panels regarding his concerns. He also has studied security hazards posed by Internet voting proposals. In addition to his research, Rubin can discuss his hands-on election-day experiences with voting machines as an election judge in Baltimore County. Rubin's book Brave New Ballot: The Battle to Safeguard Democracy in the Age of Electronic Voting (Random House, September 2006) tells of both his role as a whistle-blower and his observations of electronic voting in action.

Contact Phil Sneiderman at 443-287-9960 or prs@jhu.edu.