Representatives from the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) arrived on campus early yesterday morning to conduct an information session and walking tour for about two dozen members of the local media in anticipation of the 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate in Belmont’s Curb Event Center. An overview of the site was provided, and media were able to ask questions of the CPD regarding the Oct. 7 debate logistics.
The debate is expected to attract more than 2,500 members of the media to Nashville, along with the candidates’ campaign staff and supporters, and will be viewed by millions worldwide. Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher welcomed the media to campus and discussed the vital role they would play in translating the debate to a watching world.
Fisher also emphasized that the debate will provide a significant opportunity to showcase Belmont and Middle Tennessee to a mass audience. The university is currently planning a number of activities and special events for the days immediately surrounding the debate to give visiting media a glimpse of what makes Middle Tennessee special. Belmont is also working to schedule community viewing parties for the debate locally as well as to encourage additional locations around the state.
According to CPD representatives, the live audience in the Debate Hall will consist primarily of undecided voters chosen by the Gallup organization. The only media allowed in the Debate Hall itself on Oct. 7 will be members of the five networks that are part of the White House media pool and C-SPAN.
All other credentialed media will be stationed in the Media Filing Center, a 25,000 square foot tent that will be built on the Belmont soccer field prior to the event. The Media Filing Center will also be the location of Spin Alley, where candidate representatives will interact with the press at the conclusion of the debate.
The rest of the meeting primarily addressed media credentialing, technical needs and location options for broadcasting. The press was also reminded that it will be important to remain adaptable as many event details will rest upon security needs and requirements.
Belmont University 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.
For more information on Debate 08, visit www.belmontdebate08.com.