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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 12, 2004

WSUI 'Live From Prairie Lights' Presents Caucus Reading

"Live from Prairie Lights," the series of broadcast readings hosted by Julie Englander on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910, will mark the 2004 Iowa political caucuses with a reading by USA Today political columnist Walter Shapiro at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16. The series will broadcast the live event -- replacing the previously announced archive reading -- from the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

Listen to the reading on the internet at

Shapiro will read from his early-campaign chronicle, "One Car Caravan: On the Road with the 2004 Democrats Before America Tunes In." Michael Janofsky wrote in the New York Times, "It can safely be said that this is the most authoritative book on the 2004 presidential election to date."

A preview in Publishers Weekly explained, "Experience has taught Shapiro, a veteran journalist and USA Today political columnist, that once the media managers and campaign consultants take hold of the 2004 Democratic presidential primary contest, there will be no way for anyone to get a meaningful sense of who the candidates are and what makes them run.

"Experience has also persuaded Shapiro that a fix on a candidate's character is more important than set-piece proposals on health care and foreign policy. Thus he takes a pre-emptive strike at the aspiring candidates. In 2002, before the leading Democratic presidential hopefuls are captives of the political process, when traveling with the candidate means sitting with the candidate as he crisscrosses New Hampshire rather than taking a seat in the press plane, Shapiro sets out to take their measure.

"He isn't interested in the predictable answers candidates offer to the question, Why me for president? He is going after deeper insights, and his active mind looks for clues everywhere: in private conversations with the candidates, in whom they hire to run their campaigns and in how they make crucial decisions, small and large, about their futures. Readers will be pleased with the result -- Shapiro succeeds in offering a commentary that is mature, witty, entertaining and marked by political and emotional intelligence."

In a 30-year career covering politics, Shapiro has been a reporter for Esquire, Time, Newsweek, the Washington Post and the Washington Monthly, and he is also a stand-up comic who performs regularly in New York.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

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