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Interview with Eric Tanenblatt, January 21, 2009

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:36 - Early life

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Partial Transcript: Before we get into your political activities...

Segment Synopsis: Tanenblatt talks about his early life, attending Emory University, and becoming politically involved on campus. He discusses his role in organizing university students in Georgia in support of George H. W. Bush's 1988 presidential campaign. He recalls meeting Paul Coverdell, and moving to work in Washington, D.C., first in the legislative affairs office of Health and Human Services, and then in Paul Coverdell's office. Tanenblatt also summarizes some of his other professional experiences.

Keywords: Emory University; George H. Bush; Long Island, New York; Louis Sullivan; Paul Coverdell; public affairs

00:09:19 - Managing Coverdell's U.S. Senate campaign

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Partial Transcript: Let's go back to 1992.

Segment Synopsis: Tanenblatt describes how he strategically capitalized on the growing conservatism in Georgia and the higher voter turnout during the 1992 presidential election year to secure Coverdell's election to the U.S. Senate. He notes the overall trend of the increasing Republican representation at the federal branches of government, and credits Coverdell's earlier outreach efforts to business and political leaders as setting the stage for growing the Republican Party base in Georgia.

Keywords: Guy Milner; Mack Mattingly; Newt Gingrich; federal elections; outreach; two-party Georgia

00:16:30 - Sonny Perdue and Republican Party

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Partial Transcript: In 2000, you co-chaired the president's campaign in Georgia with Sonny Perdue.

Segment Synopsis: Tanenblatt discusses his initial meeting with Sonny Perdue and the Republican Party's response to Perdue's switching parties. He analyzes some of the factors that led to the growth of the Republican Party in Georgia and that contributed to Perdue's election as governor in 2003, among them, effective grassroots organization.

Keywords: Republican Party; Sonny Perdue; governor; party swtiching

00:24:04 - Democratic to Republican Party transition

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Partial Transcript: How difficult was the transition from the Democrats to a new Republican who defeated the Democratic candidate?

Segment Synopsis: Tanenblatt discusses the transition process that took place after Republican Sonny Perdue was elected governor and Republicans gained control of the Georgia House of Representatives. He talks about the benefit of a two-party system and the future outlook of the Republican Party.

Keywords: Republican majority; good old boy network; political transition; reorganization; two-part system

00:34:43 - Bush and Obama presidencies

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Partial Transcript: You campaigned for outgoing President Bush.

Segment Synopsis: Tanenblatt predicts how history will remember George Bush's presidency. He also discusses Barack Obama's 2008 presidential inauguration and Obama's championing of bi-partisanship in government. Tanenblatt further discusses the federal government's response to the 2008 financial crisis in the form of bail-outs, TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) funds, and a stimulus package.

Keywords: 2008 financial crisis; Barack Obama; George Bush; bi-partisanship; presidency; recession; stimulus package

00:42:56 - Public service

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Partial Transcript: Did you ever consider running for public office?

Segment Synopsis: Tanenblatt talks about preferring behind-the-scenes work as opposed to running for political office. He also talked about his public service involvement through the board of Hands on Atlanta. He also talks about serving on the board of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which organizes national service programs like AmeriCorps, VISTA, and Senior Corps.

Keywords: Corporation for National and Community Service; Hands of Atlanta; public service; volunteerism

00:48:41 - Paul Coverdell's career

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Partial Transcript: I don't think we talked enough about Paul.

Segment Synopsis: Tanenblatt reviews Paul Coverdell's political career, including the positions he held in the state and national governments. He also talks about Coverdell's position as Peace Corps Director, and the educational programs he implemented, including the Coverdell Worldwide Schools Program.

Keywords: Paul Coverdell; Peace Corps; U.S. Senate; education; republican party