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Media Relations

AU in the Media: 1/23/09

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Taking part in history

American University played a major role as the city prepared for its 56th presidential inauguration. Leonard Steinhorn, professor of communication, was a commentator on WTTG-TV Fox 5 as they covered the ceremony, and the swearing in of more than 4,000 officers from police departments across the country at Bender Arena by a U.S. Marshall was featured in a WJLA-TV news segment. Also, students from the School of Communication, in conjunction with and CBS News, participated in a social media project that allowed inauguration attendees to upload their own reports to be shared online and plenty of AU students were on the National Mall to witness the swearing in of the country’s new president. "It's a historical event," sophomore Samantha Zarrini told the News-Times. "I think if you're in the right place you should witness it, no matter what you believe." (1/17/09)

A new administration

James Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, was a guest on WAMU’s Diane Rehm Show to discuss the inaugural address of President Barack Obama, and what to expect from his administration. “It was a governing speech rather than a campaign speech, although the themes from the campaign came out,” he said. “We learned a lot about what Obama was going to do because he was doing it through the transition. What he’s doing is he’s calling people to service.” Thurber was also quoted in a Politico story about the transition for Vice President Joe Biden from senator. “I think [the adjustment] is easier for a senator than it would be for someone who was in an executive branch position, like a governor,” he said, adding that Biden was entering his new role with previously-established relationships in the Senate. (1/21/09)

Faculty, Programs, & Quotes

AU at the inauguration

American University students spoke to several news outlets about their experiences leading up to inauguration, and the scene at the National Mall on the actual day. “After the swearing-in, as far as you could see, there were gigantic crowds everywhere," student Ryan Simmons told the Providence Journal. "You had to push your way through." Freshman Brittany Haga told the Omaha World Herald of the city’s increase in crowds due to the festivities, and senior Casey Oakes was one of the fortunate constituents to receive tickets to the swearing-in ceremony. “It's such a historic day,” she told USA Today. “It's the 'I have a dream' speech of my generation, it's the 'Ask not what you can do' speech for my generation.” (1/21/09)

A new political cycle begins

Allan Lichtman, a professor of history and presidential historian, was a guest on CNN to discuss the significance of the nation’s new president. “You know, we have been living in basically a conservative era since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. And now we see the turning of a new political cycle,” he said. “That era is coming to an end and Barack Obama, like Abraham Lincoln before him or Franklin Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan stands on the cusp of an entirely new political era.” Lichtman has been quoted by more than 30 news outlets regarding the historic inauguration ceremony. (1/20/09)

A big leap for change

In an opinion piece for The Progressive, Clarence Lusane, an associate professor in the School of International Service, wrote about the impact of the inauguration of America’s first black president. “As the first American president who is black, he symbolized the culmination of centuries of struggle for full inclusion,” he wrote. “Coming the day after the annual holiday for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Obama’s inaugural led a large number of black Americans and others to believe that his election represents the realization of King’s dream of racial equality.” (1/21/09)

Protecting the family or protecting the image?

Leonard Steinhorn, a professor of communications, was quoted in an Associated Press story about Alaska Governor and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin speaking out about media attacks against her children. "I think she's positioning herself. She's attacking the media as a way to generate support among a base she hopes will support her," he said. “I think she's exploiting and cultivating the anti-intellectual and anti-elitist side of the Republican party. She's trying to salvage her reputation, so she attacks the messenger." (1/21/09)