Political analyst Charlie Cook to headline inaugural Harkin Institute events on Nov. 29

AMES, Iowa -- Prominent NBC News political analyst Charlie Cook will discuss the Iowa Caucuses and the 2012 election during the inaugural Harkin Institute of Public Policy Lecture in ISU's Memorial Union on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

Publisher of The Cook Political Report and political analyst for the National Journal Group, where he writes weekly for National Journal magazine and CongressDailyAM, Cook's talk will take place at noon in the Sun Room. It is free and open to the public.

The lecture will be preceded by a dedication ceremony for the Harkin Institute of Public Policy at Iowa State at 11:30 a.m. in the Memorial Union's Campanile Room. ISU President Gregory Geoffroy will provide opening remarks. David Oliver, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Dave Peterson, interim director of the Harkin Institute and associate professor of political science, will also speak at the event.

The institute is named for U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, an ISU alumnus who has served more than 35 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. It will house Harkin's papers, and serve as the catalyst for interdisciplinary research, teaching and outreach on public policy issues.

"The Harkin Institute of Public Policy will work to make Iowa State University a leading institution for understanding the essential public policy questions we face as a state and nation," Peterson (right) said. "The institute will work to support the education of our students and community and the research by ISU faculty."

Guest lecturer Cook is also a regular columnist for the Washington Quarterly, published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is widely regarded as one of the nation's leading authorities on U.S. elections and political trends. He has appeared on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening news programs, as well as on "Good Morning America," the "Today Show," "Nightline," "Meet the Press," and "This Week." He has also appeared on MSNBC, C-Span, CNN and National Public Radio.

Before joining the National Journal Group in June 1998, Cook wrote a twice-weekly column in Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill. He also served as an election night analyst for CBS in 1990 and 1992, and for NBC since 1994.

The New York Times called Cook, "...one of the best political handicappers in the nation" and noted that The Cook Political Report is "...a newsletter that both parties regard as authoritative." The Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt called Cook "the Picasso of election analysis," while David Broder of The Washington Post wrote that Charlie Cook is "perhaps the best non-partisan tracker of Congressional races."

"We are fortunate to have Charlie Cook -- the best nonpartisan political analyst in the country -- here to share his insights into the 2012 election," Peterson said. "His lecture will set the tone for the type of research the Harkin Institute will support in the future."

Cook's appearance is cosponsored by the Harkin Institute of Public Policy and the Committee on Lectures, which is funded by the Government of the Student Body. More information on ISU lectures is available at http://www.lectures.iastate.edu, or by calling 515-294-9935.