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Political Communication in American Campaigns

Political Communication in American Campaigns

December 2007 | 304 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Political Communication provides a comprehensive, clear, and accessible treatment of American campaign rhetoric.

Taking a truly communicative approach to political communication, the text explores campaigns in terms of their management and message orientation and focuses on communication strategies as regards speeches, debates, and the use of paid and free media (e.g., print and broadcast ads; the Internet; etc.). Case studies of actual campaign speeches, political debates, and mass media campaigns show the application of theories and methodologies.

Introduction: Bobby Kennedy and Me
1. Introduction to Political Communication
Democracy, Voter Participation and Voter Apathy

Elections as Contests

Election as a Process of Communication

Political Communication as Process

2. The Players in the Process
Political Parties

Political Consultants

Political Surrogates

The Media: Reporters and Pundits

The Players and the Process in Perspective

3. Campaign Oratory and the Communication Process
Getting the Message Right

Typologies of Political Campaign Speeches

Convention Speeches

The Inaugural Address


4. Methods for Deconstructing Political Oratory
Political Oratory and Public Speaking as Audience-Centered Rhetoric

Political Oratory and Rhetorical Appeals

Political Oratory and Rhetorical Figures

Political Oratory and Rhetorical Fallacies


5. Political Campaign Speech Examples
Richard Nixon’s “Checkers”

Barbara Jordan’s “Who Then Will Speak for the Common Good?”

John McCain’s Keynote Address to the 2004 GOP National Convention

Remarks by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to the NYS Family Planning Providers


6. Introduction to Political Debates
Understanding Debate

Debate and Democracy

Political Campaign Debates


7. Negotiations, Tactics and Strategies for Political Debates
Negotiating the Details of the Debate Before the Debate

Pre-Debate Pitch and Spin

Strategies in Debate Performance

Tactics in Debate Performance

Post-Debate Spin


8. Political Communication and Mass Media
Defining Mass Media

Mass Media and Political Communication

Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show with John Stewart, Rush Limbaugh and Howard


9. How Campaigns Influence and/or Control Mass Media
Strategies for Influencing Free Media

Strategies for Paid Media

Blended Media Strategies and Future Trends with Blogs



"What makes this book unique is the basic structure: Descriptive or historical chapters, followed by discussions of strategies and tactics of political communication in numerous contexts."

Pete Bicak
Rockhurst University

The course was canceled at the last minute in fall 2014. However, I plan to use the book when I teach the course in 2016.

Mr Benson Sexton
Communication, Lindsey Wilson College
January 15, 2015

I recommend this book to students interested in learning more about US political campaigning - it's accessible and provides an excellent background.

Dr Julia Jahansoozi
Department of Film and Media Studies, Stirling University
June 28, 2013

Wanted a broader look at political communication.

Ms Shawn Snidow
Communication Studies Dept, Marshall University
April 3, 2012

Tuman's book is a fantastic overview of political communication!

Professor Steve Hunt
Communication Dept, Illinois State University
September 1, 2010

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

Chapter 9