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Mark Petracca on the 2008 Presidential Election

On January 21, 2009, one day after the presidential inauguration, the Libraries’ Speaker Series featured UCI’s Mark Petracca in a timely lecture titled, “The Vote Heard Round the World: Reflections on the 2008 Presidential Election.” Professor Petracca is a recognized expert on American governmental institutions and an astute observer of presidential politics.

Following a warm welcome by University Librarian Gerry Munoff, Petracca spoke animatedly to a large community audience about the long election process, the historic nature of the final vote, the world's response, and the challenges that confront the new president. "The keys to success for President Obama," noted Petracca, "aside from a positive boost of good fortune on the economy, are many of the same qualities which energized his successful election victory—a narrow focus on key priorities and discipline in achieving his legislative agenda."

Petracca also examined Obama’s inaugural speech. "Drawing inspiration from the pragmatism of FDR, the somberness of Lincoln, and the inspired hopefulness of JFK, President Obama," he said, "set forth a new call to American citizens for heightened involvement, responsible behavior, and purposeful action as we address the many maladies facing the nation."

Petracca is Associate Professor of Political Science and of Planning, Policy, and Design at UCI where he also serves as Chair of the Department of Political Science. He is the author of dozens of scholarly articles and books on a wide range of topics involving American politics, political theory, constitutional reform, and public policy. A prolific writer and commentator, he regularly publishes work in political journals, appears on television, and is a frequent contributor to the commentary pages of newspapers around the country.

Beyond academic writing, Petracca is a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, and the Orange County Register, among many others, and wrote the “Man Bites Dogma” column for the OC Weekly. He is a regular panelist on KOCE’s “Real Orange,” provides election commentary on regional and national television, and lectures extensively to educational, business, civic, and political organizations.

For more information, contact Julie Sully, Associate Director of Development (jsully@uci.edu or x44658).

Above: Mark Petracca, front and center, captures the crowd.

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