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The Road to the White House

Expert sources at the University of Illinois on issues relating to the 2008 elections

News Bureau,

Peter Nardulli
Peter Nardulli
Scott Althaus
Scott Althaus
John Lynn
John Lynn
Anne Villamil
Anne Villamil
J. Fred Giertz
J. Fred Giertz
Lizanne DeStefano
Lizanne DeStefano
 Gary Schnitkey
Gary Schnitkey
Eric Freyfogle
Eric Freyfogle
Don Fullerton
Don Fullerton
Tom O'Rourke
Tom O'Rourke
Michael LeRoy
Michael LeRoy
Jabari Asim
Jabari Asim
Tracy Sulkin
Tracy Sulkin
Brian Gaines
Brian Gaines
David Roediger
David Roediger
Richard Kaplan
Richard Kaplan
John Murphy
John Murphy
Click photo to enlarge
DeStefano, Freyfogle, Villamil, O'Rourke,LeRoy, Murphy and Roediger photos by L. Brian Stauffer

Campaigns and voting patterns
Peter Nardulli, professor of political science
office: 217-265-7846
Nardulli is an expert on historical voting patterns in presidential elections and so can discuss the historical context of the current campaign.

Campaigns, media and advertising
Scott Althaus (pronounced ALL-touse), professor of political science and of communication
office: 217-333-8968
Althaus knew the fall campaign would go very negative and can explain why; he studies political advertising strategies and effects, news coverage of campaigns, and voter behavior; he is completing a study on media coverage of war.

Defense policy: rebuilding the American military
John Lynn, professor of history
office: 217-333-2035; home: 217-356-6336
Rebuilding and reforming U.S. armed forces will be one of the paramount challenges faced by the next president, says Lynn, a faculty member in the U. of I.’s Program in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security. In a recent research article, Lynn proposed several steps for positioning the American military to more effectively perform a diverse range of tasks corresponding to a spectrum of threats.

Anne Villamil (pronounced vill-uh-mill), professor of economics
office: 217-244-6330; cell: 217-721-7017
Villamil says surging energy costs, a struggling housing market, and a lingering credit crisis are pulling down the nation’s economy, and will continue to be challenges for a new administration.

Economy, tax policy
J. Fred Giertz, professor of economics
office: 217-244-3108; home: 217-351-9148
Giertz, the interim head of the university’s economics department and faculty member in the U. of I. Institute of Government and Public Affairs, says lingering instability in financial markets has increased the risk of a recession, but says odds are still less than 50-50 and any recession would likely be modest and short-lived.

Education and No Child Left Behind
Lizanne DeStefano, professor of educational psychology
office: 217-333-0963
DeStefano is an expert on assessment and testing, and has evaluated numerous state and federal initiatives aimed at improving schooling; she can discuss the pros and cons of the No Child Left Behind legislation, as well as what needs to be fixed in any renewal of the legislation.

Eric T. Freyfogle (pronounced FRY-foh-gull), professor of law
office: 217-333-8713; cell 217-714-7754
Freyfogle specializes in issues relating to the private ownership of land and natural resources, along with matters relating to wildlife, including questions about the “taking” of private rights and land planning for conservation goals.  His various books deal with these topics and with the larger issues of conservation policy and cultural criticism.

Farm economy
Gary Schnitkey, professor of agricultural and consumer economics
office: 217-244-9595; cell: 217-898-3762
Schnitkey is an authority on farm management, specializing in risk management. He is a co-author of a bi-monthly newsletter, “Illinois Farm Economics: Facts and Opinions,” which examines issues that affect farmers.

Foreign policy, war and peace
Paul Diehl (pronounced deal), professor of political science
office: 217-333-9356
Diehl studies issues of international war and peace, U.N. peacekeeping, geopolitics and international law; he serves as the director of the Correlates of War Project, the largest data collection effort on international conflict in the world, and is the author of the recent book “Peace Operations.”

Gasoline prices
Don Fullerton, professor of finance
office: 217-244-3621; cell: 512-750-6012
Fullerton, a former deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department, says high gas prices could ultimately bring sweeping societal changes that could even affect the nation’s housing market as workers move closer to their jobs.
Fullerton also is in the U. of I. Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

Health care
Tom O’Rourke, professor emeritus of community health
home: 217-352-4991; cell: 217-840-7036
While the United States has the highest per capita spending on health care of any industrial nation, U.S. health-care consumers continue to reap fewer benefits than counterparts in other countries, according to Tom O'Rourke, a professor emeritus of community health. O'Rourke, who has spent his career researching U.S. and world health-care systems, says health-care restructuring is necessary to relieve the burden of costs and increase the overall health of the nation.

Labor issues
Michael LeRoy, (pronounced luh-roy), professor of law and of labor and employment relations
office: 217-244-4092; cell: 217-766-5012
LeRoy is an authority on employment law, mandatory arbitration and other workplace issues. He was a presidential adviser during a 2002 labor dispute that shut down ports on the West Coast.

Obama’s success and what it means
Jabari Asim (pronounced juh-BAR-ee ah-SEEM), scholar-in-residence, African American studies
cell: 301-518-5623
Asim, the author of “The N Word,” is finishing “What Obama Means,” a book that explores the Illinois politician’s unprecedented rise and the pop-culture developments that made it possible; Asim also is editor-in-chief of the NAACP publication “The Crisis” and a former editor at The Washington Post.

Politicians and promises
Tracy Sulkin, professor of political science
office: 217-244-8413
Contrary to common belief, members of Congress are good at keeping their campaign promises, Sulkin says. Her view is based on research she has conducted for an upcoming book.

Polling, public opinion, voting
Brian Gaines, professor of political science
office: 217-333-4367
Gaines, a faculty member of the U. of I. Institute of Government and Public Affairs, studies elections, voting, and public opinion, including polling.  He has focused, of late, on different polling methods and on the impact of electoral rules.

Race in U.S. history
David Roediger (pronounced ROW-dig-er), professor of history
office: 217-265-0518
Roediger is the author of the recent book “How Race Survived U.S. History: From Settlement and Slavery to the Obama Phenomenon.” Although he believes Barack Obama may be elected president, Roediger thinks talk of a “post-racial” America ignores ongoing issues of inequality.

Social Security, Medicare, income tax
Richard Kaplan, professor of law
office: 217-333-2499; home: 217-359-1819
Kaplan has studied the national retirement program for nearly two decades, and wrote a just-published guide to benefits and a paper that debunks what he calls the top 10 “myths” about Social Security.

Speechmaking and presidential rhetoric
John Murphy, professor of communication
office: 217-333-1593
Murphy studies presidential rhetoric and has written extensively about John F. Kennnedy and Bill Clinton, among others. He can discuss the role that speechmaking played in the campaign, the respective styles and themes of the candidates, as well as the important role that speeches and rhetoric play for presidents in governing.

World trade issues, WTO, NAFTA
Todd Allee (pronounced alley), professor of political science
office: 217-244-1822
Allee is an expert on international trade and international organizations, particularly those that govern trade and foreign investment. He is completing a book manuscript on the dynamics of trade protection and dispute resolution under the World Trade Organization.