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2007 News Archives

Top Experts Examine 2008 Candidates' Health Care Plans

Center for Politics Forum Addresses the Politics of Health Care Reform

10/22/07 | With health care reform at the top of the list of hot topics leading up to the 2008 presidential primaries and the general election, the Center for Politics is hosting The Politics of Health Care Reform to discuss the different health care reforms proposed by the top candidates from both parties. The forum will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, October 29 in the Dome Room of the Rotunda on the grounds of the University of Virginia.

The Politics of Health Care Reform was inspired by a recent book, Health Care Half Truths: Too Many Myths, Not Enough Reality, authored by U.Va. Provost and former Dean of the School of Medicine, Arthur "Tim" Garson, Jr., M.D., M.P.H. and Assistant Professor of Medical Education, Carolyn Engelhard, M.P.A. Their book is a part of the Center for Politics’ “American Political Challenges” book series. Within the pages of this timely new work, Garson and Engelhard diagnose the health care crisis, address and debunk 20 commonly held misperceptions, and deliver a system that meets the needs of patients, physicians and politicians.

Wyatt Andrews, CBS News national correspondent, will moderate the panel discussion. The expert panel includes: Robert Moffit, Ph.D. of The Heritage Foundation, Irwin Redlener, M.D. of The Children's Health Fund and Columbia University, Stephen Schoenbaum, M.D., M.P.H. of The Commonwealth Fund and Grace-Marie Turner of The Galen Institute.

Provost Garson and Professor Engelhard will join the panelists in dissecting the proposed health care reforms, exploring the complexities of our current health care system, discussing the politics of passing reforms and debating how the results of the 2008 election might shape future health care policy. A large portion of the event is reserved for a Q & A session with the audience.

Each year, the Center for Politics, non-partisan, non-profit public service organization, showcases vital works by authors in the "American Political Challenges" book series. In addition to promoting these publications, the Center hosts related events to bring together the general public, experts, scholars, academics and appointed and elected officials to discuss the political landscape in which these national challenges occur.


Alito, Ferraro, Dole, Schieffer to Highlight Oct. 19 Event in DC

Center Hosts Groundbreaking Look at America's Governing Document

10/12/07 | The Center for Politics will hold a day-long National Constitutional Convention on Friday, October 19, 2007 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. Moderated by CBS News' Bob Schieffer, the event will feature a keynote address by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and special remarks by Former Vice Presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro and Former Senator Bob Dole, in addition to three panel discussions, periods of question & answer and real-time audience voting on proposed reforms.

The event is free and open to the public. Members of the media are invited to attend, and should register on line and then contact Matt Smyth at the Center for Politics (434-243-8466). Wireless internet will be available inside the auditorium; electrical outlets will be available at specified locations. Please see special press policy for Justice Alito below.

The convention, which will include three panel discussions in addition to the keynote address and special remarks, will offer a wide range of topics for discussion such as presidential and congressional election reform, checking the powers of government and the question, "Should there be another Constitutional Convention?" All in attendance will have the opportunity to vote on each panel topic and render a tentative decision on the major reforms giving this event the feel of a constitutional convention.

The goal of the National Constitutional Convention is not to promote one possible reform over another, but rather to spur a grand, national discussion on the Constitution of the United States and whether the cornerstone of our republic could or should be a means of revitalizing civic and political engagement in America, curtailing apathy and renewing confidence in American politics and government.

Center for Politics founder and director Professor Larry J. Sabato added, "We're asking all Americans to set aside their own political loyalties, to look past the current 'values' debates and hot-button issues and to consider this very real possibility: that the failure of the nation to update the Constitution and the structure of government it originally bequeathed to us is at the root of our current political dysfunction."

In his new book, A More Perfect Constitution, Sabato provides twenty-three suggestions to update and improve the U.S. Constitution for future generations. The idea behind the book is to spark a national discussion of constitutional reform and generate a renewed public interest in the mechanisms of American government. By no means are the proposals contained in the book intended to be the end of the debate - rather the beginning of a generation-long look at a practical revision of a governing document that the Framers themselves intended to be updated on a regular basis. The National Constitutional Convention has been convened as a first step in this process. For more information and to join the discussion, visit www.amoreperfectconstitution.com.

SPECIAL PRESS POLICY FOR JUSTICE SAMUEL ALITO: According to stipulations from the office of Justice Alito, audio and video recording will not be permitted during his keynote address. Still photography, note taking and audio recording for note-taking purposes are permitted.


Larry Sabato to Present New Book at U.Va. Bookstore Oct. 12

Highlights, Q&A and signing for A MORE PERFECT CONSTITUTION

10/2/07 | Center for Politics founder and director Professor Larry J. Sabato will present his newly-released book, A MORE PERFECT CONSTITUTION: 23 Dynamic Proposals to Reshape the Constitution and Make America a Fairer Country, at a special public event on Friday, October 12 at 5:30 p.m. at the University of Virginia Bookstore in Charlottesville Virginia. This event is free and open to the public, and members of the media are invited to attend. Professor Sabato will discuss highlights from the book, answer questions from the audience and sign books at the conclusion of the event. For more information about the book, visit: www.amoreperfectconstitution.com.

For media interested in advance interviews with Professor Sabato about the new book, he will be available for a limited window of time on the afternoon of Tuesday, October 9. Please contact Matt Smyth at the Center for Politics (434-243-8466 or smyth@virginia.edu) to schedule an interview.

ABOUT THE BOOK
More and more, we are aware of the growing dysfunction and unfairness of our political system. Partisan gridlock dominates Washington; 17 percent of voters elect a majority of senators; the presidency has assumed unprecedented and unintended powers; politicians spend as much time campaigning for office as governing; and average Americans feel more and more disconnected from the political process-half or more don't even vote in many elections. All of this would have horrified the likes of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

"This book will ask readers to set aside their own political loyalties, to look past the current 'values' debates and hot-button issues, to consider this very real possibility: that the failure of the nation to update the Constitution and the structure of government it originally bequeathed to us is at the root of our current political dysfunction."

-Larry J. Sabato

In A MORE PERFECT CONSTITUTION (Walker & Co.), Larry Sabato persuasively argues that, while much of the Constitution should remain sacred, some crucial revisions are essential to restore equity for ordinary citizens, for until some of its outmoded provisions are reformed, we will continue to have more of the same political stagnation. Indeed, the inspiration for these reforms comes from the original framers-Jefferson, Madison, Mason, Washington, and others-who fully expected the Constitution would, and should, be regularly revised each generation to reflect the country's changing needs. Yet, apart from the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights, it has only been amended seventeen times in 220 years, and many of those amendments were inconsequential.

A MORE PERFECT CONSTITUTION presents twenty-three creative and dynamic proposals to reinvigorate American governance. Combining idealism and pragmatism, Larry Sabato's thought-provoking ideas range from the structure of Congress, and length of the president's term to the number and terms of Supreme Court justices, the vagaries of the Electoral College, and a compelling call for universal national service-all laced through with the history behind each issue and their potential impact on the lives of ordinary people.

In presenting his proposals, Sabato provides an invaluable civics lesson, peeling back the roof covering the workings of our political system, and allowing us to see the gears and levers meshing together; to see what parts of the machine need oil, and what parts need full-scale repair-and to understand why. We therefore come to appreciate, over and over, what the founders of our system expected, as expressed in their own words-that the Constitution would be revised generation by generation, updated to fulfill the needs of a growing nation.

Larry Sabato has the rare skill of making political science appealing and understandable to the masses. This no doubt comes from his thirty years in the classroom, where he has developed one of the most fertile and insightful political minds in the country. This book is, in many ways, the summation of his thinking on our political system during those thirty years. More about the book is available at www.amoreperfectconstitution.com, including an interactive bulletin board for readers to debate the pros and cons of the individual proposals, as well as a method for suggesting their own "24th Idea."

More information about A MORE PERFECT CONSTITUTION


University of Virginia Students Form Voter Registration Coalition

Voter drive aims to sign up scores of students before Oct. 9 deadline

9/17/07 | Student interns at the University of Virginia Center for Politics have organized a broad coalition of student groups that has come together with the goal of registering students to vote before the November statewide elections and educate these potential voters about the importance of community involvement and civic participation. The U.Va. Student Voter Registration Coalition began in 2004 as an effort organized by the Center for Politics (CFP) to engage student leaders in voter registration.

The Coalition is led by CFP interns who are designated coalition coordinators, and includes prominent on-grounds groups like the Student Council, the College Republicans and the University Democrats. The Center for Politics provides guidance, resources and facilitates a relationship with the city and county offices of voter registration to ensure that students have access to the important information needed to become participants in the political process.

Professor Larry J. Sabato, director of the Center for Politics added, "I can't think of a more constructive and community-oriented activity for students than participation in a youth voter registration effort. If young people are to have an impact on politics and policy from the White House to the courthouse, they must first be registered to vote. The earlier we can generate civic participation in the young, the more likely these energetic citizens will be to show up at the polls throughout their lives."

U.Va. is one of just 20 schools participating in the Harvard Institute of Politics' National Campaign for Civic and Political Engagement. The goal is to institutionalize voter registration at U.Va. to encourage a sense of civic responsibility and engagement among all U.Va. students, and also assist the university in complying with the Higher Education Act of 1998, which requires that colleges provide voter registration materials to all students.

2007 Coalition Members (more to come):

Black Student Alliance
College Republicans
Hoos for Hillary
Hoos for Obama
Latino Student Union
Minority Rights Coalition
NAACP at U.Va.
Queer and Allied Activism
Second Year Council
Student Council
The Liberty Coalition
Third Year Council
University Democrats
Virginia Organizing Project

More information about voter registration


"Sabato's Crystal Ball" Adds Analyst and Author Rhodes Cook

Top Election Observer Joins 06's Most Accurate Election Prediction Site

8/9/07 | The Center for Politics and University of Virginia Professor Larry J. Sabato are pleased to announce the addition of Rhodes Cook to the staff of Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball. The Crystal Ball is a free, non-partisan website and electronic newsletter that specializes in political analysis and election forecasting. Cook will be contributing essays and articles to the Crystal Ball during the coming election season, drawing on his extensive experience and expertise, having covered presidential and congressional elections for more than three decades.

"There is simply no better analyst of the trends and votes of American politics, and Rhodes Cook outranks almost everyone else on the scene," notes Sabato. "He is a master of the revealing chart and tantalizing graph; he is able to bring numbers to life for the edification of his readers. Most important of all, Rhodes' careful study of American political history enables him to do what so many others are unable to achieve: put current events in a historical context."

Rhodes Cook began as a political writer for Congressional Quarterly in 1975, continuing there as a senior writer until 1997, when he became editor and publisher of "The Rhodes Cook Letter" and host of the political website www.rhodescook.com. For the past decade, Cook has also authored America Votes, a biennial compilation of election data published by CQ Press.

Cook has also written extensively on the presidential nominating process, including a book in the Center for Politics' American Political Challenges series titled, The Presidential Nominating Process: A Place for Us? which not only illuminated the history behind America's complex candidate selection methods, but also provided unique insight into the 2004 presidential election cycle. From 1994 through 2000, he worked with the Voter News Service (VNS) on election nights to help project the outcome of congressional races; he has had a similar role with ABC News since 2002.

The Center for Politics is excited to add Rhodes Cook to the Crystal Ball team as the 2008 election season approaches. In 2006, the Crystal Ball was rated the web's most accurate source of election predictions, having correctly predicted the outcome of all 33 Senate Seats, 35 of 36 governorships, and a net change of 29 seats in the House. In both 2002 and 2004, the Crystal Ball notched a 98 percent accuracy rate in its predictions of all House, Senate, gubernatorial and state-by-state Electoral College (2004) results. The Crystal Ball can be found at www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball.

More information about Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball


U.Va. Center for Politics to Kick Off Tenth Anniversary

Annual Summer Conference Focuses "A Decade of Political Change"

7/5/07 | On July 27, the University of Virginia Center for Politics will host the Commonwealth's top elected officials, political analysts, historians and former members of Virginia state government to discuss the campaigns, politics and governance of the Commonwealth of Virginia over the past ten years at the Center's 10th annual conference of the Virginia Political History Project. Titled "A Decade of Political Change," the event will be held Friday, July 27, 2007 at the Jefferson Hotel on West Franklin Street in Richmond, Virginia.

All events on Friday are FREE and open to the public, but online registration is required by Monday, July 23, 2007. The conference also serves as the kick-off event of the Center for Politics' ten-year anniversary celebration, with other special events and activities to follow throughout the next twelve months.

For the past ten years, the University of Virginia Center for Politics and the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service have examined the lives, administrations and legacies of Virginia's recent former governors and legislative leaders through the Virginia Political History Project. In a continuing effort to preserve the rich oral history of modern Virginia politics, this conference will feature remarks and panel discussions by individuals who have observed and/or influenced Virginia politics and government over the course of the last ten years. These participants will not only share their experiences in politics, they will provide insight and encouragement for future generations of leaders in Virginia.

This event will include opening remarks by Center for Politics Director Larry J. Sabato, three panel discussions that will focus on the many important political events and issues that have shaped the Commonwealth since the founding of the Center one decade ago, as well as a lunchtime speaker. The conference panelists will include past and present members of the General Assembly and governors' administrations, Virginia academics, political experts and strategists, and members of the media. Participating speakers and panelists will be announced over the next few weeks on the Center for Politics website and in a follow-up release prior to the conference.

A Decade of Political Change


Friday, July 27, 2007
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The Jefferson Hotel
101 West Franklin Street, Richmond, Virginia

The conference and luncheon are FREE and open to the public and members of the media, but advance registration by Monday, July 23, 2007 is required. Online registration is now available through the Center for Politics website.

All events on Friday are FREE and open to the public, but online registration is required by Monday, July 23, 2007. Members of the media interested in covering any portion of the event must contact Matt Smyth at (434) 243-8466 or Isaac Wood at (434) 243-4087; the Jefferson Hotel requires advance notice if a television/satellite truck will be parked on the premises. For more information about the conference, including online registration and the conference schedule, click the link below.

More information about the Virginia Political History Project


Center for Politics Hosts Former Va. Governor Mark Warner

Commonwealth's 69th Governor to Visit Larry Sabato's Politics Class

4/9/07 | The Center for Politics and University of Virginia Professor Larry J. Sabato are pleased to welcome former Virginia Governor Mark Warner to his 350-student Introduction to American Politics lecture class on Wednesday, April 11, at 3:00 p.m., in Wilson Hall Auditorium, on the grounds of the University of Virginia. This event is hosted and sponsored by the Center for Politics.

Members of the media are invited to attend and must contact David Wasserman (434-243-4087, wasserman@virginia.edu) or Matt Smyth (434-243-8466, smyth@virginia.edu) to reserve space/seating. This event is not open to the public.

Governor Mark Warner, Virginia's 69th Governor, was elected to office in 2001. He also served as the chairman of the National Governor's Association (NGA) from 2004-2005, having previously served as vice-chairman. His Chairman's Initiative, Redesigning the American High School, addresses the urgent need to improve high schools across the country. In 2003, Warner was elected Chairman of the Southern Governor's Association, and he has also chaired the Education Commission of the States, a national nonpartisan policy organization. Warner is currently the honorary chair of the Forward Together political action committee.

A graduate of George Washington University and Harvard Law School, Warner was a founding partner of Columbia Capital Corporation, served as founding chair of the Virginia Health Care Foundation, and ran for the U.S. Senate in 1996.

More information about Governor Mark Warner


Center for Politics Hosts United States Senator Jim Webb

Virginia Senator to Address Larry Sabato's Politics 101 Class

4/6/07 | The Center for Politics and University of Virginia Professor Larry J. Sabato are pleased to welcome Senator Jim Webb to his 350-student Introduction to American Politics lecture class on Monday, April 9, at 3:00 p.m., in Wilson Hall Auditorium, on the grounds of the University of Virginia. This event is hosted and sponsored by the Center for Politics.

Members of the media are invited to attend and must contact Matt Smyth (434-243-8466, smyth@virginia.edu) or David Wasserman (434-243-4087, wasserman@virginia.edu) to reserve space/seating. This event is not open to the public.

Senator Jim Webb is currently serving his first term in the United States Senate, after winning election in 2006. Webb presently serves on the Committee on Foreign Relations, Committee on Armed Services, Committee on Veterans Affairs, and the Joint Economic Committee. Among other initiatives in the Senate, Webb is currently working on increasing education benefits for veterans and creating stronger Senate ethics rules.

Senator Webb graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968, and following graduation he received a commission in the U.S. Marine Corps. After graduating first in his class of 243 at the Marine Corps Officers' Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, Webb served with the Fifth Marine Regiment in Vietnam. Upon returning from Vietnam, Webb enrolled in the Georgetown University School of Law where he received his J.D. in 1975. From 1984 to 1987 Webb was the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, and in 1987 became Secretary of the Navy.

In addition to Senator Webb's appearance on April 9, former Virginia Governor Mark Warner will address the class on Wednesday, April 11 at 3:00 p.m. Members of the media are invited to attend, and more information will be available next week.

More information about Senator Jim Webb


Center for Politics Hosts United States Senator John Warner

Virginia's Senior Senator to Address Larry Sabato's Politics 101 Class

3/30/07 | The Center for Politics and University of Virginia Professor Larry J. Sabato are pleased to welcome Senator John Warner to his 350-student Introduction to American Politics lecture class on Monday, April 2, at 3:00 p.m., in Wilson Hall Auditorium, on the grounds of the University of Virginia. This event is hosted and sponsored by the Center for Politics.

Members of the media are invited to attend and must contact Matt Smyth (434-243-8466, smyth@virginia.edu) or David Wasserman (434-243-4087, wasserman@virginia.edu) to reserve space/seating.

Senator John Warner is currently serving his fifth consecutive term in the United States Senate, having first been elected in 1978. Warner is the former Chairman, and now the second-ranking Republican of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and he also serves as the second-ranking Republican on two other committees, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works. Additionally, he serves on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs.

A graduate of Washington & Lee University and the University of Virginia School of Law, Senator Warner is currently the second-longest serving U.S. Senator from Virginia in the 218-year history of the Senate. A veteran of the Navy and the Marine Corps, Sen. Warner served in both World War II and the Korean War, and was later appointed Secretary of the Navy.

In addition to Senator Warner's appearance on April 2, former Virginia Governor Mark Warner will address the class on Wednesday, April 11 at 3:00 p.m. Members of the media are invited to attend, and more information will be available next week.

More information about Senator John Warner


Texas Senator Visits Introduction to American Politics Class

Center Welcomes Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison to the University

3/19/07 | The Center for Politics and University of Virginia Professor Larry J. Sabato are pleased to welcome United States Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison to address Sabato's Introduction to American Politics class on Monday, March 19 at 3:00pm in the Wilson Hall Auditorium on the grounds of the University of Virginia.

In 1993, Texans elected Kay Bailey Hutchison to the United States Senate in a special election, making her the first--and, to date, the only--woman elected to represent the state in the Senate. One year later, she was re-elected to a full six-year term. And in 2000, more than four million Texans voted for her re-election to a second full term--no other Texas candidate has captured more votes. In 2006, she was again re-elected by a large margin. She serves in the Senate leadership, having been elected by her colleagues to be chairman of the Republican Policy Committee in the 110th Congress, making her the fourth-highest ranking Republican senator.

The class is not open to the public, but members of the media are invited to attend. Senator Hutchison will give prepared remarks, followed by a question and answer session with the students in the course. Media in attendance are asked to hold their questions until the media availability period which will follow the end of the class at 4:00pm. Photography, as well as audio and video recording is permitted during and after the class.


Supreme Court Justice Addresses American Politics 101 Class

Center welcomes Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. to University of Virginia

2/6/07 | The Center for Politics and University of Virginia Professor Larry J. Sabato will host United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. for an address to Sabato's Introduction to American Politics class on Wednesday, February 7 at 3:00pm in the Wilson Hall Auditorium on the Grounds of the University of Virginia.

Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. was born in April, 1950, in Trenton, New Jersey, and received his bachelor's degree from Princeton University and attended Yale Law School, where he served as an editor on the Yale Law Journal. In 1987, Justice Alito was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, a position he held until 1989. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush nominated Alito to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and he was unanimously confirmed by voice vote by the U.S. Senate. On January 31, 2006, Alito was confirmed as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Justice Alito has participated in thousands of appeals and authored hundreds of opinions, and he has participated in various professional associations including the New Jersey Federal Bar Association (member of advisory board); the New Jersey State Bar Association; the American Bar Association; and the Federalist Society.

Guest speakers are a regular occurrence in Professor Sabato's Introduction to American Politics course; every spring semester, students are given the opportunity to hear several guest lectures by political figures from a diverse range of partisan and non-partisan background, in order to enhance their classroom experience. Prominent Virginia and national individuals like Governor Tim Kaine, former Governors Mark Warner, George Allen and Jim Gilmore have all visited the class, as well as Senator John Warner, Congressman Tom Davis, and Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leroy Hassell. FEC Chairman Michael Toner, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen have all addressed the class over the past several years.

Wednesday's class is not open to the public; members of the media are invited to attend but must contact David Wasserman or Matt Smyth at the Center for Politics to reserve space/seating.

Additionally the following media guidelines have been agreed to by the Center for Politics and will be enforced for the event:

  • No electronic audio or video recording may be conducted inside Wilson Hall or inside the auditorium. Members of the media covering the event for print, radio, television and internet may take handwritten notes on Justice Alito's remarks.
  • Still photography is permitted before, during and after the class.
  • Justice Alito will not be available for questions or interviews from the media before, during or after the class, and members of the media are asked to respect the ability of students in the class to ask questions.
  • Prior to the 3:00pm class, Justice Alito and Professor Sabato will walk from Pavilion IV on The Lawn to Wilson Hall. Video footage may be shot at this time, although ANY questions and interviews of the Justice are prohibited.

Center to Host National Constitutional Convention

October 2007 event to feature "delegates" from across the country

1/25/07 | With hundreds of participants, constitutional scholars, elected officials and political insiders, the University of Virginia Center for Politics, led by Larry J. Sabato, will host a National Constitutional Convention. The purpose will be to debate proposed major changes to the Constitution. The convention will offer a wide range of subjects for discussion, with panels of experts considering these topics, followed by reactions and further debate by the attending "delegates."

"Delegates" participating in the convention will vote on each proposal and render a tentative decision on every reform. The purpose of this is to incite a grand national discussion on constitutional change will begin, examining whether or not the failure of the nation to update the Constitution and the structure of government bequeathed us by the Founders is at the root of America's current political dysfunction and other serious problems.

In 1787 there were furious debates, intense negotiations, strategic feints and thrusts as the Founders struggled to establish a nation rather than just a loose confederation of states. The Center for Politics intends to ask: What if we were to have these debates, negotiations and maneuvering again, in our own time, with our own issues, with the benefit of over two hundred years of experience? Would experts and the general public vote to amend the Constitution, or would our modern day "delegates" and citizens accept the current document as our nation's best compass for navigating contemporary politics?

We will find out together in an exciting and exceptionally thought-provoking Mock Convention in October 2007. This convention will be the start of a generational reconsideration of the Constitution, and indeed most basic facets of our system of governance. It is long overdue.