The Washington Post hosted a final debate pregame at the MGM Grand Las Vegas the night before the final 2016 presidential debate. Food, drinks and diversions were followed by onstage discussions with Post journalists, national political operatives and policymakers who discussed what to expect in the debate, the final weeks of the race and beyond.
      Program Highlights
      Speaking at the Washington Post’s Presidential Debate Pregame on Wednesday, Jim Messina, campaign manager Obama 2012, said that the United States is now “the most partisan country in the world,” and that can be partially attributed to its two-party system. Messina, who is now the CEO of his own democratic consulting group, said he prayed Donald Trump would be nominated because he thought that Trump was such a “fundamentally flawed candidate,’ which would serve the Democrats well in the general election.
        Speaking at the Washington Post’s Presidential Debate Pregame on Wednesday, Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said Donald Trump is doing his campaign and the Republican party a disservice by repeatedly saying that the election system is rigged. That line of commentary, Steele argues, “Is not helpful to the overarching effort by the party.”
          Speaking at the Washington Post’s Presidential Debate Pregame on Wednesday, Pulitzer-Prize winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau, the creator of the famous comic strip, “Doonesbury,” said cartoonists and other artists use satire to mediate social dialogue. “It’s fun to have a little piece,” of the public conversation, Trudeau said.
            6:30 p.m. PT (9:30 p.m. EST) The Lasting Impact of the 2016 Election
            In 2013, Messina launched The Messina Group. In this role, Messina provides strategic consulting to political campaigns, advocacy organizations and businesses. In this capacity, Messina served as senior advisor to Prime Minister David Cameron’s surprising 2015 electoral victory, which handed him an unforeseen majority. Jim Messina also served as Deputy Chief of Staff to President Barack H. Obama from 2009 to 2011, where he was integral to the passage of the landmark health care and economic stimulus bills, in addition to serving as the campaign manager for Obama’s successful 2012 re-election campaign.
            Former Chairman, Republican National Committee
            Michael S. Steele was elected Chairman of the Republican National Committee on January 30, 2009, becoming the first African American to hold that post in the Party’s history. As Chairman, Mr. Steele set a new direction for the Republican Party; actively challenging the Party to engage citizens across America and empowering state and local Republican organizations. 
            Karen Tumulty is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post, where she received the 2013 Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting. She joined the Post in 2010 from TIME Magazine, where she had held the same title. During her more than 15 years at TIME, Tumulty wrote or co-wrote more than three dozen cover stories. She also held positions with TIME as congressional correspondent and White House correspondent. Before joining TIME in 1994, Tumulty spent 14 years at the Los Angeles Times, where she covered a wide variety of beats.
            Ed Rogers is Chairman of BGR Group. Prior to co-founding BGR Group in 1991, Ed served in the White House as Deputy Assistant to the President and Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff. Ed also served as Senior Deputy to Bush-Quayle Campaign Manager Lee Atwater from 1987 through the general election in 1988.
            Dan Balz is Chief Correspondent at The Washington Post. He joined the Post in 1978 and has been involved in the political coverage as a reporter or editor throughout his career. He is author of four books, including two New York Times bestsellers: Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America and, with co-author Haynes Johnson, The Battle for America 2008: The Story of an Extraordinary Election. 
            7:00 p.m. PT (10:00 p.m. EST) An Interview with Doonesbury Creator Garry Trudeau
            Garry Trudeau is the creator of Doonesbury and Amazon's Alpha House. Doonesbury was launched in 1970, and now appears in nearly 1400 daily and Sunday newspaper clients in the U.S. and abroad. His work has been collected in 60 hardcover, trade paperback and mass-market editions, which have cumulatively sold over 7 million copies worldwide. In 1975, Trudeau became the first comic strip artist ever to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. He was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1989, 2004 and 2005.
            Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.
            About Washington Post Live
            Washington Post Live is the newsroom’s live journalism platform. Government and business leaders, emerging voices and newsmakers discuss the most pressing issues of the day.
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