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Belmont optimistic about 2012 debate chances

Belmont University’s successful hosting of a 2008 Presidential debate has administrators looking to 2012 for another opportunity to shine in the national spotlight.

The university will find out in November whether they will host another Presidential debate between likely Democratic nominee President Barack Obama and a Republican nominee who will be determined.

Belmont applied for a 2012 debate in March to the Commission on Presidential Debates, which sponsors and produces the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates, according to Annie Mitchell, director of university marketing and special initiatives. The CPD requires sites to provide certain facilities and services, such as sufficient parking for the media, sufficient space, nearby hotels, and metro police. Beyond that, there’s a thorough selection process.

But would the CPD instead want to use a site that hasn’t yet had the opportunity to host a debate?

Mitchell believes that Belmont’s 2008 debate, themed “The Art of Being Free,” wouldn’t dissuade the CPD from holding another debate in Nashville. In fact, the previous debate established a “proven track record,” says Mitchell, making the university a “desirable choice.”

Former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen said Belmont had been a perfect venue for the debate.

“The university’s army of volunteers gave the candidates, campaign guests and visiting media a glimpse into the best of what Tennessee has to offer,” he said.

Belmont President Bob Fisher pushed for the 2008 debate, and has backed the charge to host the next. Fisher’s efforts to involve students beyond the classroom are meant to create graduates that actively contribute to society.

“2008 brought Belmont University and the Nashville community together in a powerful way around one of the most historic elections in our nation’s history,” Fisher said in a statement. “I am confident that the capability, dedication and spirit of the Belmont community and our Middle Tennessee partners will enable us to achieve an even better event in 2012 if selected.”

Belmont is one of twelve schools who applied for a 2012 debate, including Centre College in Kentucky, Dominican College in California, Eastern Kentucky University, Hofstra University in New York, Indiana University, Lynn University in Florida, St. Mary’s College of California, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, University of Denver, Wake Forest University, and Washington University in St. Louis.

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