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By Cheryl Walker
September 23, 2004

WILL THE DEBATES HELP KERRY CLOSE THE GAP? — Maybe. Maybe not. "Debates tend to reinforce the poll narratives alive at the time," says Allan Louden, an expert on campaign rhetoric and political communication. "So, if held today, the debates would reinforce Bush's new found lead." Louden, associate professor of communication and director of Wake Forest's debate team, was Elizabeth Dole's debate coach during the 2002 North Carolina Senate race. This year, he is working for Bob Brown, a candidate for governor in Montana. Louden is also teaching the course "Political Communication" at Wake Forest and via live uplink at Carroll College in Helena, Mont. He is available to provide expert comment on presidential and vice-presidential debates, candidates' communication strategies and political advertising. Wake Forest hosted presidential debates in 1988 and 2000.

Contact: Maggie Barrett at or 336-758-4393.

YOUTH HOLD VOTING POWER — "Given that less than half of young people between the ages of 18 and 25 were registered to vote for the 2000 election, and just how close that election was, it's not surprising that campaigns see potential in this group," says Katy Harriger, professor of political science at Wake Forest. She is entering the last year of a four-year research project looking at ways of reintroducing college students into public life. Harriger also helped organize a program at Wake Forest this year that got freshmen students talking about the election. The incoming students were asked to pay attention to the issues surrounding the presidential race during the summer and be ready to talk about the election at a panel discussion during their fourth day on campus. Harriger said the real challenge is not in getting college-aged people registered to vote but in getting them to the polls. "There are a number of significant efforts by both of the parties and by a number of non-partisan groups to get this age group registered," Harriger said. "Once registered, the challenge will be to get them out to vote. For college students, that often means getting an absentee ballot and getting it back in time. The success of these efforts could make a difference in a close election."

Contact: Jacob McConnico at or 336-758-5237.

HOW WILL BUSH AND KERRY USE ECONOMY TO WIN VOTERS? — "Unemployment numbers have been falling recently, so the Bush campaign is likely to tout that as a sign of economic success," says Jac Heckelman, associate professor of economics at Wake Forest. "In response, the Kerry campaign will likely play up what has been going on during the past four years." Heckelman, an expert in the connection between elections and the economy, is available for comment on how both parties will use the economy to win voters.

Contact: Maggie Barrett at or 336-758-4393.

PAGELS TO SPEAK ON ANCIENT GOSPEL OF THOMAS — The Gospel of Thomas is an often controversial text that many scholars believe may be older than the four canonical gospels. Internationally-known scholar and author Elaine Pagels will discuss this text, contemporary spirituality, her own religious quest and her work with the Nag Hammadi scrolls in a lecture titled "Beyond Belief" at 7 p.m. Sept. 30 in Wait Chapel. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Contact: Pam Barrett at or 336-758-5237.

SYMPHONY DUET ENTERTAINS AT LUNCHTIME — Cellist Selina Carter and Violinist Monika Wilmot from the Winston-Salem Symphony will perform a free concert Sept. 24 at 11 a.m., weather permitting, in front of the College Bookstore on University Plaza (Quad). The concert, part of the Bookstore Lunchtime Music Series sponsored by University Stores, has been moved from the series' regular Thursday time slot to Sept. 24 due to a scheduling conflict. Tickets for the symphony's upcoming pop and classical performances and compact discs will be available for purchase.

Contact: Pam Barrett at or 336-758-5237.

ONE DEAD PARTRIACH, ONE ALCOHOLIC STEPMOTHER AND TWO SISTERS EQUAL "THE SECRET RAPTURE" — In the 1988 British play "The Secret Rapture," two ideologically opposed sisters must deal with their father's death and the issues surrounding his business and estate. Wake Forest University Theatre will open its 2004-2005 season with this production at the MainStage Theatre in Scales Fine Arts Center Sept. 24-25 and Sept. 29-Oct. 2. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. A matinee will be held at 2 p.m. Oct. 3. Tickets are available from the Theatre Box Office, 336-768-5295. Tickets are $12 for adults; $5 for students.

Contact: Pam Barrett at or 336-758-5237.

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