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And now, you can get a drink afterward

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The University of Central Arkansas is one of 19 universities vying to be the site of a presidential or vice presidential debate in 2008.

Release on the jump.

UCA NEWS RELEASE

CONWAY, ARK. -- The University of Central Arkansas is among 19 candidates bidding to host a presidential or vice presidential debate in 2008, according a list released yesterday by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

"There may be no college campus in the United States better equipped to host a presidential debate than the University of Central Arkansas," UCA President Lu Hardin wrote in a letter accompanying UCA's application.  "As a swing state in America's heartland, Arkansas is the perfect place to hold a presidential debate in 2008.  As a growing university with a world-class event venue and broadcast facility, UCA is the perfect host." 

In a typical presidential election year, three debates are scheduled for the presidential candidates, and the vice presidential candidates meet for one debate.  Host applicants are considered for both presidential and vice presidential debates.

"With only 19 candidates for four possible debates, the odds are better than one-in-five that UCA could be selected to host a debate," Hardin said.

A debate would have a tremendous economic impact on Central Arkansas, bringing thousands of media personnel and support staff, filling hotel rooms within a fifty-mile radius of Conway and raising the international profile of UCA, Conway and Central Arkansas.

The Commission on Presidential Debates will evaluate the applications and make site visits before issuing its decisions in October 2007.

The other candidates are: Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ); Belmont University (Nashville, TN); Centre College (Danville, KY); Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County, Indiana; Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY); Indiana University and the City of Bloomington's Convention and Visitor's Bureau; MERC (Portland, OR); Ohio State University, National Public Radio, and Public Broadcasting Station (Columbus, OH); State of Illinois (Lakeside Center/McCormick Place, Chicago); University of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber; University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL); University of Mississippi (Oxford, MS); VisitPittsburgh; Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC); Washington State University (Spokane, WA); Washington University (St. Louis, MO); Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT); Women of the Storm (New Orleans, LA).

The University of Central Arkansas this year is celebrating its 100th anniversary.  It is the fastest-growing and second-largest higher education institution in Arkansas, with over 12,000 students enrolled.

The Commission on Presidential Debates (debates.org) was established in 1987 to ensure that debates, as a permanent part of every general election, provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners. Its primary purpose is to sponsor and produce debates for the United States presidential and vice presidential candidates and to undertake research and educational activities relating to the debates. The organization, which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan corporation, sponsored all the presidential debates in 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004.

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