Obama helps the 'Bully Pulpit' gain momentum

CHARLESTON, SC: Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) was expected this past Thursday to deliver the third speech in the College of Charleston's "Bully Pulpit" series on presidential communications.

CHARLESTON, SC: Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) was expected this past Thursday to deliver the third speech in the College of Charleston's "Bully Pulpit" series on presidential communications.

Following speeches earlier this year by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), Obama was expected to draw thousands of students and citizens, as well as the national media, said Dr. Brian McGee, associate professor and chair of the College of Charleston's department of communication.

Though no other candidates have yet been scheduled to speak, McGee said the department's 24-member advisory council, which includes former Bill Clinton press secretary Mike McCurry and PRWeek editor-in-chief Julia Hood, expects to line up several more candidates as South Carolina's presidential primaries near. Republicans will vote on January 19, while Democrats do so on January 26.

"These things tend to be worked out only a few days in advance," McGee added. "Then we basically get the ability to announce them at the same time we start ticketing the event. [But] we've talked with several campaigns that haven't yet participated."

Peppercom is assisting with the series' promotion. Steve Cody, the agency's managing partner, is also on the advisory council.

While the candidates have naturally focused on issues of interest to their campaigns, the series as a whole is intended to provide the school's communications students an opportunity to compare ideas on effective presidential communication.

The department and advisory council plan to ultimately put together some form of "wrap-up" or compilation of the series, perhaps in video form.

"Certainly [the series] has been a wonderful opportunity for students," who have helped managed the events, McGee said. "It helps them engage in the political process and think about effective communication for a national political candidate, let alone a presidential candidate."

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