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the choice 2004


Discussion Questions

Featured Lesson Plan
  • Political Parties in Campaign 2004
  • Student Handout: What Do You Know About Political Parties in Campaign 2004?
  • Student Handout: Checking Your Answers
  • Student Handout: Democrats and Republicans

  • Additional Lesson Ideas
  • Candidate Character Traits
  • Candidate Character Traits and Campaign Messages
  • Analyzing Campaign Web Sites
  • Exploring Political Action Groups
  • The Youth Vote

  • Internet Resources

    Printable .pdf of Entire Guide
    (Adobe Acrobat required)

    » Internet Resources

    In addition to the Web resources included in the guide, students and their teachers might want to look further.

    Media literacy note: As with all issues, especially ones that are politically charged, students must learn to be savvy and discriminating readers. No Web site can provide all the information a student needs to know, and teachers should encourage students to "interrogate" Web sites even as they are reading. Guiding questions as they work through these activities should be: What did you learn from this source? What didn't you learn from this source? Who sponsors this source? What bias might the sponsor have?

    The Choice 2004
    The companion Web site to the FRONTLINE film provides collections on the candidates' lives and careers; interviews with family members, close advisers, friends, colleagues and political adversaries; glimpses of the defining moments of the candidates' lives and the attributes they bring to presidential leadership; readings on leadership; biographical chronologies; and the opportunity to view "The Choice 2004" online.


    Statistics on Voting and Voting Trends

    U.S. Census: Voting and Registration data
    This U.S. Census Bureau link features data on voting and registration patterns from the 1998, 2000, and 2002 elections. It also offers historical data and presents voting trends over time, and estimates of the voting age population from the Current Population Survey (CPS).

    Federal Election Commission:
    The Federal Election Commission hosts a site that offers information on: recent election results, voter registration and turnout statistics, historical data, the electoral college, the U.S. federal election system, and the administrative structure of U.S. elections.

    Voting and Elections
    FirstGov.gov is an interagency initiative administered by the U.S. General Services Administration, and its Web site serves as the official U.S. gateway to all government information. Its site presents information on the electoral college, individual candidates, voting trends, and volunteering and contributions.


    Campaign Speeches

    Great American Speeches
    A PBS site that presents an archive of speeches, an American history challenge, pop-up trivia, a wordsmith challenge, activities for students, and ideas for teachers. These links are useful for both students and teachers.

    Presidential Rhetoric.com
    "PresidentialRhetoric.com provides news, information and resources for those interested in studying the presidency from a rhetorical perspective. Focusing largely on contemporary presidential issues, PresidentialRhetoric.com assists researchers in locating recent information relating to American presidents, political communication, and rhetorical criticism."


    Campaign Advertisements

    The Living Room Candidate
    This page hosts an archive of televised presidential campaign commercials from 1952-present. The commercials are organized and searchable by election year, issue and type of commercial.

    Where the Ad War Is Being Fought
    This link features a graphic from The New York Times based on data from the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project that highlights "where and on who" the campaigns are focusing in campaign 2004. This graphic reflects data between March 3 and June 20, 2004. [Note: This is a pdf file; Adobe Acrobat required.]

    Online Campaigning: A Primer
    This link features a guide to creating campaign Web sites developed for the 2002 midterm election cycle by the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet at George Washington University. This link could be helpful in providing students with ideas and strategies in creating Web sites for class projects. [Note: This is a pdf file; Adobe Acrobat required.]


    Campaign Analysis

    Factcheck.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit project run out of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. This project reviews the "factual accuracy" of the television ads, debate statements, speeches, interviews and news releases of the George W. Bush and John F. Kerry campaigns. The site aims to reduce the "level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics."

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