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Researching Obama's White House: the case of the healthcare bill

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A seminar by the creators of the BBC 2 documentary series ‘Inside Obama’s White House’

Chaired by Dr Finbarr Livesey

We are pleased to welcome Paul Mitchell and Sarah Wallis (Directors / Exec producers) to talk about how they set up and conducted research on the Obama administration to inform the series of programmes recently aired on BBC 2 . The talk will examine how they made the lengthy research process comprehensible to a mass audience about what actually happened within the policy-making process and administration.

The presentation will focus on Episode 2: Obamacare. Using footage from the series Paul and Sarah will examine the complicated parliamentary procedures of the US Senate – the need for a 3/5 majority on cloture motions to end debate and how Obama used ‘budget reconciliation’ to pass the healthcare bill when he unexpectedly lost his 60th vote.

For anyone interested in recent American politics and the current election campaign this seminar is a must attend!

A lunch will be served prior to the seminar.

Link to series: Paul Mitchell: Sarah Wallis:

SPEAKER BIOS Paul Mitchell has produced films on subjects as diverse as the history of Perestroika: The Second Russian Revolution; The Iraq War for the BBC /National Geographic Channel, the Emmy-winning Watergate (Discovery/BBC), Channel 4’s A Marriage of Power on the Clinton Presidency, rock and roll in the USSR -The Alternative Rock and Roll Years and frontline war reporting from Chechnya for PBS WideAngle: Greetings from Grozny. The Death of Yugoslavia (1995) is one of the British Film Institute’s top 100 greatest British television programs of any genre ever to have been screened. His films have won the du-Pont Columbia Journalism award, the Peabody (four times), the Emmy, the BAFTA , the Royal Television Society Award, the New York Festival, and the Greirson awards. His most recent projects are Russia’s Open Book: Writing under Putin, on modern Russian fiction on PBS and the BBC ’s Inside the Obama White House.

Sarah Wallis is an author and documentary-maker. Credits include Letters from St Petersburg, The People’s Century (which won both the DuPont Peabody and an Emmy award for her episode, “Master Race”); and Homecoming, about Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s return to Russia (Royal Television Society Award). She is co-author of two acclaimed histories, A War in Words (Simon & Schuster) and We Were Young and at War (Harper Collins). Her most recent projects are Russia’s Open Book: Writing under Putin, with Paul Mitchell and directing Obamacare, the second episode in the BBC series Inside Obama’s White House.

This talk is part of the All POLIS Department Seminars and Events series.

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