Highlights from Day Five of the 2008 Aspen Ideas Festival

July 5, 2008  • Institute Contributor

Contact: Zachary Hastings Hooper
The Atlantic
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Contact: Jennifer Myers
The Aspen Institute
202-286-1680 / jennifer.myers@aspeninstitute.org
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–Highlights from Day Five of the 2008 Aspen Ideas Festival–

Aspen, Colorado (July 5, 2008) – The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic today announced highlights from day five of the Aspen Ideas Festival.  


Political researcher Douglas Schoen released new poll results on July 4 about the American electorate and what voters want from the 2008 election. Designed to provide an in-depth examination of the public’s opinion presidential election, Schoen’s poll found that Sen. Barack Obama holds a slight, but clear lead over Sen. John McCain, and the support for Obama and the Democratic Party as a whole lies in the unambiguous desire for change and leadership for the country.

Specific poll results include:

  • When asked who they would vote for if the presidential election were held today, 47% of voters said Obama and 42% of voters said McCain
  • Despite Obama and McCain boasting nearly identical favorability ratings (54% and 53%, respectively), 51% of voters indicated a preference for a Democrat, while only 35% for a Republican

To view the rest of Schoen’s poll results, please visit http://www.aifestival.org/news.php?article=47

According to Schoen:

  • “What’s most surprising is how much potential there is for John McCain, but that potential has not yet been realized. The Obama campaign has done a better job getting its message out.”
  • “You tell candidates to follow the roadmap. You can’t have an attack du jour. You need to have an attack you stick to.”
  • “I think there is a desire for change, but there is some doubt about Barack Obama. I think what swing voters are saying [is that] he’s an attractive guy, a good guy, but we don’t really know what he’s about.”


  • “Happy Fourth of July. Those of us in the world of sports celebrate it as the birth of George Steinbrenner.” –ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap
  • “Today, relations between India and Pakistan are the best since partition. It’s a remarkable feat by the Indian and Pakistan governments without any involvement of outside power. They’ve done this themselves.” — Ambassador Robert Blackwill, president, BGR International
  • “The biggest collectors [of friends] are adults; they’re called politicians.” –Danah Boyd, fellow, Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, on the MySpace and Facebook phenomena
  • “We have to ask ourselves, do we do something about oil today or tomorrow?” —Vinod Khosla, president and CEO, Khosla Ventures
  • “Patriotism and critiquing your country go hand in hand.” –Jack Kemp, former co-director and co-founder of the public policy institute Empower America
  • “The love of sports, the passion that fans feel, is too deep to be disrupted by individual scandals.” –Andrew Zimbalist, sports economist
  • “I think the biggest disaster in the post-9/11 world was the decision to become a nation that tortures.” — Jeffrey Goldberg, National Correspondent, The Atlantic
  • “The tyranny of how women are supposed to look in this culture — I wasn’t willing to do the blood sacrifice. So as an actor, I was never decorative enough to be the hero.” — actress Tyne Daly


  • U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and Meryl Chertoff attending a session on “Arts and Culture: The International Power and Potential of the Arts.”
  • Newark (NJ) Mayor Cory Booker, Democracy 21 founder and president Fred Wertheimer, and ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap and John Walsh pondering the future of digital journalism during the Allstate Ideas Exchange
  • Fred Wilpon, chairman and CEO of the New York Mets, taking in an evening session on the power of political words


  • A conversation with President Bill Clinton on global philanthropy moderated by Jane Wales, vice president of philanthropy and society at the Aspen Institute, president and CEO of the World Affairs Council, and founder of the Global Philanthropy Forum
  • Actress Tyne Daly and stage director Stephen Wadsworth in conversation on the artist as advocate
  • An evening of song, performance, and conversation during a special live taping of Public Radio International’s “Studio 360” with host Kurt Andersen, musician Steve Earle, and playwright Sarah Jones
  • Allstate Ideas Exchange: The Atlantic’s James Bennet and Jeffrey Goldberg and Israeli journalist Ari Shavit discuss Americans in Jerusalem and the challenges of reporting on Israel
  • A film screening and discussion of Brick Lane with Motion Picture Association of America CEO Daniel Glickman

Video highlights, including clips of Thomas Friedman’s “Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution – and How It Can Renew America” and “Ideas That Are Shaping the Future,” are available on the Institute’s website at www.aifestival.org/audio-video-library.php.

Join the discussion and watch Allstate Ideas Exchange “Digital Storytelling and the Future of Journalism” on The Atlantic.com at http://aspenideas.theatlantic.com/

Run in partnership with The Atlantic, the Aspen Ideas Festival features more than 250 leaders from the fields of arts, science, culture, religion, philosophy, economics, and politics in a deep and inquisitive public discourse on the most invigorating ideas and issues facing the world today. For more information about other events open to the public, a complete list of confirmed speakers, and passholder information, please visit www.aifestival.org. Sponsors for the 2008 Aspen Ideas Festival include Allstate, Altria, Boeing, Booz Allen Hamilton, Chevron, Ernst & Young, Intel, JPMorgan, Mercedes-Benz, and Thomson Reuters.

Since it was founded 150 years ago, The Atlantic has helped shape the national debate on the most critical issues of our times, from politics, business, and the economy, to technology, arts, and culture. The Atlantic’s parent enterprise, Atlantic Media Company, is a Washington, D.C., based publishing company whose flagship properties include The Atlantic, National Journal, and Government Executive. With more than 3 million readers among the ranks of business, politics, government and academia, the publishing properties of Atlantic Media enjoy a prestigious reputation, acquired through 150 years of publishing top-quality American literature and journalism.

The Aspen Institute, founded in 1950, is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue. Through seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives, the Institute and its international partners seek to promote nonpartisan inquiry and an appreciation for timeless values. The Institute is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River near the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Its international network includes partner Aspen Institutes in Berlin, Rome, Lyon, Tokyo, New Delhi, and Bucharest, and leadership initiatives in Africa, Central America, and India.


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