Not long after the 2004 presidential election, the Annenberg Public Policy Center gathered Democratic and Republic strategists for a debriefing and questions from scholars and the media.
Day One (December 3) featured presentations by the two presidential campaigns. Matthew Dowd, Mark McKinnon, Alex Castellanos, Elizabeth Cheney, Tucker Eskew and Nicolle Devenish represented the Bush-Cheney campaign. Mary Beth Cahill, Michael Donilon, Bill Knapp, Mark Mellman, Bob Shrum and Joe Lockhart represented the Kerry-Edwards campaign.
The strategists reported on campaign organization and strategy, advertising, polling, debate strategy and effects as well as the press/campaign relationship. Presentations were followed by questions from the other campaign consultants and the 80 scholars in attendance.
Day two (December 6) focused on the campaign advertising of the independent political groups known as “527s.” Representing groups supporting Republicans were Brian McCabe, president of Progress for America Voter Fund, and Chris LaCivita, chief strategist of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Representing Democratic-supporting groups were Erik Smith, president of The Media Fund, and Bill Zimmerman, campaign manager of MoveOn.org Voter Fund. Their presentations were followed by questions from the 50 students and reporters in attendance.
The Annenberg Public Policy Center has held election debriefings since 1992.