University of Pittsburgh
August 20, 2008

University of Pittsburgh Faculty Experts Available to Discuss John McCain's and Barack Obama's Vice Presidential Selections

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-The following University of Pittsburgh faculty experts are available to discuss the selection of vice presidential candidates in John McCain's and Barack Obama's presidential campaigns.

David C. Barker, associate professor and director of graduate studies in Pitt's Department of Political Science in the School of Arts and Sciences, is an expert in the American primary and general election process, including campaign management and themes, media coverage, partisanship, and electoral rules. Barker also specializes in political psychology and methodology. Barker's book "Rushed to Judgment? Talk Radio, Persuasion and American Political Behavior" (Columbia University Press, 2002), part of the "Power, Conflict, and Democracy Series" edited by Robert Shapiro, was nominated for the McGannon Communication Policy Research Award and the Bart Richards Award for Media Criticism. It has been cited in many popular media outlets, including "The Atlantic," "The NewsHour," "The New York Times, "The Washington Post," "The Al Franken Show" (Air America radio), and The Rush Limbaugh Show. Contact David Barker at 412-648-7275 (office), or

Susan Hansen is a professor of political science in the School of Arts and Sciences, with joint appointments in Pitt's Women's Studies Program and the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Hansen has expertise in American politics, economic policy, taxation, state and local politics, and women and politics, including state policies affecting women and the impact of women in public office. Contact Susan Hansen at 412-648-7272 (office), or

Gerald Shuster, an expert in presidential rhetoric and political communication in Pitt's Department of Communication in the School of Arts and Sciences, is primarily interested in the political arena from a communications perspective, evaluating communications theories and concepts in campaigns by the strategies candidates and political parties use. Shuster's expertise includes the modern presidency, from John F. Kennedy to the current president. Shuster frequently provides the media with commentary on political issues, campaigns, and events, as well as analysis of presidential addresses. Contact Gerald Shuster at 412-624-5199 (office), or

Jennifer Victor, assistant professor in Pitt's Department of Political Science in the School of Arts and Sciences, has expertise in American politics, the U.S. Congress, lobbying, interest groups, and campaign finance. Victor's articles include "Dynamic Agenda Setting on the U.S. Supreme Court: An Empirical Assessment" in the "Harvard Journal on Legislation" and "The Institutional Effect on Majority Rule Instability: Bicameralism in Spatial Policy Decisions" in "The American Journal of Political Science." In 2004-05, Victor had a congressional fellowship at the American Political Science Association. She has discussed political matters with the media and has appeared frequently on PCNC's Night Talk. Contact Jennifer Victor at 412-624-7204 (office), or

For a list of Pitt faculty experts, visit