CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Some 50 Xavier University political science students are heading to Iowa on a bus chartered by the Jesuit school so they can get a taste of what it is like to work on a presidential campaign. The students have already signed up as volunteers for the GOP and Democratic candidates now scrambling around the caucus state. Xavier plans to pay lodging expenses for a few days, and has helped its students land seats to watch Saturday night's Democratic debate.
Some pros are joining the group. Maggie Nafziger, executive of the Hamilton County Republican Party, will be with the XU volunteers. So will Brendon Cull, 2004 spokesman for the Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign in Ohio. Cull is an XU product and was the chief of staff for Cincinnati's former mayor, Democrat Charlie Luken. Another Cincinnati area political activist, Jeff Cramerding, will be there, too. Cramerding is the executive director of the Charter Committee, an independent third party that holds two City Council seats in Cincinnati and has been a force in local politics since the 1920.
There will be a student-run blog covering the campaigning at HANSOGGATT Blogspot, and Cincinnati journalist Joe Wessels plans to report about the students, too.
The students have been taking a course, Presidential Campaigns 1960-2008, that examines what it takes to reach the White House. The Iowa trip will move beyond classroom discussion and show how things actually work in the field. The Xavier University online portal is here, and some of the material from the students probably will end up becoming a news story on the site.