Inside American Politics DC
October 4, 2017
Political experts and strategists, joined the Brademas Center for a dialogue on the current political landscape in Washington. Originated by NYU La Pietra Dialogues, and now in partnership with NYU DC Dialogues and the NYU Brademas Center, this series provides students of New York University with the opportunity to learn from practitioners in order to gain an insider's view of the American political system.
This group of political insiders assessed current political dynamics in the first year of the Trump Administration. The panel shared their insights and perspectives on how domestic and international events have influenced public opinion. Moderated by Jay Newton-Small, co-founder and chief executive officer at MemoryWell, the panel included Ron Christie, an American government relations expert, Republican political strategist, and adjunct professor at NYU DC, Kiki McLean, a leading public affairs and Democratic political strategist, Steve McMahon, co-founder of Purple Strategies, Democratic political strategist, and adjunct professor at NYU DC, and A.B. Stoddard, associate editor and columnist at RealClearPolitics.
Ron Christie, founder and President of Christie Strategies LLC
Ron Christie, founder and President of Christie Strategies LLC, is a veteran senior advisor of both the White House and the Congress, brings years of government relations and media experience.
Previously, Christie served as Vice President of Navigators Global LLC - a strategic consulting and communications firm. He previously served as Executive Vice President and Director of Global Government Affairs at Ruder Finn and Of Counsel at the Washington D.C. law firm Patton Boggs, LLP. From 2002 to 2004, he was Acting Director of USA Freedom Corps and special assistant to President George W. Bush. He began service at the White House in 2001 as deputy assistant to Vice President Cheney for domestic policy, advising the Vice President on policy initiatives in healthcare, budget, tax and other policy areas.
Prior to joining the Vice President's staff, he briefly served as counsel to U.S. Senator George Allen (R-VA). He previously served as a senior advisor to former House Budget Committee Chairman and current Ohio Governor John Kasich from 1992-1999.
Christie served as a Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University for the Fall 2011 term. He was appointed as an Adjunct Professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University in 2014. He also teaches The Business of Lobbying at Georgetown's McDonough School of Business He was appointed last year to the advisory board of the Georgetown University Institute of Politics.
Additionally he has also served as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Haverford College as well as an adjunct professor at The George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management and was a visiting assistant professor of Political Science at Haverford College in 2009 and 2011. He has also served as a guest lecturer at University of Virginia's Center for Politics.
Catherine “Kiki” McLean, Chairperson, Board of Directors, Polaris
Catherine “Kiki” McLean is a leading public affairs and political strategist. She served as counsel for the Washington, D.C., office of Porter Novelli and the agency’s global public affairs efforts after four years leading their Washington, D.C. and global public affairs practices and serving as a member of the Executive Committee.
In her work, Kiki’s expertise is in strategic communications and public affairs. A veteran of six presidential campaigns, including the historic 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign, Kiki has more than 25 years of experience leading strategic communications initiatives. She served as senior advisor to the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign in 2008, and has served as spokesperson and led communications for Vice President Al Gore, Senator Joe Lieberman, the Democratic National Committee and others.
Kiki McLean is a native of San Antonio, Texas, and received her Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in Communications from Austin College in Sherman, Texas.
Steve McMahon, Chief Executive Officer, Purple Strategies
Steve is an attorney and co-founder of Purple Strategies, where he serves as Chief Executive Officer. He got his start in politics in the Senate and on the political staff of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and has worked on dozens of Senate, Gubernatorial and Mayoral campaigns across the country.
Steve has served in senior roles in three presidential campaigns, and produced the advertising in support of then Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic National Committee in the 2008 presidential campaign.
For the past twelve years, Steve’s principal focus has been on providing comprehensive reputation, brand image, crisis management and issue advocacy campaigns to companies and industries operating in challenging environments, including BP, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Caterpillar, Bayer, PhRMA, and the American Chemistry Council. He and his colleagues have also handled numerous initiative and referendum campaigns on a wide range of subjects, and helped develop litigation communication strategies for major companies facing significant litigation threats.
Steve appears regularly as a political commentator on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews and other MSNBC programming. During the past four campaign seasons, he was a frequent political commentator on NBC, MSNBC, CNN, and FOX NEWS. Steve is married to Cynthia Alksne, a former federal prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst. The couple has four daughters.
A.B. Stoddard, associate editor and columnist, RealClearPolitics
A.B. Stoddard is an associate editor and columnist at RealClearPolitics. She has covered the U.S. Congress since 1994, for States News Service, The Hill newspaper, and as Senate producer for ABC News. She returned to The Hill in 2006 as commentator and columnist, where her column won first place from the Society of Professional Journalists, Washington chapter, in 2010 and 2011. Stoddard appears regularly on FOX's "Special Report With Bret Baier," as well as other shows on FOX News Channel, FOX Business Network, and CNN. Stoddard began her career as a reporter in northern Virginia at the Potomac News. A.B. is also the host of "No Labels Radio" on Sirius XM POTUS channel.
Jay Newton-Small, Co-Founder of MemoryWall (Moderator)
Jay is co-founder and chief executive officer at MemoryWell and a long-serving Washington correspondent for TIME Magazine and a journalist for Bloomberg News. She is author of Broad Influence: How Women Are Changing the Way America Works, more than half a dozen Time magazine cover stories, and numerous articles on Washington politics, foreign policy, and national trends, and as a Halcyon House fellow is writing a book about caregiving.
Newton-Small was an undergraduate at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, and earned a Master of Science degree in Journalism from Columbia University.
Before TIME, Newton-Small was a reporter for Bloomberg News, where she covered the White House, Congress and the 2004 presidential campaign.
She was a 2015 Harvard Institute of Politics fellow and is a 2016 New America Foundation fellow. The daughter of two United Nations diplomats, she grew up abroad, living in such places as Asia, Africa and Europe. She is fluent in French.