Presidential Politics in the South

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> “Presidential Politics in the South” is the topic of a Mississippi Today conversation Friday evening in partnership with the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi.
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> The public is invited to the free 6 p.m. event at the Nutt Auditorium on the Ole Miss campus and reserved parking will be provided. A reception following the event will allow the audience to visit with the panelists.
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> The conversation features broadcast journalist and author Tom Brokaw, former Republican National chairman and Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, former Democratic congressman from Tennessee Harold Ford Jr. and NBC News chairman Andy Lack. The event will be moderated by WLBT-TV news co-anchor Maggie Wade.
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> The event is a Chancellor’s Inauguration Signature Event. Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter will make welcoming remarks.
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> “Every presidential election is a bridge in our country’s history,” said Charles Overby, the Overby Center chairman and a member of the board of Mississippi Today. “These panelists have seen past campaigns up close. Their first-hand experiences will be informative and entertaining.”
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> The panel members will be introduced by Overby Center fellow Curtis Wilkie, an Ole Miss grad and longtime political correspondent for the Boston Globe. Wilkie noted that the event, coming on the heels of this year’s first presidential debate, recalls the pivotal role Ole Miss played in hosting the first debate in 2008 between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain.
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> “It’s our effort to bring back to the Ole Miss campus some of the excitement we enjoyed in 2008 when our school hosted the first presidential debate,” Wilkie said. “We’ve got a great and varied group of panelists who can talk authoritatively about high stakes politics.”
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> Brokaw, the former “NBC Nightly News” anchor, is one of the nation’s most respected reporters and commentators on the American political scene. He was the 2016 Commencement speaker for the University of Mississippi.
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> Barbour, a two-term Mississippi governor, brings a national perspective as well, having served as chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1993-97 and working in President Ronald Reagan’s White House. He is a lobbyist in Washington and Jackson.
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> Ford, member of the prominent Memphis family of Democrats, served in Congress for five terms. He is seen as a frequent commentator on national TV programs about the current state of politics in America.
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> Lack, founder of Mississippi Today, has managed and guided national political coverage for NBC and other national news organizations for years. His ties to Mississippi stretch back to his great-grandfather, who was the mayor of Greenville.
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> Wade, a Crystal Springs native, has been reporting on Mississippi news events for WLBT in Jackson since graduating from college. A proud member of the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Wade serves as the 4, 4:30, 5 and 10 p.m. news co-anchor for the station.
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> A wine and cheese reception with the panel members following the conversation is open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP to events@mississippitoday.org.
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> Mississippi Today is a nonprofit news site providing comprehensive coverage of state and local affairs and community issues, including education, health, economic development, poverty and race, as well as Mississippi’s rich social culture. Visit mississippitoday.org to learn more or to make tax-free contributions to Mississippi Today’s news coverage efforts.
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