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WSU, Spokane in the running to host a presidential debate

Washington State University, in partnership with the city of Spokane, is one of 19 applicants to serve as host for one of four presidential or vice presidential debates in 2008.

“We are excited about this opportunity,” said Michael Tate, vice president for equity and diversity who is heading the WSU effort. “Hosting a debate would be a great educational experience that will have an impact throughout our region.”

“Through the Murrow School of Communication, the Thomas S. Foley Institute and other programs, WSU has long fostered an atmosphere of civic engagement. This effort is very much a part of that tradition,” Tate said.

The Spokane site is one of only three western sites on the list. The other two are Arizona State University and a joint application from Clark College in Vancouver, Wash. and the Metropolitan Exposition Recreation Commission in Portland, Ore.

If WSU is awarded and accepts the bid, the debate would be held in the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, sometime between mid-September and mid-October of 2008. The host is responsible for supplying $1.35 million in financing to the Commission on Presidential Debates to defray costs of the event. Tate said the money would be raised through business and corporate sponsors. The money would not come from public funds.

The host also provides logistical support to the debate sponsors, and provides volunteers to handle the wide variety of tasks that go along with holding such a major event.

The debate would bring about 3,000 journalists to Spokane to provide international coverage of the event.

Officials from the Commission on Presidential Debates will be making visits to each of the applicant sites in the next couple months. Official notification of the sites for the debates is expected in October, 2007. The commission typically holds three presidential debates and one debate between the vice presidential candidates.

Related Web site: Commission on Presidential Debates: http://www.debates.org/

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