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Center Hosts 11th Annual American Democracy Conference

The 11th Annual American Democracy Conference, held on December 3rd, 2009 at the Newseum in Washington D.C., was a seminal event in the history of the Center for Politics. In the Center’s first partnership with POLITICO, the renowned political journalism website founded in 2007, the event focused on analyzing the election results from 2009 and looking forward to the midterm elections of 2010. The event was keynoted by a bi-partisan mix of Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine of Virginia and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn of Texas. Both of these engaging speakers spoke to the current state of their parties, their outlook for the future, and the message that the Democrats and Republicans are trying to convey to the American Public.

The panels that followed the keynote speakers provided a wide and diverse set of viewpoints as to the current state of American electoral politics. The first panel, moderated by John Harris of POLITICO, focused on the first year of the Obama Administration. The panel was comprised of some of the most dynamic (and vocal) analysts from both sides of the political spectrum, and included Democratic Strategists Paul Begala and Jennifer Palmieri, Republican strategist Alex Castellanos, and POLITICO Chief White House Correspondent Mike Allen. The discourse was heated but civil as the opposing sides provided their insight into the progress of the President in his first year. The consensus on how well President Obama is doing? Too early to call.

The second panel provided even higher drama, as the executive directors for the four major campaign committees in Congress were put together on a stage to discuss the upcoming congressional elections in 2010. The debate became fiery when the Democratic operatives would interrupt their Republican counterparts to correct their assertions, and vice versa. Whatever your feelings on the topic however, the panel demonstrated how thoroughly entertaining the 2010 campaign season could be.

The third and possibly most intriguing panel was moderated by Center director Larry J. Sabato, and included some of the most interesting contributors to the political world. The panel included Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri, CNN contributor Roland Martin, Democratic strategist Kiki McLean, Susan Page of USA Today, Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez, and Juan Williams of Fox News. The panel focused on the future of American Politics with regards to the 2010 elections and beyond. Discussions were centered on the possibilities involved for the 2012 presidential contest, the political phenomenon of Sarah Palin, and what the Republican Party can do to return to prominence after a difficult past few years.

The 2009 American Democracy Conference lineup represented one of the best culminations of political minds the Center has ever produced. From the keynote speakers to the riveting and animated panels, the stage has been set for an exciting year of politics once again.

If you missed the ADC, both keynotes and all panels may be viewed in full online. See you in 2010!