Duke Students Celebrate Historic Presidential Election

Election Returns 2008Nearly 700 Duke students crowded into the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy Tuesday for “Duke Votes” to witness the historic election of the nation’s first African American president, Barack Obama. Five large-screen televisions aired election coverage from Fox TV, MSNBC, CNN and other networks, offering a variety of political perspectives.

The mostly Democratic crowd began the evening in a guarded mood that quickly turned optimistic with the announcement that Pennsylvania had gone blue. Students posed for photos with life-size cutouts of the candidates and surfed Internet sites on laptops for details on the races. They enjoyed free food and drink both inside and outside in a tent on the lawn. When it became clear that Obama had garnered the needed electoral votes to win, most in the crowd erupted in cheers and shouts.

Despite organizers’ attempts to offer something for everyone, one John McCain supporter commented that there were few like-minded students in the sea of Obama buttons, stickers and T-shirts. Jason Pate, president of the Duke Public Policy Majors Union, told the Duke Chronicle that attendance mirrored the Duke student population, which overwhelmingly supported the Democratic nominee.

The event was sponsored by the Duke University Union, the Graduate and Professional School Council, and the Public Policy Majors Union.

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“A President for All Americans”
John Hope Franklin, Duke professor emeritus, speaks about Barack Obama’s election, Nov. 5, 2008.

Eric Sapp (MPP/MDiv ‘02) of the Eleison Group comments on the success of positive, hopeful messages in the 2008 presidential election on “The 700 Club,” Nov. 5, 2008.

Duke political science chairman Michael Munger discusses his experiences as the Libertarian candidate for N.C. governor.

Cartoonists, “Daily Show” Staffers to Share Their Craft in “Laughing at Power” Panel on Satire in Politics, Nov. 11.

The 2008 Zeidman Memorial Colloquium on media coverage of the campaigns takes place Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008, at 1 p.m. in the Fleishman Commons at the Sanford Institute. Fresh off the campaign trail and election desks, panelists are: Garrett Graff, Washingtonian editor and founding editor of mediaBistro.com's Fishbowl D.C.; Ruth Marcus, editorial writer and columnist for The Washington Post; Mark Shields, political analyst with the News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS; and Jeff Zeleny, a New York Times correspondent who covered Barack Obama on the campaign trail.