Robert P. Watson
Dr. Robert P. Watson is a professor, author, frequent media commentator, and former candidate for the United States House of Representatives.
Background and education
Descended on both sides of his family from steel mill workers in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Robert was born in Harrisburg in 1962. His family moved to nearby Hershey when he was a child. Watson attended public schools in Hershey, where he was an all-star athlete in several sports and earned an athletic scholarship to Virginia Tech where he played football and track. Watson received his bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech in 1985. After graduation, he moved to Florida where he received a master’s degree from the University of West Florida in 1987 and his doctorate in public policy from Florida Atlantic University in 1991.
Watson is the author and editor of over 30 books on topics in American politics and history, and has published hundreds of scholarly articles, book chapters, essays, and newspaper editorials. A frequent media commentator, he has been interviewed by local, national, and international print, TV, and radio outlets, including CNN, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, Fox News, The New York Times, BBC, USA Today, and others. He also serves as a columnist for the Sun-Sentiel newspaper and political analyst for WPTV 5 (NBC) and WFTL 850 (AM).
Watson has served on the boards of many academic journals and presidential foundations, such as the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation, Harry S. Truman Foundation, Western Social Science Association, International Abraham Lincoln Journal, The Social Science Journal, and others and was the founder and editor of the journal, White House Studies. He has convened or co-convened a half-dozen national conferences on the American presidency, directed the annual Truman Legacy Symposium at The Harry S. Truman Little White House, hosted many community “town halls” on current issues, and organized civic education programs for school children.
Watson has won a number of awards, including the 2003 International Abraham Lincoln Center Award, the 2005 Children’s Hero Award for the many civics programs he offers area schools, and the Distinguished Professor of the Year and Faculty Service awards at Florida Atlantic University in 2005 and 2006, and Lynn University's Teacher of the Year in 2010.
Watson has taught at Troy University, Northern Arizona University, the University of Hawaii-Hilo, Florida Atlantic University, and with the Junior Statesman Foundation at Yale, Stanford, and Georgetown. In 2007 he joined Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida as the Director of American Studies and is also Professor of American Studies. He was instrumental in bringing the Third Presidential Debate of 2012 to Lynn University.
A member of the Democratic Party, Watson announced in May 2005, that he would run for the United States House of Representatives in Florida's 22nd District, which pitted him against Republican incumbent Rep. Clay Shaw. Watson later withdrew from the race. Shaw was defeated by the eventual Democratic candidate, Ron Klein.
Politically, Watson has advocated universal health care and strengthening environmental protections. He has been vocal about the need for reform and integrity in politics.
In 2006, Watson and Yury Konnikov founded the non-profit think tank Think Act Lead, which advocates political reforms and progressive solutions to public problems; the two also serve on the board of the Florida Initiative for Election Reform.
- The Presidential Companion: Readings on the First Ladies, 2006
- The National Security Legacy of Harry S. Truman, 2005
- Laura Bush: The Report to the First Lady, 2005
- Debating the Presidency, 2005
- Debating the Issues: American Government & Politics, 2004
- George McGovern: A Political Life, A Political Legacy, 2004
- George W. Bush: Evaluating the President at Midpoint, 2004
- Counting Votes: Lessons from the 2000 Presidential Election in Florida, 2004
- Life in the White House: A Social History of the First Family and the President’s House, 2004
- Managing Environmental Policy: A Casebook, 2004
- Campaigns and Elections: Issues, Concepts, Cases, 2003
- Anticipating Madam President, 2003
- Public Administration: Cases in Managerial Role-Playing, 2001
- The Presidents’ Wives, 2001