The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced today that Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., will host the Town Hall Presidential Debate on October 7, 2008. Belmont was one of 16 sites nationwide under consideration to host one of three presidential, or one vice presidential, debates. Tennessee has been home to three former United States Presidents—Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson and James K. Polk—but this will be the first time a presidential debate has been held in Tennessee.
“It is a distinct privilege to be chosen to host the Town Hall Presidential Debate,” Belmont President Bob Fisher said. “This opportunity will provide an invaluable educational experience to our students, allowing them to observe firsthand our nation’s political process and to be participants in American history. We are also pleased that the candidates and all of our distinguished guests will have an opportunity to witness the many benefits offered by the greater Nashville community.”
The Presidential Debate at Belmont will be held in the Curb Event Center, home of the NCAA Division-I Belmont Bruins basketball and volleyball teams and host site of the live CMT Music Awards show two years in a row. With a generous gift from the Mike Curb Family Foundation, The Curb Event Center opened in 2003. Seating 5,500 and equipped with state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, the versatile, in-the-round facility is ideal for the Town Hall format, in which citizens propose questions directly to the candidates. The debate is expected to attract more than 2,500 members of the media to Nashville, along with the candidates’ campaigns and supporters, and will be viewed by millions worldwide.
The CPD was established in 1987 to ensure that the debates provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners. Its primary purpose is to sponsor and produce debates for the United States leading presidential and vice presidential candidates and to undertake research and educational activities relating to the debates. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization sponsored all the general election debates in 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004.
Civic organizations and state and local government officials have supported Belmont’s bid for the presidential debate. Former Nashville mayor Bill Purcell, Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen and senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, and congressman Jim Cooper all wrote letters in support of Belmont and bringing one of the debates to Tennessee. In his letter to the CPD, Governor Bredesen wrote, “The Presidential Debates would find a compatible home at Belmont University where students with inquisitive minds take their roles as future citizens of our community, nation and world very seriously.”
“Hosting the debate at Belmont will engage our students in the political process through invaluable first-hand participation,” Dan McAlexander, Provost at Belmont, said. “Belmont takes seriously its mission to prepare its students for success in the real world, and serving as host site for the presidential debate will give our students invaluable tools in critical thinking and practical experience as they take an active role in what will surely be an historical election.”
For more information on Belmont University, click the link to Download file.
To see the list of debate site applicants, click the link to Download file.
For additional information, visit the Web site for the Commission on Presidential Debates.
To read more about the press conference announcing Belmont’s selection for the Town Hall Presidential Debate, click here.
A Web site for the 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate at Belmont University is currently under construction.