Sunday, December 28, 2008

My discussion of Professor Barack Obama as part of Time's Person of the Year coverage

Barack Obama was my law professor in 1998. I was fortunate to be interviewed by Time Magazine (along with Illinois State Board of Education Chair Jesse Ruiz) in Classroom 5 of the University of Chicago Law School where we shared our thoughts and experience with Professor Obama's inclusive and real-world-oriented pedagogical style.

The video is available on Time's website here.

Jesse and I start at the 1:10 mark. Here's a partial transcript.

Dan Johnson-Weinberger: My first opportunity to take a class with him came my
second year which was 1998. He taught a class called Voting Rghts.

Narrator: Obama continued to teach, even as he became a state senator,
challenging students to use his political office as an example in class

Dan: He was exceptionally generous with allowing his
political career to sort of be autopsied as an academic exercise.

Narrator: Dan Johnson-Weinberger went on to a career in politics after
finishing his law degree.

Dan: The tough questions that you're kind of not supposed to ask about -- he wanted us to really dig deeply into the intellectual challenge of reconciling competing demands in a campaign finance regime, so he allowed himself to be used as part of the classroom.

Narrator: And, these former students say, the intellectual inquiry they
saw in Professor Obama is what they expect from a President Obama.

Jesse Ruiz: Sometimes you can get lost in the law and the loftiness of what we're
studying and we forget this involves the lives of people. He wouldn't let us
forget that.

Dan: One of the skills he developed at the University of
Chicago Law School was a real hunger for lots of people presenting new and
innovative and sometimes untested ideas to solve problems. I think the times are
calling for and his campaign was calling for bold change. And I don't think
Washington is a bold place. My hope is that that broken political culture in
Washington really does change.

Jesse: I think the greater gains will be seen long after he leaves office in eight years and that will be a change in the attitude of Americans

The people at Time did an excellent job with the video (and they were kind enough to include a screen shot of my company, Progressive Public Affairs) so please do check out the full video. Apparently CNN ran a story about this video as well.

On related broadcast media news, Beyond the Beltway will be airing their taped year-end program where I represented the Democratic point of view tonight on WLS radio from 6 to 8 pm and on WYCC at 10:30 tonight (as well as on the Comcast cable network over the next few days). I'll also be on a BBC Five Live radio show at 6 pm (Chicago time) Tuesday night with my frequent other-side-of-the-aisle pundit friend Dan Proft discussing how Barack will live up to the lofty expectations an anxious world has put upon his shoulders.

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