12:14 p.m., April 13, 2009----Two University of Delaware alums who played central roles in the 2008 presidential election - David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt - will be featured in a special program titled “A Conversation at the Epicenter of Politics: The Election and the First 100 Days” at 4 p.m., Thursday, April 23, in Clayton Hall on the UD campus in Newark.
Plouffe was a key leader in the Democratic campaign of President Barack Obama and Schmidt was a senior adviser to Republican candidate John McCain.
This will be the first time the two men have been together on the same stage since the historic presidential election, which also saw the election of UD alumnus Joseph R. Biden Jr. as vice president.
Both were heralded for their efforts in the press during the campaign. The Los Angeles Times said Plouffe displays “audacity” and “a talent for devising campaign strategy, staying with it under fire and doing what it [takes] to win.” Schmidt, according to the Wall Street Journal, was nicknamed “Sgt. Schmidt” for his formula for success, which was described as “a tightly controlled message delivered repeatedly and with almost military-like precision.”
The University of Delaware connections did not go unnoticed in the national press, and Bloomberg news service called UD the “epicenter” of the 2008 presidential race. “The academic epicenter of this year's presidential election isn't, as in some years past, Harvard or Yale. It's located between Baltimore and Philadelphia at the University of Delaware,” wrote reporter Nicholas Johnston.
The April 23 session will be moderated by Ralph Begleiter, Edward and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor of Communication and Distinguished Journalist in Residence at UD. Plouffe and Schmidt will be welcomed back to campus by UD President Patrick Harker.
The event is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow the presentation in the Clayton Hall lobby.
Schmidt attended the University from 1988 to 1993 and Plouffe attended UD from fall 1985 through fall 1988, both as political science majors.