Recent President’s Forum speaker Adam Nagourney can be found in the “most important real estate, the New York Times front page,” Mark D. Gearan, president of HWS, remarked in his introduction of the journalist who last week had five bylines on the Times front page.
“There is no better person, in my judgment, to reflect on the current election,” Gearan said.
In his address to the standing-room only crowd in the Geneva Room, Nagourney shared with the HWS and Geneva communities his vast knowledge of the year’s presidential election.
Nagourney then gave a rundown of where he sees things on both sides of the political landscape. He had predicted February’s Super Tuesday would remain inconclusive, but he commented, “I didn’t think it would be quite as crazily intense as it is today.”
Nagourney shared his insight on the Democratic primary election race between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama. “We are in a situation now where they are very evenly matched; there is no clear solution for how to deal with this,” said Nagourney, explaining that while Clinton has the lead in popular votes, Obama has the most delegates. “The one thing to watch out for, the only thing that could change this, would be if Clinton lost in Pennsylvania.”
Nagourney explained that every four years, journalists compare the youth population’s engagement in the election to that of the youth of the 1960s and he commented that “it’s true this year.”
“The Republican side is a little clearer,” said Nagourney. “McCain has a lot of work to do; he has the time and the space to do it.”
Nagourney reflected on his discussion of the Republican nominees six months ago when he believed that Rudy Giuliani wouldn’t get the Republican nomination because of his stands in abortion, gay rights and gun control; Mitt Romney wouldn’t get it because he changed his position too much; and John McCain was out of money and had a troubled history with conservatives.
“McCain is an accidental candidate,” Nagourney said. “He won because he’s both persistent and was in a field where no one else could survive — he was the last man standing.”
In the general election, Nagourney said that the situation could change fast. “We really do not know now what’s going to be hot.” He noted that if economics is the leading issue, Democrats will find support, but if the war is going well, McCain could gain momentum.
When asked about his opinions of the breaking news on the Gov. Eliot Spitzer scandal, he joked, “If you want to do stuff like this, don’t be President or Governor.” He went on to add, “Who would have thought that anything could make the most exciting presidential election of all time uninteresting for one day?”
The final question from the audience was about who Nagourney thought would win the Democratic nomination and the general election. Nagourney concluded his talk charismatically, stating, “I’m in the business of reporting, not predicting.”