Former White House aides to participate in forum at TCU


    The university invites former White House aides Paul Begala and Ari Fleischer Thursday for a political discussion on the November presidential election.

    Professor of political science James Riddlesperger, who will moderate the forum, said he hopes the forum will focus students' attention on the presidential election. 

    “There is nothing else in the world quite like electing a U.S. president,” said Riddlesperger. “It can focus students’ attention on the election and on their vote choice, and that is a positive thing.”

    Lauren Nixon, who is in charge of the forum for the John V. Roach Honors College, echoed Riddlesperger’s sentiment.

    “Mr. Begala and Mr. Fleischer are experts in their field, and we hope that having them on campus will encourage students to think critically about their right to vote and the decision they have ahead of them this November,” Nixon said. 

    Paul Begala is a former White House aide to President Bill Clinton and Ari Fleischer is President George W. Bush’s former press secretary

    The John V. Roach Honors College is responsible for bringing both Fleischer and Begala to campus as part of the annual Fogelson Forum. Since the presidential election is only about a month away, the 2012 forum will focus entirely on politics. 

    Riddlesperger said Begala and Fleischer will be introduced and make a presentation between 15 and 20 minutes long, followed by a question and answer session. 

    Begala and Fleischer will take part in a question and answer session for honors students earlier in the day as well. 

    Riddlesperger said he hopes students will use the forum as an opportunity to learn from two men who have so much experience at the highest levels of government.

    Amy Sentementes, a senior political science major, said she hopes the event will motivate the student body to be active participants in the political arena.

    “This event will serve to both motivate our student body to go to the polls on Nov. 6 and to increase their knowledge of the political climate,” Sentementes said. 

    Collin Yoxall, a senior political science major, said he is excited about the fact that Begala and Fleischer are both such eloquent spokesmen for both sides of the political aisle. 

    “Begala worked in the Clinton White House, and I think he is a very good analogue for the case that the Democrats are trying to present,” Yoxall said. “On the other hand, Ari Fleischer was George Bush’s longtime press secretary and is a very good analogue for the argument that the Republicans are trying to make.”

    Yoxall said he believed both men are good spokesmen for not only the two presidential candidates but for the political parties as a whole. 

    “We don’t just have a presidential election. All 435 House seats are up, and [part] of the Senate is up for reelection as well,” Yoxall said. 

    The Fogelson Forum will take place in Ed Landreth Auditorium on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

    Though admission is free, ticket reservations are necessary. Tickets can be reserved by clicking here. The doors to the event will open at 6 p.m.