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Chaos on the Campaign Trail: Inside a Tumultuous Race for the White House

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September 13, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm

Hybrid Hybrid Event

A GOP frontrunner under the cloud of legal peril is trying to stave off a crowded primary field and maintain his hold over a divided party. An incumbent president faces questions about his age and an uncertain economy. As the Republican primary hits its stride, can anyone stop Donald Trump? And what does President Biden need to do to earn a second term? The race for the White House in 2024 promises to be an election unlike we’ve ever seen. Join us as we examine the state of the campaign with two prominent political journalists – Ali Vitali of NBC News and the Associated Press’s Seung Min Kim – in a conversation moderated by Brendan Buck, NBC News Political Analyst and former top aide to House Speaker Paul Ryan and John Boehner. These insiders will help pull back the curtain and examine the questions that will determine who controls the White House in 2025.

Brendan Buck is a Partner at Seven Letter, a Washington and Boston based public affairs agency, and he is an NBC News on-air Political Analyst. He spent twelve years on Capitol Hill, serving as a top aide to two consecutive Speakers of the House. Brendan was Counselor to House Speaker Paul Ryan, leading messaging and communications strategy for the speaker and House GOP. And earlier, Brendan was Press Secretary to House Speaker John Boehner. Brendan was also on the 2012 Romney-Ryan presidential campaign, serving as Press Secretary to the Vice President nominee. He’s held several other senior communications roles on Capitol Hill, including for now-Speaker Kevin McCarthy. In 2017, POLITICO named him to its inaugural Power 30 list, and in 2020, PR Week named him to its annual ’40 Under 40’.

Ali Vitali is a Capitol Hill correspondent for NBC News based in Washington, D.C. Vitali has reported on both President Biden and Vice President Harris throughout the 2020 campaign trail and through inauguration, cabinet appointments and confirmations. In February 2023, Vitali sat down with former President Mike Pence in an exclusive broadcast interview ahead of the 2024 presidential election and her continued coverage of the GOP field. As an NBC News “Road Warrior” in 2020, Vitali followed and reported on the campaigns of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bloomberg during the Democratic primary contests. She previously covered the Trump Administration as a White House Reporter for NBC News Digital and was a political campaign embed reporter on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Seung Min Kim is a White House reporter for The Associated Press, specializing in the nexus of the Biden administration and Capitol Hill. Before joining the AP in July 2022, she had the same beat at The Washington Post, where she led the publication’s coverage on President Biden’s legislative agenda, Donald Trump’s relationships – and battles – with Congress, and three Supreme Court confirmation fights. She has also served as a political analyst for CNN since 2018. Seung Min’s first major reporting role in Washington was as a congressional reporter for Politico, where she spent more than eight years and primarily covered the Senate. She has also worked at USA Today; The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J.; the St. Paul Pioneer Press; the St. Petersburg Times and The Des Moines Register. She is the current president of the Washington Press Club Foundation and a longtime member of the Asian American Journalists Association.

This program is presented in partnership with KU’s Debate Team and the Institute for Leadership Studies.

The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics is dedicated to promoting political and civic participation as well as civil discourse in a bipartisan, philosophically balanced manner. It is located on KU’s West Campus and houses the Dole Archive and Special Collections. Through its robust public programming, congressional archive, and museum, the Dole Institute strives to celebrate public service and the legacies of US Senators Bob Dole and Elizabeth Dole.


September 13, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:15 pm
Event Category:


The Dole Institute of Politics
2350 Petefish Drive
Lawrence, KS 66045
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