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Obama, McCain Campaign Advisors at AU to Discuss Role of Latino Voters

WASHINGTON, DC--With heavily concentrated Latino populations in critical swing states, the Latino vote has become critical to both candidates in the upcoming presidential election.  Obama and McCain campaign advisors, along with other experts on Latino voters, will take an in-depth look at the importance of Latino voters at “The 2008 Presidential Election: Battle for the Latino Vote,” a panel discussion on Tuesday, September 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. in Room 5 of AU’s Mary Graydon Center.

“Both parties are aggressively courting Latino voters with advertisements, rallies, and key endorsements,” said James Thurber, director of AU’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies. “And although Latino voters are mobilizing in unprecedented numbers, until recently they have remained a largely ignored voting bloc.”

The panel—hosted by American University’s School of Public Affairs, Center for Congressional Studies, and the Council on Latin America—will include analysis by representatives from the Obama and McCain campaign and other leading experts on Latino voters, followed by questions from the media and audience.

 Below are the participating panelists:

- Daniel Sepulveda manages trade, interstate commerce, immigration, labor, and ethics and lobbying reform issues for Senator Barack Obama.

- Rafael Bejar, national director of Hispanic outreach for the McCain campaign, is an adjunct professor with the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University.

- Maria Teresa Petersen, founding executive director of Voto Latino, was named by Hispanic Magazine as among the top Latinas in government and politics.

- Mark Hugo Lopez, associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center, studies political engagement among young Latinos and helps to coordinate the Center’s national surveys.

The Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies provides an integrated teaching, research, and study program focusing on Congress, the presidency, and the interactions of these two basic American institutions. The center, established in 1979, provides a scholarly organization uniquely able to draw on its Washington, D.C., location in the very heart of the city that shapes Congress and the presidency.

American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and nearly 140 countries. Located in Washington, D.C., the university provides opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation’s capital and around the world.