Inside Elections: A Look Into Campaign Management and Advertising


March 29, 2016

Panel 1: Mark McKinnon and Patrick Meirick
Panel 2: Sara Fagen, David Plouffe, Russ Schriefer

Campaign managers are the ultimate behind-the-scenes power players during election season and the stars of this two-tiered Engage event.

Path to the Presidency

Explore the history of elections in the Bush Center’s special exhibit, Path to the Presidency, through October 9, 2016. Learn more

Our moderator for the evening was Mark McKinnon, Chief Media Advisor to President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 and co-creator of Showtime’s popular real-time documentary series on the 2016 presidential election: “The Circus: The Greatest Political Show on Earth.” McKinnon has helped sculpt the messaging and advertising for five successful presidential primary and general election campaigns.

The evening began with McKinnon and the University of Oklahoma’s Dr. Patrick Meirick, screening and analyzing landmark presidential TV ads. Dr. Meirick runs OU’s Political Communications Center, which is recognized internationally as a major source for political research and houses the most comprehensive collection of political advertising in the world.

The evening also included a panel conversation among high-level campaign experts from both parties, taking us behind the scenes and telling stories from the campaign trail.

Led by McKinnon, the panel featured:

  • Sara Fagen: Senior Strategist for President George W. Bush in 2004
  • David Plouffe: Campaign Manager for President Barack Obama in 2008
  • Russ Schriefer: Senior Advisor and Strategist for Governor Mitt Romney in 2012 

Campaign Experts Answer: Starting a Career in Political Campaigns

Mark McKinnon, Sara Fagen, David Plouffe, and Russ Schriefer give advice to the next generation of campaign strategists.