Working to find actionable solutions to the nation's key challenges.

Annual Political Summit

WHEN: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 4:00 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. ET


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Since 2009, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) has convened an Annual Political Summit in New Orleans. Far beyond the Beltway, BPC’s summit brings together Washington’s top leaders to discuss the current political landscape and examine where the two parties may find common ground going forward to address the nation’s key policy issues.

Hosted by popular political duo James Carville and Mary Matalin, the event features current and former elected officials, national political strategists from both sides of the aisle, and prominent pollsters and journalists.

This November’s summit, “Beyond the Ballot: A Government in Transition,” will occur the week after the 2012 election and feature analysis of the recent campaign season and an examination of the issues that we will face after Inauguration Day. By convening a bipartisan group of thought leaders, we will highlight practical and politically viable solutions to today’s seemingly intractable problems.


“‘One of the great things about New Orleans is that people generally tend to like each other,’ [BPC President Jason Grumet] concluded. ‘That’s not going to happen in Washington… We don’t need to like each other. We need to listen to each other.'”

The New York Times, November 20, 2011

The Names

Each year, BPC’s Annual Political Summit has gathered many of the nation’s top political leaders, elected officials, analysts, pollsters and journalists, including:

Current and Former Elected Officials

Secretaries Dan Glickman and Dirk Kempthorne, Senators Bob Bennett and Trent Lott, and Congressman Joseph Cao and Mayor Mitch Landrieu

Journalists and Political Analysts

Newsweek and The Daily Beast’s John Avlon, National Journal’s Ronald Brownstein and Charlie Cook, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry and Richard Wolffe, POLITICO’s Jonathan Martin, and The New York Times’ John Harwood and Jeff Zeleny

Pollsters, Strategists, and Thought Leaders

Whit Ayres, Dan Bartlett, Paul Begala, Alex Castellanos, Ed Gillespie, Stan Greenberg, Karen Hughes, Walter Isaacson, Joe Lockhart, Bill McInturff, Kiki McLean, Mark McKinnon, Steve McMahon, Hilary Rosen, and Steve Schmidt

The Conversation

Panel discussions throughout the day-long summit explore how Democrats and Republicans can come together to address the tough issues facing the country. Topics have included:

  • A Look Ahead: Changing Demographics and the Race for 2012
  • Beyond Politics: Issues that Transcend Partisanship
  • Blurring the Line: Is it Journalism or Entertainment?
  • The Politics of Crisis
  • War Stories: From the Campaign Trail to the White House
  • What’s Fair in Politics?

Last year’s summit – themed “Taking the Poison out of Politics” – kicked off with a screening of “The War Room,” the 1993 documentary chronicling Bill Clinton’s first campaign for the White House. Afterward, BPC Senior Fellow Dan Glickman joined producer R.J. Cutler to reflect on the film’s lasting impact and answer questions from the audience about similarities to today’s campaign practices.

In 2010, the summit highlighted the release of the first independent post-election poll to gauge voters’ attitudes and the challenges facing the next Congress. The bipartisan survey, conducted by Republicans Ed Gillespie and Whit Ayres and Democrat Stan Greenberg, documented the electorate’s frustration with the current partisan tone in Washington, D.C., and the important role independents played in driving the election’s outcome. Topics included: “Blurring the Line: Is it Journalism or Entertainment,?” “What’s Fair in Politics” and “The Politics of Crisis.”


Third Annual Political Summit: Taking the Poison out of Partisanship

November 15-16, 2011

Second Annual Political Summit: Beyond the Ballot: Making Washington Work

November 9, 2010

Inaugural Annual Political Summit: Taking the Poison out of Partisanship

November 9-10, 2009