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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.

What Gridlock and Polarization Mean for American Democracy

WHEN: Friday, May 6, 2016 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. ET

WHERE: Bipartisan Policy Center, 1225 Eye St. NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC, 20005

Partisan polarization has deep roots in and a large impact on our political system. As polarization has worsened, Congress and the administration have been less willing and able to confront some of the largest public policy questions facing the country. Is the status quo sustainable?

Join us, along with the National Capital-Area Political Science Association, on May 6 as a panel of contributors to the new book American Gridlock: The Sources, Character, and Impact of Political Polarization weigh in on polarization in the public, national institutions, states, and media and the implications for the future of functioning American democracy.

Join the discussion on Twitter: @BPC_Bipartisan #BPClive


David Karol
Associate Professor of Government and Politics, University of Maryland

Jennifer L. Lawless
Professor of Government, American University

James A. Thurber
Director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, American University

Moderated by:

John Fortier
Director of the Democracy Project, BPC


CCPS Benefactor and Kraus Awards

Are you taking CMI, PAAI, or EPAAI for credit? Apply for scholarships! CMI and PAAI Benefactor Award Scholarship applications are due April 15. EPAAI Kraus Award Scholarship applications are due March 28.

Questions? Please contact the CCPS office



Another Hitler? How world leaders see Donald Trump

Prof. James A. Thurber comments on the Trump campaign

The Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies (CCPS) and the National Capital-Area Political Science Association (NCAPSA) invite you to this lunchtime panel:


Barack Obama and Executive Power: Has the President Exceeded His Bounds?


Wednesday, April 6

American University

Kay Spiritual Life Center Lounge

12:00pm - 2:00 pm


Panel to Include:


Louis Fisher: Scholar in Residence at The Constitution Project


Shirley Anne Warshaw: Professor of Political Science at Gettysburg College


Jeffrey Crouch: Assistant Professor at American University


Moderated by Professor James A. Thurber, Director, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies and Distinguished University Professor


Please RSVP to or 202-885-3491

Lunch will be served

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


Prof. Thurber is scheduled to appear on Sunday, March 6. Watch here



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.

The hearing can be viewed here.

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 Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies invites you to this lunchtime panel:


Assessing the Bush and Obama Post 9/11 Presidencies: Continuity, Change and the Future of National SecurityPower


Thursday, March 3rd

American University

Mary Graydon Center Room 200



Panel to Include:

Chris Edelson: Assistant Professor of Government, School of Public Affairs at American University


Mary B. DeRosa: Distinguished Visitor from Practice

Co-Director, Global Law Scholars Program at Georgetown Law School


Scott Roehm: Vice President of Programs and Policy at The Constitution Project


Jordan Tama, Assistant Professor in the School of International Service at American University


Moderated by Professor James A. Thurber, Director, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies and Distinguished University Professor


Please RSVP to or 202-885-3491

Lunch will be served


Annual Latino Public Affairs Forum

2016 Latino Vote

Latinos represent the fastest growing population in the United States, increasing 43% between 2000 and 2010, and they are the leading edge of a demographic change transforming the U.S. into a "majority minority" country. As of 2012, 17% of the U.S. population, or 53 million people, identified as Latino. Their influence upon the direction of national politics, culture, economic trends, and a broad range of other issues, will only increase.

Recognizing the dynamic role of Latinos in U.S. public life, American University's Annual Latino Public Affairs Forum (ALPAF) seeks to convene academics, community advocates, policy experts, journalists, students, and other stakeholders, to address key questions and topics of concern for Latinos. Each year the Forum will focus on a significant public policy domain that is both impacted by and important to Latino communities in the U.S. ALPAF is also intended to better connect the findings of academic research with the efforts of different stakeholders and important policy and political debates around these topics.

CLALS and the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies will jointly sponsor the second Annual Latino Public Affairs Forum, to take place on Monday, February 29, 2016, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the SIS Abramson Family Founders Room. This forum will consider the impact of the Latino vote on the current presidential election cycle.

Learn More and RSVP


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


Taking CMI or PAAI in January? Apply for the Benefactors' Award!

Learn more about this award, including application deadline and criteria.

AU Experts Forecast the 2016 Election

Panel to includes:

Glen Bolger

 Partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies and CCPS Research Fellow


Anna Greenberg

 Senior Vice President of Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner and CCPS Research Fellow


Jennifer L. Lawless

 Professor of Government and Director of the Women & Politics Institute


Allan Lichtman

Distinguished Professor of History and author of The Keys to the White House, (forthcoming early 2016, Rowman & Littlefield)

David N. Wasserman

U.S. House Editor, Cook Political Report

 Moderated by:

James A. Thurber

Director, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies
and Distinguished University Professor at American University

Apply for the 2015 Gill Family Foundation Scholarship

CCPS and The Gill Family Foundation announces a $6,000 scholarship for dissertation support to a PhD student working on a dissertation in the areas of American Politics, Comparative Politics, Public Administration, or Policy Analysis at American University using quantitative methods.

The Gill Family Foundation was established in 1997 in Houston, Texas, to further the Gill family's interest in support of educational philanthropy. As a statement of philosophy, the Gill family has noted that "Education plays the critical role in providing opportunities for growth, development, success, lasting relationships and satisfaction in life. We are committed to giving back to the system which provided us so much opportunity for success and financial independence."

Apply Now


Conflict, Order and Reform in the House: The 94th—114th Congresses

Read Prof. James A. Thurber’s closing remarks from this conference commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 94th Congress.

CCPS Sponsored the Election Assistance Commission conference on August 12 and 13 held at the School of Public Affairs at American University.

Read Prof. Leighley’s opening remarks.

American Gridlock Cover

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

 Explore Prof. Thurber’s latest book: American Gridlock: The Sources, Character, and Impact of Political Polarization


EPAAI 2015

Prof. Thurber and the European Public Affairs and Advocacy Class of 2015 Celebrate

Learn More about EPAAI

Race Relations in America

American University hosted an important event last week highlighting the issues surrounding the current state of race relations.

Watch Hands Up

The Obama Administration: Legal Issues Involving the Use of Military Force

Panel Included:

  • Chris Edelson: Assistant Professor of Government, School of Public Affairs at American University
  • Lou Fisher: Scholar in Residence, The Constitution Project
  • Shoon Murray: Associate Professor, School of International Service at American University

Moderated by Professor James A. Thurber, Director, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies and Distinguished University Professor.


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.

Gill/King Event

Prof. James A. Thurber, Prof. Gary King, Provost Scott Bass, Prof. Jeff Gill, and Dean Barbara Romzek

Keynote Address by Gary King to Honor Distinguished Alumnus Jeff Gill

Professor Gary King, Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor, Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences at Harvard University presented his research on the Chinese censorship apparatus, at a keynote given on January 30th.

View Professor King’s presentation

Learn More about Gary King

Learn More about Jeff Gill

View photos


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.



Professor Thurber after giving speech at the OECD Forum on Financing Democracy and Averting Policy Capture in Paris, December 3-4, 2014 with Janos Bertok (on left) head of Public Sector Integrity Division, Public Governance Directorate, OECD.

Professor Thurber at OECD

View Professor James Thurber's recent presentation at the Organization for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD), "Political Finance and its Impact on Public Policy and Decision Making Processes…How to Mitigate the Risks of "Capture": The U.S. Case"


CCPS is pleased to announce Gail Baitinger as the recipient of the 2014 Gill Family Foundation Scholarship

Gail's dissertation is titled: If It's Sunday, It's Meet the Men: Examining Gender Differences in Appearances on the Sunday Morning Talk Shows.

Women's under-representation in the news is widely established, but its roots are not yet known. My dissertation is the first to examine systematically whether sexism, journalistic norms, or a combination of the two account for discrepancies in the presence of men and women in the news, the issues discussed by male and female guests, and men and women's ability to set the political agenda. I rely on an original data set of approximately 4,800 Sunday morning show appearances of more than 1,000 individual guests –including elected officials, journalists, administration officials, and activists –as a vehicle by which to assess the roots of women's under-representation in the media and whether gender differences exist in their issue expertise in the news. The quantitative data I collected are from transcripts of all five Sunday morning talk shows and capture every guest who appears on the programs between 2009 and 2011 and the issues they discussed during their appearance. I home in on members of Congress to predict which legislators make the most frequent appearances and the issues they discuss based on characteristics such as sex, seniority, leadership roles, and committee assignments.

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.


White House Congressional Relations: Strategic Options for the President and the Congress

Were you unable to attend? Watch Now!

Panel included:

Charles Brain, President, Capitol Hill Strategies LLC
Assistant to the President and Director of Legislative Affairs - Clinton Administration: 2000-2001
Deputy Assistant - Clinton Administration: 1998-1999

Nicholas Calio, President and CEO of Airlines for America
Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs - George W. Bush Administration: 2001-2003 and George H.W. Bush Administration: 1991-1993

Dan Meyer, Partner, Duberstein Group
Deputy Assistant to the President - George W. Bush Administration: 2007
Assistant to the President - George W. Bush Administration: 2007-2008

Phil Schiliro, Policy Consultant

Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs - Obama Administration: 2009-2011; Obama Biden Transition Team: 2008-2009

Moderated by Patrick Griffin

Associate Director for Public Policy Programs and Academic Director of the Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, Assistant to the President and Director of Legislative Affair - Clinton Administration: 1994-1996

Prof. Thurber Talks about the Midterm Elections


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

AU Experts Analyze the 2014 Election


Thursday, November 6th at 12PM
Kay Spiritual Life Center

Join CCPS, WPI, and the Kay Spiritual Life Center for an analysis of the 2014 Midterm election results. Discussion will include the following panelists:

  • Anna Greenberg; CCPS Research Fellow and Senior Vice President of Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner
  • Jennifer Lawless; Professor of Government and Director of the Women & Politics Institute
  • Candice Nelson; Professor and Department Chair of Government and Director of the Campaign Management Institute
  • Molly O'Rourke; Executive in Residence, School of Communications

Panel will be moderated by James A. Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, and distinguished university professor.

Lunch will be served from 12:00-12:20 in the Kay Lounge. Panel will take place in the Kay Chapel at 12:30.

Please RSVP to or (202)885-3491

Learn More

Dutch Group

Thurber speaks to Dutch journalists

 Professor Thurber spoke on the 2014 election to a group of journalists from the Netherlands sponsored by the Netherlands Atlantic Association, Bram Boxhoorn, Director on Friday, October 24 at American University.

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

Marguerite Jimenez

Marguerite Jimenez

2014 - 2015 Class of White House Fellows

CCPS congratulates AU School of Public Affair's graduate Marguerite Jiménez, who has been named a White House Fellow.

Learn more about Marguerite and other members of the 2014-2015 Class of White House Fellows.

Pre-Election Panel Discussion

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 at 5:15PM
Abramson Recital Hall, Katzen Arts Center

Join our experts as they forecast the 2014 races: Who will win? Who will lose? How will female candidates far? And why?

  • Glen Bolger, Public Opinion Strategies
  • Margie Omero, Purple Strategies LLC
  • John Sides, George Washington University and The Monkey Cage

Light refreshments to follow the panel discussion.

Please RSVP by October 8th to Diane Hsiung at or (202)885-2903.

2014 Public Opinion Quarterly (POQ) Special Issue Conference

New Directions in Presidential Election Research
Friday, October 24th, 8:30AM - 5:00PM
Barbara Jordan Conference Center
1330 G St. NW
Washington, DC 20005 (one block from Metro Center)

The Baltimore-Washington Chapter of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (DC-AAPOR) is proud to host the 8th annual POQ Special Issue Conference.  This year's conference highlights New Directions in Presidential-Election Research and features presentations by the volume's contributing authors. Topics include new methods for estimating election outcomes, the role of racial attitudes and party identification in recent elections, real-time assessments of public opinion, and more. Please join us! 

Learn more here.

White House

Former CMI Assistant Director Speaks at the White House

Former Campaign Management Institute Assistant Director Andy MacCracken, Executive Director & Cofounder of the National Campus Leadership Council, will address the issue of campus sexual assault at the White House. Watch Live


The Diane Rehm Show- Challenges Facing the Obama Administration


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

EPAAI 2014

The 2014 European Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute at the European Commission


Discover the European Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute (EPAAI), including details on our next session.

Learn More

Amanda Shipley

2014 Bryce Harlow Foundation Ethics and Lobbying Essay Winner

The Center congratulates Amanda Shipley, winner of the 2014 Bryce Harlow Foundation Ethics and Lobbying Essay Winner.

Amanda Shipley is the Communications Coordinator at Hellerman Baretz Communications, an award-winning corporate communications agency specializing in thought leadership and branded content development, reputation management, and revenue growth for the world's leading law, consulting, healthcare, and financial services firms.

Born and raised in northern Ohio, Amanda attended Wittenberg University where she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Economics. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Sigma Alpha national honors societies, American Political Science Association, and the Legal Marketing Association.

While working from HBC’s Washington office, Amanda completed a Masters in Political Science at American University.

Read Amanda’s award winning paper and past winners

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

Read Prof. Thurber's comments in Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons' piece in the Los Angeles Times.

American Gridlock

Conference on Gridlock

On May 9, CCPS will host a full day conference on "American Gridlock: Causes, Characteristics, and Consequences of Polarization" at American University, featuring academics from across the nation.

Full Program

Panelists Bios


YouTube Conference Playlist










Hayes and Lawless




Rigby and Wright



Seth Masket's article

Gary Jacobson's paper

Thomas E. Mann's Keynote

For more information, contact

American and EU Flag

Conference on Lobbying Reform in the U.S. and E.U.

On March 17, 2014 the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies hosted an all-day conference on lobbying reform in the U.S. and E.U.

Learn about the panelists


Robert Bauer | Janos Bertok | David Coen | Lee Drutman | Craig Holman | Karl Isaksson | Timothy LaPira | James A. Thurber

Read Holly Yeager's Washington Post Article

Read Neil Vigdor's piece in The Stamford Advocate

Read Prof. LaPira's recent Sunlight Foundation blog post

SOC NPR logo

Professor James A. Thurber on NPR

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.




The Republicans’ Latino Problem and How it Can Be Fixed

Join the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies and the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies for a morning conference tackling this timely and important issue, illuminating the challenges the Republican Party faces with trying to obtain the Latino vote and improve their relationship with Latino voters.

March 7 from 10am-1:00pm

Location: SIS Abramson Family Founders Room

Learn More

Unable to attend? Read about it Bloomberg or watch it on C-SPAN.

Obama 2014

Pete Souza/The White 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

TGS book cover

Celebrating Women's History Month

Join WPI and CCPS as we discuss partisanship and polarization in the U.S. Congress and whether more women can help solve these problems. Sean Theriault will sign copies of his new book, The Gingrich Senators: The Roots of Partisan Warfare in Congress. Panel discussion with former Congresswomen Barbara Kennelly and Nancy Johnson will follow.

Date and Time:

Thursday, March 27th
Book Signing at 11:15 AM
Lunch and Panel Discussion at 12 PM


SIS Founders Room
American University
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016

European Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute- Brussels, Belgium June 22-June 27, 2014

Interested in attending this year’s EPAAI? Join us for an information and Q and A session on any of the following dates:

Monday February 24th from 5pm- 5:30
Thursday March 6th from 5pm- 5:30
Tuesday March 18th from 5pm- 5:30

All information sessions will take place in the CCPS office, Ward 109.

Learn More about EPAAI

Intern while at EPAAI

Applications for paid internships with the European Parliament Liaison Office with US Congress are due February 6th!

Contact Jean-Luc Robert, European Parliament Liaison Office with US Congress, for more information:

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


Andrew Brannegan

2013 Gill Family Foundation Scholarship

CCPS is pleased to announce Andrew Brannegan as the recipient of the 2013 Gill Family Foundation Scholarship.

Andrew’s dissertation is titled: "Understanding Parental Involvement and its Influence on Student Outcomes in the Context of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001."

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 emphasized the need for greater parental participation in the education process by expanding public school choice and by requiring parental involvement in Title I school activities. This research will examine the implications of increasing parental involvement in schools, by analyzing: (1) how each parent’s level of education influences the likelihood of being aware of and participating in public school choice; (2) how different types of parental involvement and school outreach influence student test scores and behavioral outcomes; and (3) how changes in household dynamics influence a parent’s likelihood of participating in school activities. These questions are answered using a variety of quantitative methods and using data from the National Household Education Survey of 2007 and the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999.

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

Remembering Richard Smolka

Richard G. Smolka, a professor emeritus at American University and one of the world’s leading experts on elections, voting and the electoral process, died at his home in Mesa, Arizona, on Nov. 5. He was 81.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Smolka taught in the School of Public Affairs at American for 31 years before his retirement. He created Election Administration Reports, a bi-weekly newsletter on election law and administration for election officials, in 1971 and served as its editor for more than 40 years. It became an industry standard and developed a worldwide readership among those in the business of running elections.

Learn More

Senior Fellow Bob Musil featured in the Huffington Post

Read Dr. Musil’s column and learn about his new book, Rachel Carson and Her Sisters: Extraordinary Women Who Have Shaped America's Environment.


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.


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

Photo by Jeff Watts

The Impact of the Government Shutdown and Sequestration on the Poor

Miss our event? Watch the video!

CCPS Forum featuring:

Marge Clark
Chief lobbyist for Network: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby (Nuns on the Bus)

Amelia Kegan
Senior Policy Analyst, Bread for the World

Scott Lilly
Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Moderated by Professor James A. Thurber; University Distinguished Professor of Government and Founder and Director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies.

CCPS Forum- October 3rd- What’s Wrong With Congress And What Can Be Done About It?


Norm Ornstein- Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

Thomas E. Mann- Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution

Moderated by Professor James A. Thurber, Director, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies and Distinguished University Professor.

 Watch the Forum

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

2013 Bryce Harlow Foundation Ethics and Lobbying Essay Winner

The Center congratulates Lindsey Mears, winner of the 2013 Bryce Harlow Foundation Ethics and Lobbying Essay Winner.

Lindsey Mears is a recent graduate of the MA program in Political Communication at American University. She took part in the Ethics in Lobbying Workshop to enhance her understanding of both the perception and legislation of lobbying activity. Lindsey works at an advocacy nonprofit and hopes to continue working in issue advocacy.
Read Lindsey’s award winning paper and past winners.

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

More News from Patchwork Nation

Read the latest news from CCPS Fellow and Patchwork Nation’s Dante Chinni, including his most recent article in the Wall Street Journal.


Immigration in Border States

The GOP's Gay Marraige Challenge

The Missing Privacy Constituency

GOP Immigration Dilemma

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. 


Eva-Marie Kiefer joins CCPS as a Scholar in Residence

Ms. Kiefer is a PhD student at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies in Germany. Her dissertation examines the mechanisms explaining Congressional behavior during crisis in conflicts with non-state actors.

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Jeffrey Crouch, assistant professor of American politics

Jeffrey Crouch, assistant professor of American politics

Recent News CCPS Fellow Jeffrey Crouch

Preossor Crouch was featured in the New York Times Sunday Dialogue: Using the Power to Pardon.

Prof.Jeffrey Crouch, author of The Presidential Pardon Power (University Press of Kansas, 2009), was one of two political scientists invited to join a dozen legal scholars and practitioners at St. Thomas School of Law's spring symposium, "Sentence Commutations and the Executive Pardon Power." Crouch presented a paper entitled "The President's Power to Commute: Is It Still Relevant?" The symposium was held on April 20, 2012 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Former Maryland governor Robert Ehrlich delivered the keynote address. Here is a link:

Crouch was also invited to speak at Clemson University, where he gave a talk on April 27, 2012 entitled "The Presidential Pardon Power: The Basics." His recently published work includes a chapter, "William Jefferson Clinton," in Chronology of the American Presidency, edited by Matthew Manweller, and a chapter entitled "Redistricting: The Shift Towards South and West Continues" in Campaigns on the Cutting Edge, 2nd Ed., edited by AU's own Richard J. Semiatin.

Watch Professor Crouch’s latest CPAN interview and read his comments in the New York Times.

Read Professor Crouch's latest interview in the Boston Globe.

Learn more about Jeffrey Crouch

SOC Washington Post logo

Crouch quoted on Obama pardons

Read Professor Jeffrey Crouch’s comments on President Obama’s recent pardons in The Washington Post.

Read article

5 Things to Watch for in State of the Union Speech

Several AU faculty, including CCPS Director James Thurber, discuss areas that President Obama should be focusing on in his 2013 State of the Union address.

Experts Surveyed on Congress’ Performance Give The Institution a “C” for 2012

Read the latest from the Center on Congress at Indiana University.

OVERDRAFT: Exploring America’s Debt Crisis

Missed our event in February? Watch the film.

Congress: The Causes and Consequences of Partisanship Deadlock

Read the latest book chapter from the Center on Congressional deadlock

Jaiqi Liang and Jeff Gill

Gill Family Foundation Scholarship Winner 2012

The Gill Family Foundation Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce its December 2012 winner: Jiaqi Liang.

Jiaqi Liang is a Ph.D. candidate in Department of Public Administration & Policy. Her research interests include administrative politics, policy implementation, program evaluation, environmental policy and politics, performance management, diversity and representation, comparative public administration and policy. Her dissertation theoretically conceptualizes race/ethnicity-based environmental injustice in the framework of social construction of target populations, and empirically examines its impact on the bureaucratic distribution of environmental benefits and burdens by enforcing environmental programs inequitably. Prior to the doctoral program at AU, Liang received a MPA with a concentration in public policy at University of Missouri-Columbia. Her dissertation is titled: Unmasking Covert Injustice: Minorities, Social Constructionism, and Environmental Enforcement in the United States.

Learn More

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.

Watch Video

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.

Book Talk with Former Rep. Mickey Edwards-

 James A. Thurber and Rep. Mickey Edwards held a spirited discussion on his book titled "The Parties vs. the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans”

Watch the Video

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.

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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 (counties called Boom Towns) and some growth of support in the big cities (counties called the Industrial Metropolis). President Obama, meanwhile, still appears to hold the lead in the crucial suburban counties (counties called the Monied Burbs) and to hold great strength in the counties that are a heavy with college students (counties called Campus and Careers).

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.

November 8: CCPS Post Election Forum

 Panelists Included:

  • Candice Nelson, Department Chair of Government (SPA) and Director of the Campaign Management Institute.
  • Jennifer Lawless, Associate Professor of Government (SPA) and Director of the Women & Politics Institute.
  • Leonard Steinhorn, Director of the Public Communication Division (SOC).
  • Dotty Lynch, Executive in Residence (SOC) and CBS News political consultant.
  • Eric Hershberg, Professor of Government (SPA) and Director of the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies.

Moderated by Professor James A. Thurber, Director, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies and Distinguished University Professor.

Watch the Video

A Complicated Path to Victory

*Please Note: These results are from BEFORE Pew’s Monday 10/8 poll release*

With a month to go until Election Day, a new breakdown of poll numbers show President Barack Obama has built important leads in key communities where he needs to win big in November. Perhaps even more important, Obama has opened up leads in important swing counties and in some counties that usually tend to lean toward the GOP.

The analysis, done by examining Pew Research Center polling data through the Patchwork Nation demographic/geographic breakdown of counties in partnership with American University, suggests a complicated path to victory for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in the closing weeks of the campaign.

Learn More

Obama –Romney Pew Chart

The Dynamics and Dysfunction of the Congressional Budget Process: From Inception to Deadlock.

Read Prof. James A. Thurber’s latest article on the Congressional Budget Process.

Agony, Angst, and the Failure of the Supercommittee

Read Professor Thurber’s latest publication, “Agony, Angst, and the Failure of the Supercommittee," published 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.

Table Talk Lunch Series

Miss the CCPS and the Kay Spiritual Life Center Table Talk Lunch Series session on the role of Superpacs?

Watch the video!

2012 Gill Family Foundation Scholarship- Applications Due November 16th

The Gill Family Foundation Scholarship is awarded to an SPA PhD student in support a dissertation using quantitative methods.

The selection committee includes: Professor James Thurber, Dept. of Government; Professor Laura Langbein, Dept. of Public Administration and Policy; Professor Robert Jernigan, Dept. of Math and Statistics; Professor Jennifer Lawless, Dept. of Government, and Professor Jan Leighley, Dept. of Government

Learn More

Election and Beyond

Listen to James Thurber’s comments about the campaign featured on German Public Radio, read about separating fact from fiction in Politifact, as well as the tough road ahead for Obama.

The Politics of Employment

Prof. Thurber talks with NPR’s Frank James about what the latest jobs report means for the election.

2012 Bryce Harlow Foundation Ethics and Lobbying Essay Winner

The Center congratulates Evan Kost, winner of the 2012 Bryce Harlow Foundation Ethics and Lobbying Essay Winner.

Evan Kost currently works as a Development Associate at America Votes, the leading coordinating entity for the advocacy work and electoral activities of over 300 progressive organizations at the state and national level. Prior to joining AV, he earned his Master’s Degree in Applied Politics at American University’s School of Public Affairs. During his time at American, he specifically focused on campaign finance and public policy, culminating in a final study concerning 501(c)(4) regulation . He also worked in the same field at both the campaign- and consulting-level, where he assisted the fundraising efforts of several state and federal races. Prior to moving to Washington D.C., Evan received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and English from Bucknell University.

Read Evan's award winning paper.

2012 European Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute

Prof. Thurber led students to Brussels for the annual European Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute. Participants met with politicians, lobbyists, and other high profile stake holders while in the region.  

Learn more information about European Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute.

Professor Patrick Griffin, Representative Henry Waxman, and CCPS Director James A. Thurber

Clean Air Policy Summit

Professors James A. Thurber and Patrick Griffin hosted Rep. Henry Waxman (D- CA) and a panel of experts for a policy summit on the politics of clean air. The event, cosponsored with National Journal, was held on June 6th and took place at the Newseum.

Watch the summit.

Election 2012

Review the latest data on swing states in the 2012 election.

Campaigns & Elections: Voter Turnout this November

U.S. Elections and the Two Party System

Lean about the State Department’s efforts in educating the world in our election system, which includes Prof. Thurber’s expertise on the topic.

CMI Students Take Home Pollie Award

The American Association of Political Scientists awarded a ‘Gold: Best Campaign Strategy’ Pollie Award in the student category to Aaron Alberico, Noah Benjamin, Barton Thompson, Josh Roll, and Garret Bonosky.

The group, all of whom participated in CMI's Targeting and Direct Mail weekend workshop, was recognized for their dedication and exemplary work in the 2011/2012 Political campaign season. The team of five created a thorough campaign strategy book for the Tim Kaine for U.S. Senate campaign. 

Learn more 

International Lobbying Reform

Prof. James Thurber and Natko Vlahovic, Secretary General of the Croatian Association of Lobbyists and Founder of Vlahovic Group, met in Washington recently to discuss their international lobbying reform efforts with the German Marshall Fund.

Learn More

Danny Hayes

“Dude, Where’s my Incumbent?”

CCPS fellow Danny Hayes talks to American Today about redistricting.

James Thurber in the News


Read Prof. Thurber’s 

and Prof. Nelson's 

latest interviews and learn about other AU newsmakers.

Dr. James A Thurber, Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Dr. Stephen Wayne, and Dr. Nada Mourtada-Sabbah

World Forum on Governance

Professor Thurber just returned from the first annual World Forum on Governance, Prague, Czech Republic. US Ambassador Norm Eisen spoke, as well as Norm Ornstein (AEI), and co-organizer Tom Mann (Brookings Institution). The theme of the conference was "Political Governance and Corporate Governance: Innovating to Fight Corruption and Increase Accountability". Professor Thurber led a special session on lobbying reform at the conference. 


James Thurber with Philip Davies

James Thurber with Philip Davies, the head of the American collection at the British Library in London

Reforming Congress: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Professor James Thurber and Rep. Mickey Edwards joined Daniel Schuman of the Sunlight Foundation in a discussion of the history of efforts to reform Congress and what can be done to help it fulfill its constitutional responsibilities. Watch the Video

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.

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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

The E-PAAI Experience

E-PAAI video

Stephen Calabria, a 2009 participant in the European Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute, documented the groups experiences in Brussels and produced a video.

Watch the Video

Ethically-Challenged D.C.?

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

Listen on WAMU

Conference Committees

Prof. Thurber's editorial in The Hill on April 26, 2010: Bring Back the Conference Committees