Friday, May 11, 2007

Competing for the Debates

The University of Central Arkansas is willing to put off construction on a $16 million business school just to get one of the 2008 Presidential debates.

The school in Conway -- about 30 miles west of Little Rock -- is one of 19 colleges, universities, and other insititutions that put up a $7,500 entry fee just to be considered. The competition for a debate sounds a lot more exciting than most of the actual debates in recent elections:

"[It's] like bringing the Super Bowl to your town or your campus, in terms of media attention and the amounts of media and the space required." --Marty Slutsky, an executive producer with the Commission on Presidential Debates, quoted by the Associated Press.
The Commission on Presidential Debates has a 10-page list of requirements that reads like Rudy Giuliani's rider:
  • 1,300 phone lines
  • 3,000 hotel rooms within 30 minutes of the event
  • Working room for 3,000 reporters
  • Parking for 50 satellite trucks
And if you win, you still have to spend about $1.35 million in incidental costs to host the event. (Providence Journal)

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