Mason in the News

Posted: October 10, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage Mason recently received.

Saturday, Oct. 4, CBS News: “The Saturday Early Show”

Interview: Michael Fauntroy Speaks about Battleground States

Michael Fauntroy, assistant professor in the School of Public Policy, gave insight on the battleground states for the presidential election. “Well, I think [Michigan is] a big deal for the Obama campaign,” Fauntroy said. “McCain really didn’t have much of a choice. The polls were going away from him because of economic issues, and Michigan was going to be a difficult state for him anyway… And [McCain] is struggling with Virginia, Florida, Colorado, for example. And somehow he has to figure out a way to keep Indiana, Iowa and New Hampshire in his column, as well… All of these states that we’re talking about, you’re talking about two, three, four-point spreads, so they’re still too close to call at this point. But the reality is in Ohio and Florida. We have other local races that are driving up turnout that may impact what happens in the presidential campaign.”

Saturday, Oct. 4, National Journal

The Bailout Brawl

“It’s called ‘autistic hostility,’ and it may help explain the unusually poisonous atmosphere between Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill this week. The term describes breaking off contact with an opponent and letting anger fester without any further outside information. ‘You lose the capacity to see the other person,’ says Solon Simmons, who teaches conflict resolution at George Mason University. That blindness often leads hostile parties to dehumanize one another and spiral into worsening discord. Add to the mix an election season, presidential politics, white-hot e-mails from angry constituents, and conflicting market ideologies — and you have the recipe for a nasty and protracted dispute.”

Sunday, Oct. 5, New York Times

Laugh, or the World Laughs at You

“Video clips from [Gov. Sarah Palin’s] recent serial interview with Katie Couric, particularly one featuring her assertion that Alaska’s proximity to Russia bolstered her foreign policy experience, fast became YouTube classics. Her performance in the interview provided early trick-or-treating for the late-night comedians. Ms. Palin’s brutal pre-debate period had threatened to banish her to that cruelest of fates in public life, the permanent punch line. ‘There are certain people who once they become joke topics, they are forever joke topics,’ said Robert Lichter, president of the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University. According to Mr. Lichter, since Mr. McCain picked Ms. Palin to be his running mate on Aug. 29 until the debate, Mr. Leno and Mr. Letterman made her the butt of 180 jokes — or more than the other three principals on the two tickets combined in that period (16 jokes for Mr. Biden; 26 for Mr. Obama; and 106 for Mr. McCain). About a third of the Palin jokes came in the three days preceding the debate as damage grew from the Couric interview.”

Monday, Oct. 6, New York Times

Seeking to Shift Attention to Judicial Nominees

“Many conservatives point to remarks that Mr. Obama made on CNN where, after saying he did not believe ‘in a bunch of judicial law-making,’ he went on to describe in relatively explicit terms for a presidential candidate what sort of perspective he would want his [U.S. Supreme Court] nominees to have. ‘What I do want is a judge who is sympathetic enough to those who are on the outside, those who are vulnerable, those who are powerless, those who can’t have access to political power and as a consequence can’t protect themselves from being — from being dealt with sometimes unfairly, that the courts become a refuge for justice,’ said Mr. Obama, who taught constitutional law for years at the University of Chicago. Several conservative observers of the court said they interpreted those remarks as code for Mr. Obama’s intention to select ‘liberal activist judges.’ ‘That comment was pretty remarkable to a lot of us,’ said Neomi Rao, [an assistant professor] at George Mason University Law School who is a former associate counsel in the Bush White House and a former clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas. ‘When I hear about a judge who rules on the basis of empathy, I think of an activist judge.’”

Tuesday, Oct. 7, U.S. News and World Report

The Swing States: John McCain and Barack Obama Locked in Tight Race in Virginia

“[Virginia] is where only one Democratic presidential candidate has won since 1948. And that was 44 years ago, when Lyndon Johnson beat Barry Goldwater. But voters here also picked the nation’s first black governor, Democrat Douglas Wilder, in 1989. ‘Sen. Barack Obama can make history,’ says Toni-Michelle Travis, a government professor at George Mason University, ‘but he has to become more concrete in his platform. People think he’s a wonderful speaker, but they want to know specifically what he’s going to do.’ The economic turmoil, Travis and state political strategists say, has played well for Obama here, and may even help him make inroads in the state’s rural southwestern hills, where he faces his toughest sell.”

Wednesday, Oct. 8,

5 Reasons to Travel during the Holidays

“A more civil flying experience: Air travelers are adjusting to the historic airline cuts by flying less. So it’s unlikely that flights will be more crowded than ever. In fact, it’s possible that more air travelers will forfeit their trip than the airlines expected, which could translate into smaller crowds at the airports and possibly even lower fares. There’s some evidence this is already happening. Expedia says in certain markets, prices are dropping precipitously. Fall fares between Denver and San Francisco are down 32 percent and those between Denver and San Diego are down 30 percent. How about airline delays? ‘Passenger trip delays will remain at the same levels as 2007,’ Lance Sherry, executive director for the Center for Air Transportation Systems Research at George Mason University, told me. That’s not exactly good news, but then again, at least it won’t be any worse.”

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