'Historic' election motivates students, engages Indiana

Election edition Come January, the nation will have either its first African-American president in Barack Obama or its first female vice president in Sarah Palin. A new leader will take over promising reform but will be forced to deal with an economic crisis as a first order of business. "It certainly is historic. I don't think there's any question about that," said Ted Carmines, the Warner O. Chapman Professor of political science at Indiana University Bloomington.  Full Story

Health policy: Candidates say it's a priority, but have different ideas about reform

Healthcare America

Both Barack Obama and John McCain say they want to control health-care costs and provide access to coverage for many of the 47 million Americans who are uninsured. But their approaches are fundamentally different. Obama wants to expand employer-based health coverage and use the government to promote access. McCain wants to use tax credits and the power of the free market to enable more people to buy health-care coverage.

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Energy and climate change: Whoever wins will face big challenges


Both John McCain and Barack Obama say they want to address the issue of climate change through a cap-and-trade program for controlling emissions of greenhouse gases. But doing so in a meaningful way will fundamentally change the U.S. economy -- a potential deal-breaker given current fiscal problems -- says Ken Richards, an energy and climate policy expert at the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

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Iraq: vital U.S. interests are at stake, professor says


Iraq represents one of the sharpest divides between U.S. Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain, with Obama calling for a "responsible, phased withdrawal" of U.S. troops and McCain insisting it is "strategically and morally essential" for the U.S. to win in Iraq. Feisal Istrabadi, a visiting law professor at IU and former Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations, wishes the candidates could engage in a clear discussion of U.S. vital interests in Iraq.

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Managing the government: a hidden challenge for the next president

Uncle Sam's bill

In January, either John McCain or Barack Obama will enter the presidency with an ambitious agenda to reform areas such as health care, foreign policy, energy policy and environmental regulation. But the federal government's struggles with the current financial and personnel management situation will pose a serious impediment to implementing new policies, according to James Perry, Chancellor's Professor of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University.

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Education: Campaign produces few new ideas for improving schools

School Bus

John McCain wants to improve American schools through choice and competition. Barack Obama says he'll end Republican "neglect and indifference" and fund effective school programs. Both candidates say they will "fix" the No Child Left Behind Act. But neither candidate has produced much in the way of specific and innovative ideas, says Jonathan Plucker, director of the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy at the IU School of Education.

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Previous issue

Barack Obama

The previous issue of Perspectives on Policy, published in June 2008, featured a story on the 2008 primary elections and candidates for president campaigning on IU campuses. Also included were stories on a School of Public and Environmental Affairs course that took students to Korea to study globalization, an analysis of Indiana's method for calculating high-school graduation rates, a homeland security symposium at IUPUI, a study of the effectiveness of chronic disease management and the designation of IU Bloomington as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research.

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