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The New York Times spends 36 hours in Phoenix

Downtown Phoenix at night (David Kadlubowski, New York Times)

[Source: Randal Archibold, New York Times] — Like the myth behind its namesake, Phoenix seems to have come out of nowhere to rank as the nation’s fifth largest city. Even long-timers have a tough time explaining the city’s appeal. Phoenix has left no firm mark in pop culture, aside from a bit role in the opening shot of “Psycho.”

The list of famous area residents is rather short: Barry Goldwater, John McCain, Jordin Sparks are among the better known.  And the city is an inferno in the summer.  The other nine months of the year, however, are gorgeous and sunny, making it a perfect time to visit the city’s new bounty of top-notch golf courses, fashionable resorts, eye-opening museums, and cool night life.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Phoenix’s abandoned houses and auction notices signal McCain’s defeat

[Source: The Economist] — John McCain’s presidential ambitions ended in Phoenix’s swankiest hotel.  Next to a ballroom packed with Republican donors and activists, Wright’s restaurant served up lashings of arugula.  The hotel’s spa offered caviar facials and champagne pedicures.  After weeks of populist talk about Joe the Plumber and hockey moms, the splash of luxury was rather refreshing.  The evening began well.  An affluent crowd, done up to the nines, waved their pom-poms and cheered every announcement of Republican triumph, no matter how predictable (“Hey! We’ve won Utah!”).  They jeered as a rock band sarcastically honoured Barack Obama with songs like “Nowhere Man.”  Many knew the election was lost, and reckoned they might as well enjoy the party.

As the scale of the rout became clear, though, the mood turned glum.  “Every civilisation comes to an end eventually,” declared one participant.  Many had cross words for reporters, who are broadly believed to have given Mr Obama an easy ride.  A woman tried (jokingly?) to throttle your correspondent.  Shortly after eight o’clock, the crowd was told to go outside to await an announcement from Mr McCain.  There they stood, stiletto heels sinking into the lawn, and were treated to an eloquent, gracious speech.  The defeated candidate wished Mr Obama well and explained he was proud that America had elected a black man.  He even expressed sadness that Mr Obama’s grandmother did not live to see his victory.

The crowd’s response was not nearly so gracious.  It loudly booed when Mr McCain mentioned Mr Obama and Joe Biden.  When the Arizona senator urged supporters to join him in helping the new president, there were cries of “No!” and “Bush-basher!”  Perhaps most worrying, the crowd seemed keener on Sarah Palin than on their own senator.  Much earlier than many had expected, people spilled out to retrieve their cars from the valet. Driving away from the Biltmore, the aura of luxury faded quickly.  Phoenix has America’s sixth-highest foreclosure rate, and the city’s finances are a mess.  A mile from the hotel, streets were filled with abandoned houses and auction notices — signs of the crisis that, more than anything else (and certainly more than the wicked media) doomed Mr McCain to defeat.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

ASU journalism school in downtown Phoenix to serve as election night center

Cartogram of the 2004 U.S. election results (area adjusted for population size).

Starting at 5 p.m. on November 4, 2008, the new home of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in downtown Phoenix will serve as an election night hub, with top analysts providing commentary, students, and community members watching the returns in the First Amendment Forum and advanced students producing three hours of live TV election coverage. “The new Cronkite School building was designed for major public events — and there’s no more important and exciting event than a presidential election,” said Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan. “We will have students, faculty, political leaders, and community members all together sharing in this historic night.”

Leading political and media analysts from Arizona State University will be available to provide expert commentary to local, national and international media covering the elections. The experts who will be available for interviews throughout the night include:

  • Craig Allen, associate professor of journalism. Expertise: Campaign ads; historical trends in presidential elections.
  • Aaron Brown, former CNN news anchor and the Walter Cronkite Professor of Journalism. Expertise: Presidential elections; media coverage.
  • Robert B. Denhardt, Director of the School of Public Affairs and Lincoln Professor of Leadership and Ethics. Expertise: Leadership and presidential politics.
  • Steve Elliott, former Associated Press Phoenix bureau chief and director of Cronkite News Service. Expertise: State and local races; state referendum issues.
  • Andrew Leckey, director of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. Expertise: Impact of economy on campaigns and elections.
  • Kelly McDonald, assistant professor in School of Letters and Sciences. Expertise: Presidential debates; national politics.
  • Bruce Merrill, director of the Cronkite-Eight poll and one of the leading experts on Arizona politics. Expertise: National elections; Arizona politics; polling.
  • Rick Rodriguez, Carnegie Professor of Journalism. Expertise: National politics; the Latino vote.

“Having all of these experts in one place will provide easy access for reporters seeking to help put election night results into perspective for readers and viewers,” said Callahan, a former political correspondent for The Associated Press. Meanwhile, Cronkite NewsWatch will provide three hours of live election night coverage. The coverage, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., can be seen on KAET 8.3 (Cox Cable 88), ASU-TV (Cox Cable 116), Tempe 11, and Mesa 11. More than 70 Cronkite students and faculty will be providing live coverage from Republican and Democratic headquarters in Phoenix and the national McCain-Palin headquarters. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Where do Obama & McCain stand on urban issues?

Blogger Urban Agent does a great job in compiling information about the urban policy positions of U.S. Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama.  Want to learn more?  Take a gander here.

Phoenix politicos’ “Sweet Home Arizona”

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano tells the Democratic National Convention that “we cannot afford four more years of failing economics and a failing economy.[Source: Denver Post] — Several speakers at the Democratic National Convention attacked Arizona U.S. Senator John McCain’s record on abortion and birth control, and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano took a few shots at him for owning seven houses.  “I come from Arizona, and most of us only have one house,” she said.  “I live in a condo in downtown Phoenix…and I know exactly where it is.”