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Taking CMI or PAAI for credit this January?

 Apply for the CCPS Benefactors Award by November 15. Learn More


The Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies and the Women & Politics Institute invite you to

What Happened and Why?

AU Experts Analyze the 2016 Election

Thursday, November 10th

American University

Mary Graydon Center

Rooms 3 and 4



Panel to include:

Sam Garrett

Specialist in American National Government, Congressional Research Service, Adjunct Professorial Lecturer, Department of Government

Eric Hershberg, Professor, Department of Government, Director, Center for Latin American and Latino Studies

Jennifer Lawless, Professor, Department of Government, Director, Women & Politics Institute

Jan Leighley, Professor, Department of Government

Betsy Fischer Martin, Executive in Residence, School of Public Affairs

Molly O'Rourke, Executive in Residence, School of Communication

Moderated by Candice Nelson, Professor, Department of Government And Interim Director, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies

 Lunch will be served

Please RSVP to or 202-885-3491

Tales from the Trail: AU Alumni Share Their Experiences in the 2016 Elections

 Tuesday, November 15th

American University

Mary Graydon Center

Room 5


 Panel to include:

Anne Caprara, Executive Director, Priorities USA Action
Rick Davis, CNN Executive Vice President of News Standards and Practices
Scott Goodstein, Founder and CEO of Revolution Messaging, the digital firm of the Sanders for President Campaign
Noah Gray, CNN Producer embedded with the Trump Campaign
Polson Kanneth, Senior Editorial Producer, CNN's State of the Union with Jake Tapper
Ed O'Keefe, Political Reporter, The Washington Post

 Moderated by Candice Nelson, Professor, Department of Government And Interim Director, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies

 Refreshments will be served

Please RSVP to or 202-885-3491


CCPS and CLALS Paper: The Role of the Latino Vote in the 2016 Elections

Read the latest working paper here

What Is Shadow lobbying?

Read the latest from the Sunlight Foundation.

Another Hitler? How world leaders see Donald Trump

Prof. James A. Thurber comments on the Trump campaign

Listen To Prof. James A. Thurber on The Diane Rehm Show

Senate Republican leaders say they won’t hold hearings for a Supreme Court justice nominee. This makes an Obama appointment before the end of his presidency highly unlikely. What an eight-member Supreme Court could mean for key cases to be decided this year.


  • Jeffrey Rosen president and CEO, The National Constitution Center; author of the forthcoming book, "Louis D. Brandeis: American Prophet" (June 2016)
  • James Thurber professor and director, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University; author of "Obama in Office: The First Two Years"; co-editor with Antoine Yoshinaka of "American Gridlock: The Sources, Character and Impact of Political Polarization"
  • Nina Totenberg legal affairs correspondent, NPR.


Sanders, Trump won't be able to keep their promises. And that matters.

Read Prof. Thurber’s comments in this piece from The Christian Science Monitor

Prof. James A. Thurber to testify before the Senate Budget Committee

Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, will hold a hearing Wednesday, February 3, 2016 at 10:00am focused on spending on unauthorized and expired programs.

Testifying will be Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Keith Hall, Jessica Tollestrup, Specialist with the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Dr. Paul Posner, Director of George Mason University’s Center on the Public Service, and Dr. James Thurber, Director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University.

Hearing on Spending on Unauthorized Programs

Dr. Keith Hall
Congressional Budget Office

Ms. Jessica Tollestrup
Specialist – Congress and the Legislative Process
Congressional Research Service (CRS)

Dr. Paul Posner
Director - Center on the Public Service School of Policy
George Mason University

Dr. James Thurber
Director - Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies
American University.

Dirksen Senate Office Building – Room 608

10:00am – Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016


The Legacy of President Obama

Listen to panelists James A. Thurber, Andrew Rudalevige; Thomas Brackett Reed Professor of Government, Bowdoin College, and Glenn Cummings, USM's President (Glenn served in President Obama's Education Dept as a Deputy Secretary. He was also a former Speaker of the Maine House) discuss Obama’s legacy on Maine public radio’s “Maine Calling”



Ghazal P. Nadi and Katie Vinopal are the recipients of the 2016 Gill Family Foundation Scholarship

Ghazal P. Nadi is a doctoral candidate in Political Science at American University’s School of Public Affairs. Her research interests include democratization, authoritarian regime durability and quantitative methodology. Her Dissertation looks at institutional foundations of regime stability and fiscal transparency in hybrid regimes with a focus on Middle East and North Africa.

Ghazal’s dissertation is titled: Transparent They Endure: Institutional Determinants of Fiscal Transparency in Hybrid Regimes.

Our normative assumption is that only democracies are transparent, however, an examination of fiscal transparency in hybrid regimes -which are distinguished from outright authoritarians because they combine both democratic and autocratic characteristics- demonstrates that hybrid regimes produce fairly open budgets, and sometimes even outperform democracies. Using an original index of regime typology and cross-national time-series statistical analysis, I show that among hybrid regimes competitive authoritarians with higher dependence on assistance from International Financial Institutions are fiscally more transparent compared to hegemonic electoral authoritarians. Due to their institutional capabilities competitive authoritarians are better able to implement budget transparency conditionality attached to international loans and assistance packages. The more fiscal information is released by the government, the more it needs to demonstrate efficient use of public resources because the failure to do so increases the risk of losing power in electoral cycles which are fiercely contested in competitive authoritarian regimes. These results imply that by fostering and sponsoring budget transparency, international donors can build the necessary and often lacking structures for government accountability and good governance in hybrid regimes

SPA Ph.D. Candidate Katie Vinopal

Katie Vinopal is a PhD candidate in the Department of Public Administration and Policy. Her research interests include education, health, and safety net policies and administration, especially as they relate to social inequality. After receiving her BS in Mathematics from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, she worked at the Urban Institute for more than two years. There she conducted research on issues, policies, and systems impacting low-income individuals and families. Katie also worked at the Food Research and Action Center, where she sought to better understand and improve the quality of public nutrition programs through outreach, technical assistance, and research. Katie has been honored with the 2015 NASPAA Staats Emerging Scholar Award, the Neil and Ann Kerwin Doctoral Fellowship, and the Charles H. Levine Doctoral Student Research Award. She has taught Administrative Politics as well as the Math and Economics Boot Camp for incoming MPP students.

Dissertation Description: Research across the social sciences has long sought to better understand how various inputs—from parents, schools, neighborhoods, policies, programs, and others—are determined and combined to produce child outcomes. One such input, parental time and involvement, has been the object of considerable empirical attention because of its importance for the cognitive and social development of children. The proposed dissertation seeks to better understand three new aspects of parental time and involvement. Essay one takes an institutional approach to investigate whether racial representation among teachers affects a parent’s decision to become involved at his or her child’s school. Essay two focuses on the effectiveness of state-level policies designed to protect parents’ rights to take time off from work to attend children’s school meetings or events. Finally, essay three builds on existing research that estimates differences by socioeconomic status in the amount of time parents spend with their children by investigating two new dimensions of parent-child time: shared time when both parents are present, and individual time when no siblings are present.

Gridlock Cover

American Gridlock: The Sources, Character, and Impact of Political Polarization

Profs. Thurber and Yoshinaka’s latest book is now available from Cambridge University Press


Professor James Thurber Discusses the Republican Debate on the Diane Rehm Show

Hear Professor Thurber; Susan Page, Washington bureau chief of USA Today; and David Folkenflik, media correspondent at NPR and author of "Murdoch's World: The Last of the Old Media Empires", discuss the latest GOP Debate and the role of televised debates in the election process


Op-ed by AU graduate student: "Stop reauthorizing the ‘war on drugs.'"

Read AU student Brody Garland’s op-ed published in The Hill


Presidential Pardons

Professor Jeff Crouch was quoted in USA Today’s article on President Obama’s recent pardons.

Read Now

Recent Article Published by Professors Thurber and Griffin

Profs. Thurber and Griffin co-authored an article titled "Teaching Public Policy Advocacy by Combining Academic Knowledge and Professional Wisdom," in the most recent issue of  Interest Groups & Advocacy. 

Visit Palgrave Publications for more information.

Lobbying and Ethics Laws

James Thurber talked about lobby reform and ethical issues regarding members of Congress. He spoke about previous efforts to change lobbying practices on Capitol Hill and discussed potential change in the 114th Congress. James Thurber is the author of numerous books on politics and government and served as a legislative assistant to former senators Bill Brock, Adlai Stevenson III, and Hubert Humphrey.

This forum was part of American University's biannual workshop (PAAI) focusing on lobbying strategies used in the nation's capital.

Watch C-SPAN Coverage

AU President Neil Kerwin Speaks at PAAI

Watch Dr. Kerwin's presentation from the latest session of the Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute.


Obama Heads to Asia

Prof. Thurber appeared on Sunday's NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt to discuss President Obama's second term and focus on international issues as he begins a three country trip to China, Myanmar, and Australia


 Divided Government

Prof. James Thurber appeared on CSPAN's Washington Journal this week. He talked about how President Obama and a Republican-controlled Congress might operate during the 114th Congress. He also discussed how previous administrations have worked with opposition party-controlled congresses.


Prof. Thurber Talks about the Midterm Elections


Watch Prof. Thurber’s interview by Sinclair Broadcast TV reporter Kai Jackson

Photo of World Bank

World Bank headquarters in Washington, DC

Lobbying and Advocacy in the US and the EU


Read Prof. James A Thurber’s presentation from his recent talk at the World Bank


Watchdog Groups Praise Work of OCE, Say Similar Senate Ethics Office Needed

Congressional scholars, including Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution, Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute and American University's James Thurber endorse plea to keep the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Read More


Federal Radio FED Talk

James A. Thurber and other guests discuss call for reform of the Congressional ethics process.


Congressional Ethics Panel on C-SPAN

Panelists, including Norm Ornstein and James A. Thurber talked about American voters' perceptions of their lawmakers in Washington and how more stringent ethics standards could improve politicians' standing with their constituents.


There's a reason the President isn't often seen on the campaign trail

Read Jay Newton-Small's latest article for Time, featuring an interview with James A. Thurber


The Diane Rehm Show- Challenges Facing the Obama Administration


Listen to Prof. Thurber on The Diane Rehm Show discussing challenges facing the Obama Administration

Council on Governmental Ethics Laws

Read Wesley Bizzells’s profile of Prof. James A. Thurber in COGEL’s latest edition of The Guardian newsletter


USA Today Interviews

Prof. James A. Thurber was recently interviewed by USA today regarding President Obama’s poll numbers and his plans for intervention in Iraq.

Obama's focus turns to narrower achievements

Professor James A. Thurber on NPR

SOC NPR logo

Professor Thurber was recently interviewed by NPR’s Scott Horsely on the presidential budget

Professor Thurber also appeared on Ken Rudin’s “Political Junkie” to discuss Rep. John Dingell’s retirement from the House.



Obama's icy relationship with Congress: Can it ever thaw?

Listen Professor James Thurber comment in this report by The Christian Science Monitor’s Francine Kiefer.



Lobbying Graphic

The Nation

Where Have All the Lobbyists Gone?

Prof. James Thurber share his knowledge of the lobbying industry in this article featured in The Nation.

Learn More

Dee Dee Myers with CCPS Students

Dee Dee Myers Visits CCPS Institutes

Former Whitehouse Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers spoke to students of the Campaign Management Institute and Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute in January. 

Learn More


2013 Hatfield Scholar Award Presented to Professor James A. Thurber

Professor James A. Thurber is the recipient of the 2013 Hatfield Scholar Award. The award is given by Portland State University faculty in recognition of an exceptional scholar whose career best exemplifies the Hatfield commitment to public interest and public service.

Learn More

The JFK Assassination Anniversary: Public Perceptions And Political Realities- The Diane Rehm Show

Listen to panelists James Thurber, Robert Dallek; presidential historian, Larry Sabato; founder and director, University of Virginia Center for Politics, and Bill Minutaglio; professor of journalism at the University of Texas, Austin discuss the JFK assassination on the eve of the 50th anniversary.

Listen to the Diane Rehm Show

Day-After Analysis of State Election Results


Listen to James A. Thurber discuss election results on WAMU’s The Diane Rehm Show. Other guests include:

Ed O'Keefe ; Congressional reporter, The Washington Post.

John Harwood; Chief Washington correspondent, CNBC; reporter, The New York Times.

Liz Sidoti; National political editor, AP.

Here’s Something Congress Can Agree On: Helium

Listen to James A. Thurber interviewed on NPR about the government shutdown.

The Shifting Suburbs: Changes in the Nation’s Political Fulcrum

Watch C-SPAN coverage of this joint CCPS-WIPAR conference.

Professor James Thurber on NPR

Listen to Prof. Thurber’s comments on Syria in an interview with NPR’s David Welna

CCPS Fellow Walter Oleszek honored by the National Capital Area Political Science Association

Congratulations to CCPS Fellow Walter Oleszek, the 2013 recipient of the Walter Beach Pi Sigma Alpha Award.

Learn more about Prof. Walter Oleszek

Read this recent Roll Call article about Walter

CBS Sunday Morning- Behind the Closed Doors of Washington Lobbyists

Watch James Thurber discuss lobbying on CBS Sunday Morning.

Partisan Rancor In The Senate And The Future Of The Filibuster- The Diane Rehm Show


Listen to James A. Thurber discuss the politics of Senate rule changes on WAMU’s The Diane Rehm Show.

NASAA Insight

Read the latest NASAA Insight newsletter, featuring comments from James A. Thurber.

Students invited to lecture at the European Commission

This year’s European Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute class was invited to a recent meeting of the European Commission.

Watch the video

Politics of Climate Change

Miss our June event? Watch the video.

CCPS Forum: The Politics of Climate Change

June 19th
The Knight Studio
3rd Floor, The Newseum

Commemorations Dot 2013 Calendar


Read Prof. Thurber’s comments in a recent USA Today article about upcoming JFK commemorations.

Professor Thurber to Address CED’s Spring Policy Conference

Professor Thurber is participating in the Committee for Economic Development’s Spring Policy Conference in Washington.

Learn More

President Barack Obama

Has President Obama Changed the Way Washington Works?

Read Prof. Thurber’s article on, an online reference guide to African American history compiled by Prof. Quintard Taylor of the University of Washington, Seattle

Photo of the Washington Monument and the Washington, DC skyline at night.

Photo by Jeff Watts

President Obama’s Lobbyist Problem

Read Professor Thurber’s blog post for The Bryce Harlow Foundation.


Learn more about the Foundation

Unequal Justice: the Relentless Rise of the 1% Court

Miss our April 8th event? Watch the film

Campaign Management Institute Assistant Director Andy MacCracken on C-SPAN

Andy MacCracken appeared on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal to discuss his organization’s efforts to engage young voters on a national level about a variety of issues including the national debt, fiscal responsibility, college affordability and youth voter turnout. 


Photo: new WAMU logo

Compromise in Congress to Avert the Fiscal Cliff- The Diane Rehm Show

Listen to James A. Thurber as he joins guests Norm Ornstein and Alice Rivlin to discuss the state of Congress and compromise.

Learn More

James A. Thurber appears on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal

Professor James Thurber discusses the Electoral College on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal.

Read Prof. Thurber’s comments in the latest edition of American Magazine

Peter G. Peterson

The Man Behind the Fiscal Cliff

Prof. James A. Thurber comments in Peter Overby’s NPR story on the man who brought attention to the fiscal cliff.

Also read James A. Thurber's comments in a recent story by NPR's Frank James on campaign finance.

SOC Washington Post logo

Forget Creativity: Can Lobbying Be Taught?

Learn about lobbying schools and Prof. Thurber’s views on lobbying education in this piece in The Washington Post.

Professor James Thurber Discusses Election Outcomes on the Diane Rehm Show

Hear Professor Thurber, Andrew Kohut; director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press and Michelle Bernard; founder and president of the Bernard Center for Women, Politics and Public Policy as they analyze the results.


Presidential Poll: Aging ‘Emptying Nest’ counties look crucial in the Midwest, Give Edge to Obama

As the 2012 presidential race heads for the home stretch, a new poll analysis by American University and Patchwork Nation suggests that a popular/electoral vote split is a very real possibility – with key aging Midwestern counties giving the president an edge in the race to 270 electoral votes. The findings come from an examination of the latest Pew Research Center presidential poll using the Patchwork Nation demographic/geographic breakdown of U.S. counties

Learn More

Read the Latest Analysis

Panel James A. Thurber, Evan Thomas, Jim Newton, Michael Birkner, and Executive Director Carl Reddell

Eisenhower Scholars Examine Ike’s Role with the Media

Did Ike like the media? Or did he consider them a necessary nuisance? Did he use their reach and credibility to telegraph messages to other world leaders?

An expert panel, moderated by James A. Thurber, included Evan Thomas, whose book "Ike's Bluff" was recently released, Eisenhower biographer Jim Newton and Michael Birkner of Gettysburg College.

Learn More

The Romney Post-Debate Bounce – What’s clear and what’s uncertain: A Patchwork Nation Analysis of the latest Pew Research Center Poll

By most every account, Republican nominee Mitt Romney shook up the presidential race last week with a strong showing in the first presidential debate. By early last week, polls from Gallup to Pew seemed to indicate the race had changed.

The question is how much. To help answer that question Patchwork Nation broke down the data inside the most recent Pew Research Center poll using its 12 types of counties to get a sense of where the Romney surge is most visible. Repeating a method of analysis we have used on previous Pew polls.

The breakdown, released here in conjunction with American University, shows a big surge in the exurbs for Romney and some growth of support in the big cities. President Obama, meanwhile, still appears to hold the lead in the crucial suburban counties and to hold great strength in the counties that are a heavy with college students.

Learn More

Independents and Swing Voters: Who are they, and will they decide the election?

Miss our lively forum on swing voters in September?

Watch the video!

Lobbying Remarks in Deutsche Welle

Read Prof. Thurber’s remarks on lobbying in the financial industry in a recent story in Deutsche Welle.

What’s Wrong with Congress and What Should Be Done About It?

Read Prof. Thurber’s recent article on Congressional dysfunction.

Agony, Angst, and the Failure of the Supercommittee

Professor Thurber’s latest publication, “Agony, Angst, and the Failure of the Supercommittee," can be found in Extensions, a journal of the Carl Albert Congressional and Research Studies Center at The University of Oklahoma.

Photo of Diane Rehm

Diane Rehm (Photo courtesy of WAMU)

How The Electoral College Works

Listen to James A. Thurber and Jeffrey Rosen on The Diane Rehm Show.

Kennedy Center Celebrates the 50th anniversary of JFK's inauguration.

Prof. James Thurber was featured on a panel at the Kennedy Center with actor Stacy Keach, star of the award winning play Frost/Nixon. The two spoke at an event as part of the Kennedy Center's celebration of the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's inauguration. Learn more

Featured Faculty


Anita McBride, Executive-in-Residence, has a long and distinguished career in American politics and government. Most recently, she served as Assistant to President George W. Bush and Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush.

See More

30 Years of Winning Strategy

James Thurber, middle, listens in on a lecture.

Now in its thirtieth year, the Campaign Management Institute has become an internationally recognized dynamic curriculum drawing students from across the globe to learn and practice the art and science of campaigning.

30 Years of Success

Ethically-Challenged D.C.?

James Thurber discusses lobbying, earmarks, and ethics in the capital city on the Kojo Nnamdi Show.

Listen on WAMU

Taking CMI or PAAI for credit this January?

 Apply for the CCPS Benefactors Award by December 1. Learn More

Benefactors Award