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IU Lost Bid For Presidential Debate Because Of Scheduling

Indiana University was passed over for a presidential debate. Some speculate it was because of timing, transportation or other logistical issues.

IU Auditorium

Photo: Ben Smith (Flickr)

The presidential or vice presidential debate would have been hosted in the IU Auditorium.

Officials say a busy 2012 fall calendar may have kept Indiana University from being chosen as a site for one of four presidential debates.

Janet Brown, executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates, says Indiana submitted a good application, but had trouble finding time to shoehorn in a debate in Bloomington.

“There are a lot of commitments the university has already for their fall of 2012 calendar, and we found it hard to find a match this time around,” she says. “But it does not say anything negative about the university’s bid, which we were very grateful to receive.”

IU political science professor Margie Hershey says the commission is most likely concerned with technical failures and safety of the candidates when choosing a venue. She says the commission would not want to host debates in places that the candidates would find difficult to get to, such as Alaska or Hawaii.

But beyond that, she says the candidates probably have the opportunity to veto sites they do not like. Above all, she says, the commission most likely favors places they have tried before and had success with.

“I wouldn’t be as concerned about as logistics, and I suspect that they are not as concerned about logistics as they are with making sure nothing awful happens as a result of this choice,” she says.

Brown says another concern is location of the debates, such that the broadcast technology necessary to broadcast them may be trucked easily from site to site.

Despite that, previous debate location Centre College, in Danville, Kentucky, which is not located on or near an interstate, will host a debate next year.

Read Indiana Public Media’s report on the Commission on Presidential Debates’ announcement.

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