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Schmidt, Plouffe named center fellows

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
In August of 2008, Bloomberg News headlined one of their stories this way: "Harvard? Yale? No, Delaware School Is New Epicenter of Politics."

That's because both Steve Schmidt (who ran day-to-day operations for the McCain campaign), David Plouffe (Obama's campaign manager), as well as Obama's vice presidential running mate Joe Biden all attended the University of Delaware, about an hour and a half north of the Beltway. (Biden's the only one of the three to graduate. Schmidt and Plouffe both left early. New Jersey's governor-elect, Republican Chris Christie, is also a Blue Hen.)

Now, Delaware is trying to capitalize on that momentum and has launched a new Center for Political Communication, which will include the Delaware Public Opinion Poll. Schmidt and Plouffe were both named fellows.

"The Center will involve undergrads, faculty and the public in a program of studying the role digital media are playing in political and public affairs campaigns and public opinion, with obvious spinoffs for the business world," writes Ralph Begleiter, a former CNN correspondent, who has been named the center's director. (Begleiter has been teaching journalism and political science at Delaware since 1999. Full disclosure: He was one of this reporter's professors.)

Former Republican Party Chairman Ed Gillespie is scheduled to speak at the school on Dec. 2nd.