Noted Washington political journalist to keynote FFVA 2014

FFVA 2014’s keynote speaker at the annual Cracker Breakfast is a well-known observer of the country’s political process. Mark Halperin leads Bloomberg’s political and policy coverage, including news, analysis and commentary.

Before joining Bloomberg, Halperin served as editor-at-large and senior political analyst for TIME covering politics, elections and government.

He co-authored New York Times bestsellers Double Down: Game Change 2012, and Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and The Race of a Lifetime. He wrote The Undecided Voter’s Guide to the Next President; and co-authored The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008.

Before joining TIME in 2007, Halperin worked at ABC News for nearly 20 years, where he covered five presidential elections and served as political director. He appeared regularly on ABC News TV and radio as a correspondent and analyst, contributing commentary and reporting during election night coverage, presidential inaugurations and State of the Union speeches.

At ABC, Halperin reported on every major American political story, including working as a full-time reporter covering the Clinton presidential campaign in 1992 and the Clinton White House. He also covered major non-political stories, such as the O.J. Simpson criminal trial and the Oklahoma City bombing.

He began his career shortly after earning his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University. “I started out answering telephones and photocopying scripts for ABC News in January of 1988,” he told FFVA. “I was excited by the thought of watching how a television network covered a national campaign. I’ve always liked the spectacle of how we elect presidents in the United States; but I also was drawn to the responsibility of holding powerful politicians accountable to the public interest.”

He’s had a front-row seat to some pivotal events in the country’s history, including the 2000 presidential vote recount in Florida, which he says, along with the 1992 Clinton campaign, was one of the most interesting stories he’s covered.

Halperin shared some observations on the political climate and upcoming midterm races with FFVA. “Republicans want the elections to be about the Affordable Care Act and President Obama’s record on the economy,” he said. “Democrats are still searching for a unified positive message and trying to demonize Republican candidates.” He said it is shaping up to be a good Republican year, “not surprising historically, given the U.S. has had a Democrat in the White House for six years.”

He steered clear of making a forecast of the 2016 presidential election. “As the political strategist Yogi Berra liked to say, ‘Predictions are difficult, especially about the future.’ I do expect Republicans will have the most wide-open nomination contest in several generations. And, as is always the case, nothing with the Clintons ever happens in a linear manner.”

However, Halperin did share his thoughts about comprehensive immigration reform, on which Florida agriculture remains squarely focused. “Republicans just don’t have enough political incentive to move a major immigration bill before the midterms,” he said. “They like the trajectory things are on, and an immigration deal this year risks disrupting their flow. In 2015, the party will make a push for a big deal, and any agreement would include a revamped agricultural guest-worker program for certain.”

Hear more of Mark Halperin’s comments here.

Find out more about the books Halperin has authored here.

Halperin will share his observations during his keynote presentation and answer questions at the annual Cracker Breakfast on Sept. 18.

Join FFVA at FFVA 2014, its 71st annual convention, Sept. 17-19 at The Ritz-Carlton in Naples. In addition to Halperin, invited speakers include Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and a powerful lineup of industry leaders and experts from across the country who will take a look at what’s on the horizon in politics, health care, marketing trends and more.

Visit the FFVA 2014 website for details and a link to register online.

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