February 27, 2007 — Adam Nagourney, national political reporter for the New York Times, addressed a full house on the topic of the media and the 2008 presidential campaign at the Shorenstein Center’s brown-bag lunch. The talk was cosponsored with the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics.
Nagourney debunked several misconceptions about the upcoming primary and general elections. He explained that despite the conventional wisdom that there is an extraordinarily large field of contenders, “there are really only six serious candidates”: McCain, Romney, and Giuliani for the Republicans; Obama, Clinton, and Edwards for the Democrats. “Those guys have blocked out the sun for everyone else,” he said, notably excepting Al Gore, who Nagourney believes has the potential to enter the race “at the last minute” and still make a serious run for office.
Nagourney also discussed the impact of the celebrity factor in this election cycle. When asked whether a non-frontrunner, such as Bill Richardson for the Democrats or Sam Brownback for the Republicans — a candidate who Nagourney called a “wildcard” in the Republican field — has a chance to break through, Nagourney replied that chances were slim.
“It would require a collapse of Clinton, Obama, or Edwards,” he said, though he predicted that all three candidates will have “moments of collapse” at some point during the campaign.