Over two dozen top business and government executives from the Netherlands travelled to Washington, DC with APEP in the first week of November. Our Presidential Election Week 2012 offered them a unique opportunity to witness the elections, understand the workings of the US political system and talk to prominent insiders on Capitol Hill, at the State Department, lobby groups, the IMF, think tanks etc.
On Election Day the delegation, led by former Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, toured polling station in the DC area, met with election organizers and campaign voluneers, spoke with political observers, attended an election watch party and eventually mingled with the crowds who streamed out onto DC’s streets late at night to celebrate President Obama’s victory.
Below, a photo impression (many thanks to photographer Eelco Dubbeling!).
FT headline on the day of departure.
Of course, the agenda included a visit to the US Capitol.
With guide Steven Livengood inside the Capitol.
Meeting with former Republican Congressman Mike Oxley, now a lobbyist for the financial industry.
Randy Moorhead, DC lobbyist for Philips, shared some of the secrets of his trade with APEP’s delegation.
On offer at the National Republican Club of Capitol Hill: a GOP Victory Dinner.
Congressional expert Thomas Mann of The Brookings Institution gave his preview of the elections.
At the start of Election Day APEP’s participants were invited to put their predictions to paper.
The delegation was present at the Election Day Breakfast of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).
There was no escaping the names of the candidates.
On Election Day, the group visited a number of polling stations.
Voters lining up.
As close as it gets: APEP participants observing the voting.
Election Day volunteers.
Election in action.
Delegation members talking to a Democratic campaing volunteer.
Keeping a close eye on proceedings.
On the bus.
Part of the pre-Election Day program was a lively meeting at FreedomWorks, a powerful conservative fundraising group associated with the Tea Party.
Election Night. We have a winner!
Time for a street party: Pennsylvania Avenue on Election Night.
The media were well represented.
There he is.
First stop on the day after the elections: the State Department.
Dutch Ambassador Rudolf Bekink hosted a post-election reception.
IMF managing director Christine Lagarde and executive director Menno Snel gave their perspective on the financial crisis.
About to sit down for lunch: delegation leader Jan Peter Balkenende, Republican Congressman Bill Huizenga (l.) and Republican National Committee treasurer Tony Parker.
Despite a chock-full agenda, participants managed to catch a glimpse of the city’s beauty.
November 9: off to the last meeting.