Something is missing from the proposed list of presidential and vice-presidential debates this year—Washington University in St. Louis. This could be the first year since 1988 that the school has not been the site of a debate.
The Commission on Presidential Debates proposes three of them in October this year–at universities in Denver, Hempstead, New York, and Boca Raton, Florida. The Vice Presidential debate would be at a college in Danville, Kentucky. The candidates have not yet agreed to the schedule.
Washington University is a backup this time. If one of the other universities can’t meet its obligations, Washington U can step in. That happened the first time, in 1992, when the school had only one week to set up everything. The school was chosen in ’96 but candidates Clinton and Dole agreed on only two debates and Washington U was the odd school out.
Associate Vice Chancellor Steve Givens, who led planning for debates in 2000 and 2004, says the school gets a little publicity when a debate is held on its campus. He says the lasting value is to students who remember that they have been a part of history.
Givens says schools have to spend about three million dollars to host one of these debates. He says Washington U will be ready if the phone should ring, even if it has only a few days’ notice.
Washington University was a backup in 1992 and had one week to prepare for a Clinton-Bush-Perot debate
IN 1996, Wshington University was one of three presidential debate sites but candidates Clinton and Gore agreed to only two and Washington University was the odd school out.
In 2000, the school hosted the Gore-Bush debate.
In 2004, in hosted the Bush-Kerry debate
In 2008, the Biden-Palen debate was held at the school.