News Release: Politics

Aug. 26,  2008

Obama Needs to Hit Back, Define Himself, says Westen

Emory University's Drew Westen, author of  "The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation," has sharp advice for Sen. Barack Obama's campaign during its defining moment this week at the Democratic Convention in Denver.

"In the presidential race of 2004 we had the 'Two Americas.' In this year's race we have the 'Two Obamas': the one who has drawn repeated comparisons to JFK, RFK, and MLK, and the one who has drawn comparisons to Adlai Stevenson, Michael Dukakis, and John Kerry," writes Westen in a piece for HuffingtonPost.com. "Whether Obama will win the general election depends on whether he and his campaign make sure that the right Obama shows up for the remainder of the campaign." Read the full analysis in the Huffington Post.

Westen, a professor of psychology and psychiatry, has explored the role of emotions in how the brain processes information for 20 years. The "Political Brain" describes how a better understanding of the mind translates into better campaign strategy and more compelling messages on the thorniest issues, from abortion to guns to race.

Since the book's publication last year, Westen has advised or worked as a political consultant for presidential, congressional and state-level Democratic candidates, progressive and labor organizations and Fortune 500 companies.

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