Georgetown Grads, Professors Making Mark On Election

This story was written by Andrew Dwulet, The Hoya
Georgetown may not boast both any of this years presidential candidates as alums, but both university professors and graduates have had a very visible presence both on and off the campaign trail this election season.

Perhaps most evident have been those not necessarily directly involved in the campaigns, but rather as the center of its coverage and analysis. Chris Cillizza (COL 98) is a Washington Post political reporter and author of the political blog The Fix, which offers daily updates on the presidential campaigns as well as Congressional and gubernatorial races.

Its wonderful to work with so many Hoyas in the upper echelons of the McCain and Obama campaigns and in other media outlets, Cillizza said. It allows me to commiserate about the twin obsessions of my life: politics and Georgetown basketball.

Donna Brazile, an adjunct assistant professor in the Womens and Gender Studies Program, has also been lending her expertise to the upcoming election. Brazile is a weekly contributor and political commentator for two of CNNs shows, The Situation Room and American Morning, as well as a regular analyst for its election coverage. The former Gore campaign manager also recently founded her own grassroots advocacy firm, Brazile and Associates, LLC.

Taking a more active role in campaign life, Anthony Lake, distinguished professor in the practice of diplomacy, has served as a principal foreign policy advisor to Sen. Barack Obamas (D-Ill.) campaign since early 2007. The former National Security Advisor was recently featured in an April 3 Time magazine article as Obamas likely choice for Secretary of State.

Lake told THE HOYA in March that he finds Obamas campaign to be different from any other he has ever witnessed.

One of the most interesting things about this campaign, set apart from other campaigns, people never talk about what they would like to be ... Its not a campaign driven by ambition, its a campaign of belief," he said.

Despite the reports that he would be a frontrunner for the top foreign policy job, Lake said he has no intention of returning to the public life.

I have no ambition of returning to the government, he said. Or let me say it another way, I have no intention to leave Georgetown.

Two Georgetown graduates have also been at center of the discussion concerning Obamas choice of vice-presidential nominee. Sen. Jim Webb (LAW 75, D-Va.) has been reported to be a leading contender on a number of national political blogs and has even received the endorsement of the Washington Times. The New York Times, in addition to several political blogs, also indicated that Gen. James Jones (SFS 66), a retired Marine commandant and former supreme commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, could be another likely choice for the vice-presidential nod, particularly given his decorous military record and foreign policy experience.

Also tied to the election is Tom Daschle, the former U.S. Senator and Senate majority leader (D-SD), who has served as a national campaign chair and advisor to the Obama campaign. When not out on the campaign trail, Daschle doubles as a visiting professor at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute.

Dan Pfeiffer, Obamas communications director, and Dan Leistikow, who also does press for the Illinois Senator, also hold Georgetown degrees.

The Clinton campaign was certainly not devoid of Georgetown graduates either. For one, Terry McAuliffe (LAW 84) served as its chair. McAuliffe formerly served as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee and the National Co-Chairman of the Clinton-Gore reelection committee for the 1996 Presidential Election.

Yes, it is hard to mention presidential politics without Gergetowns most famous alum and 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton (SFS 68). President Clinton has spent the past year on the campaign trail in support of Senator Clintons bid for the Democratic nomination.

Across the aisle, one of Sen. John McCains (R-Ariz.) long-time advisers, Mark Salter (COL 81), has front-row season tickets to Georgetown basketball games. In February, ran a story about Salters superstitious belief that McCains primary results were closely following the Hoyas basketball results. When Georgetown would win, McCain would fare well in a primary, and when the Hoyas would lose, McCain would follow suit.

Soon there after, Salters hunch would prove incorrect, as Georgetowns season fizzled but McCain still became the presumptive Republican nominee.

The Presidential election is not the only race firing with Georgetown pride. One Congressional election in Virginia will find Hoyas on both sides of the ticket. Judith Feder, a professor of public policy and dean of the Georgetown Public Policy Institute from 1999-2008, will once again run to represent Virginias 10th District in Congress. In 2006, Feder lost the election to incumbent and Georgetown graduate Frank Wolf (LAW 65, R-Va.). This November she will challenge Wolf for the seat once again.

Regardless of the outcomes this fall, Georgetown faculty and alumni will have left an indelible mark on this years election.

Staff Writer Bailey Heaps contributed to this report. It originally appeared in THE HOYAs 2008 summer issue, which is mailed to incoming freshmen and transfer students.