A panel of leading campaign analysts and media experts discussed the major issues facing both presidential candidates before a large audience in Gaston Hall Monday afternoon.

The panel was organized by the Georgetown Public Policy Institute and moderated by GPPI professor E.J. Dionne.

“There was at first a neck-in-neck dynamic between the candidates, and now we’ve really moved away from that,” said panelist Dana Bash, who is  senior  congressional correspondent for CNN. “The only traditional battleground state Romney currently has a lead in is Missouri.”

Bill Burton, a senior strategist for the pro-Obama super PAC, Priorities USA, and Rob Collins, a senior partner at the public affairs firm Purple Strategies, also sat on the panel.

The three analysts debated the causes for the recent shifts in the race: Ma. Governor Mitt Romney is now three percentage points behind President Obama in the polls.

Burton offered an explanation for Romney’s decrease in success.

“One of the key victories for the Democratic Party was that Obama was able to define Mitt Romney before Mitt Romney was able to define himself,” he said.

But Collins argued that the upcoming debate will help Romney.

“Twenty-three percent [of voters] have said that the debates will be crucial to their decision,” he said.

All three panelists referenced the effects of the early stages of fundraising and advertising.

“With the frequency of negative advertising being what it is, I think we really know one of the major factors of the political disillusionment that’s happening within younger generations,” Bash said.

Shweta Wahal (SFS ’16), a student who attended the event, said she appreciated the event’s bipartisan focus.

“It’s great having the opportunity to come and engage in these types of discussions,” Wahal said. “I can’t imagine not taking advantage of being in D.C. and having these types of professionals come to speak to us, especially during such a politically active time when the younger vote is so important.”

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