University of Pittsburgh
April 26, 2009

President Obama's First 100 Days

Pitt experts available to discuss Obama's accessibility and rhetorical style as well as his energy policy
Contact:  412-624-4147

Accessibility and Rhetorical Style

President Barack Obama's high poll numbers in his first 100 days are in large measure a function of his accessibility and communications skills, says Gerald R. Shuster, an expert on presidential rhetoric and political communication in the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Communication. With his town-hall meetings and electronic communications networks, Obama is the most publicly accessible president since Franklin D. Roosevelt, Shuster says. Those aspects of his early presidency, along with his rhetorical style, have enhanced his credibility and resulted in his being able to make tangible progress not only on his campaign initiatives, but also, more importantly, on critical issues facing the nation, according to Shuster. Shuster's primary areas of research are from a political communications perspective-evaluating communication theories and concepts as they are applied and integrated into political campaigns. Shuster may be reached at or 724-543-2246, or through John Fedele.

Commitment to Energy Efficiency

The Obama Administration is the first in many decades to address long-term underinvestment and deregulation of the nation's power infrastructure, which has resulted in reduced reliability in the delivery of electricity, says Gregory Reed, an electric power-grid expert in Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering and director of the school's Power and Energy Initiative. The administration has allotted billions for power grid upgrades, including an April 16 commitment of more than $3.3 billion in federal grants to establish a national electric 'smart' grid, a series of digitally networked devices that can monitor power generation and delivery and respond to customer demand. "The Obama Administration's commitment to the advancement and development of such new technologies as SmartGrids, energy storage, and power conversion systems, as well as effective energy efficiency methods, both renewable and alternative, are all necessary for innovation, jobs, and economic growth in the emerging 'energy economy,'" Reed says. Reed is a professor of electrical and computer engineering and a recognized authority on advanced electric power generation, transmission and distribution systems, and power electronics technologies, with 25 years of experience in the power industry. Before coming to Pitt, Reed focused on creating more efficient and advanced electric power systems. He has written or coauthored more than 50 papers and technical articles on power system analysis and the application of power systems technologies. He was a major contributor to the drafts and proposals for the 2005 U.S. Energy Policy Act, including written language pertaining to energy-related research, education, and market initiatives. Reed may be reached through Morgan Kelly.