Which Colleges Get the Presidential Debates?

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What’s the best college to host a presidential debate?

Ideally it should be reasonably representative of America (no Smith), convenient enough to accommodate huge media coverage (no University of Alaska), and not terribly controversial (no Reed).

While tiny Saint Anselm College has actually hosted four debates throughout 2004 and 2008 (probably because it’s located in Goffstown, New Hampshire) the ideal school seems to be a big university in the Midwest. Washington University in St. Louis, for instance, has already hosted three presidential debates.

With that probably in mind, Indiana University is eager to host next year’s presidential debates. According to an article by Eshley Spitzer in the Indiana Daily Student:

The University has submitted an application to sponsor a presidential debate on campus, making it one of 12 schools to apply for the debate. If chosen, IU may be host to either a presidential or vice presidential debate in the IU Auditorium.

“From internships with media, political and planning organizations to specially designed course curriculum focused on the political process, the debate experience will extend to every boundary of our University and beyond,” [Indiana’s auditorium director, Doug] Booher said.

It would also, as one student put it, get the “eyes of [the] entire country on Indiana University.” Yes, though very, very briefly. Did Saint Anselm College benefit much from hosting so many debates?

It’s only recently that major presidential debates have started happening on campuses. Most debates, from the 1960s on, occurred in television studios. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer