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    May 19, 2008  



Do over! DLA Piper put on a lunch for 100 friends and clients last week at the DC Ritz featuring a couple political seers who, at a similar lunch last November, predicted Hillary Clinton would sweep the primaries. That's okay, just shows how exciting things are. This time, former House majority leaders Dick Gephardt (senior counsel in DLA's government affairs group) and Dick Armey (senior policy advisor and co-chair of the firm's Homeland Security Task Force) joined political analyst Charlie Cook, with Gephardt predicting the Democrats will pick up 10 seats in the House and three in the Senate. All we can predict is that these sessions must be good for biz dev.


DLA government affairs chair (and former Michigan governor) Jim Blanchard with Gephardt, who looks more relaxed than when he himself was running ragged for president not long ago. Jim tells us he's negotiating a deal with Canada for a $3 billion alternative to the Ambassador Bridge, the major trade route between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. As a former Ambassador to Canada, he's a little biased, but says it's the most important public works project in America, one which Canadian P.M. Stephen Harper and President Bush discussed at a recent summit in New Orleans.


As the nation turns from primaries to general, it's time for former Hogan & Hartson international trade partner Frank Fahrenkopf to shift gears, too. After chairing the Republican National Committee for six years under Reagan, Frank co-founded and co-chairs the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has determined the moderator, format, and ground rules for the 18 presidential and VP debates since 1988.


Frank, who's CEO of the American Gaming Association by day, tells us McCain and Obama have recently been in contact with him and suggested moderator-free debates, but that it's not a format he'd consider (okay for Lincoln and Douglas's time, but too boring for today). Frank's other debate no-no's include gimmicks like the CNN/You Tube debate featuring a question by a snowman.


So who's on the front lines of election 2008? For one there's Broderick Johnson, president of Bryan Cave Strategies, lobbying arm of the eponymous St. Louis-based law firm. Though Broderick served as Bill Clinton's liaison to the House of Representatives in 1999-2000, he's known Obama since his 2003 Senate run and backs him for president. Besides canvassing for his friend, Broderick spent the primary season traveling to polling sites, where he would spend up to 13-hour days keeping watch on voter rights issues.


The Michigan grad (JD '83) says his most rewarding moment came during the May 6 Indiana Primary, when he met a man who'd spent 90 minutes traveling by bus to three different polling stations, but was denied a vote because he was in the wrong precinct. With just one minute until the polls closed, the man was about to give up . . . until Broderick stepped in and secured a provisional ballot

Andrews Kurth
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