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C-SPAN brings mobile politics to TCU

Michelle Burden had one question Thursday morning.

What is the Republican Party’s strategy to reach out to Latino voters?

That’s the question the Texas Christian University senior asked during a phone interview on Washington Journal with Bill Kristol, a conservative pundit and editor of the Weekly Standard.

She didn’t hear the answer, because she and other TCU students were sharing the phone during the interview in the back of the C-SPAN bus parked on the TCU campus.

“But I thought it was a great opportunity as a journalism student to see how it works,” said Burden, a Grapevine journalism and political science major at TCU.

C-SPAN’s bus was parked by Frog Fountain on the TCU campus Thursday morning as part of a six-week tour of universities in the Big 12 Conference.

“This is our community outreach, letting people know C-SPAN is out here,” said LaShawna Saint-Preux, a marketing representative for C-SPAN, a private, non-profit company created as a public service by the cable television industry.

Inside the heated bus, which provided a welcome relief from chilly temperatures outside, there were several areas — a mini-studio with lighting and HD cameras, a social media station and another area with touch-screen computers that provided quizzes on C-SPAN and the three branches of government and information about C-SPAN.

Today, the bus is scheduled to stop at the Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School and the School of Business and Management at Ewell Townview Center, both in Dallas.

Early Thursday, a handful of students sat in the mini-studio in the back of the bus, asking questions of Kristol, who touched on the future of the Republican Party, the need for the GOP to win “the Senate in 2014 and the presidency in 2016” and possible presidential candidates in the next election.

Samantha Ehlinger, a TCU junior working on a double major in English and journalism, was part of the phone interview.

Her question for Kristol: What did he think was the biggest strength of the Republican Party going into the next election?

She also didn’t hear the answer, but said she was glad to be part of the experience.

“I thought it was great, really cool,” the 21-year-old from Houston said.