Beginning an oral history project on the Obama administration

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The University of Virginia Miller Center of Public Affairs is launching a presidential oral history project on President Barack Obama.

For almost 50 years, the center has been collecting recollections from every White House administration from Gerald Ford to George W. Bush, including interviews conducted by Miller Center oral historians with experts in political science, history, law, business and public policy.

Interviews of high-ranking officials from the Obama administration have now gotten underway, and will ultimately include conversations with senior White House officials, cabinet members, agency staff and campaign advisers.

So far, the first round of interviews have been focused on the Obama administration's transition to office in 2008-2009, the response to the 2008 financial crisis, and efforts to address climate change.

Future discussions will also look at diplomacy and national security issues, the Affordable Care Act, and the nature of the Obama presidency, which is frequently described as historic.

The Miller Center says each interview begins with extensive research on the public record of the person being interviewed and how they carried out their policy and governing responsibilities.

Teams of scholars will conduct the interviews, using their expertise on policy issues, the institutional structure and history of the White House, and the executive branch processes to frame them.

At this time, the Miller Center is forming an advisory council of scholars and Obama administration alumni to help guide this project.

The center expects to work with several other universities, think tanks, educational institutions and researchers on this.

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