New Orleans Rejected for Presidential Debate…told not ready

If the NBA and NCAA think NOLA is ready you have to wonder…Who’s really not ready here?

A national commission today rejected New
Orleans’ bid to host a 2008 presidential debate, deciding that the city
was not sufficiently recovered from Hurricane Katrina to handle such an
important event.

The commission’s
position contrasts with the NBA and the NCAA, which are both holding
their premier events in New Orleans early next year. The city will play
host to the college football championship in January and the NBA
All-Star game in February.

Anne Milling, founder of Women of the Storm, said she was informed of
the debate commission’s decision today by Paul Kirk, a Democrat and the
co-chair of the bi-partisan group. Although the New Orleans debate was
endorsed by seven presidential candidates, she said Kirk told her the
commission did not believe the city was ready.

UPDATE: The seven candidates who had endorsed a NOLA debate included 5 Democrats and 2 Republicans.They were: Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Edwards, Obama,Brownback, and McCain.

UPDATE: Here ismore

The debate would attract about 3,000
national and international journalist, Milling said, bar fewer than the
crowds for the other events.

“I don’t think it could be a technology issue,” Milling said. “The convention center is one of the finest sites in the country.

The debate producer told her last year that the city could handle the debate then, Milling said.

“Is it a case of politics trumping the clear moral choice?” Milling said. “In my opinion that’s what happened.”

UPDATE:Here are the dates, locations and formats of the debates:

First presidential debate:(domestic policy focus)
Friday, September 26
University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS

Vice presidential debate:
Thursday, October 2
Washington University in St. Louis, MO

Second presidential debate: (town hall meeting format)
Tuesday, October 7
Belmont University, Nashville, TN

Third presidential debate: (focus on foreign policy)
Wednesday, October 15
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY

16 thoughts on “New Orleans Rejected for Presidential Debate…told not ready

  1. And considering that the ALA went there in ’06 (and organdized rebuilding libraries) and the Episcopals headed over this year (and went out en masse to help out with gutting and rebuilding people’s houses), what are the wannapreznits afraid of?
    (Kudos to those wannapreznits who want to get 8/29/05 back on the agenda. Rum bunch, but they at least see prezniting as Srs Bznz.)

  2. We all know the real reason for this: the Repubs don’t want another reminder of the mess they made in 2005. This was as predictable as Nagin putting his foot in his mouth.

  3. Paul Begala an JC Watts on CNN say locations not set in stone…candidates will have final say.

  4. I am a little confused about the “readiness” issue as far as the Netroots Nation / Yearly Kos thing is concerned. The post I read said they had to cancel a NOLA commitment because of technology concerns, i.e. the room was too small.

  5. I just wish they could… you know… admit that they have a political disagreement without smearing the city and its “readiness” How cowardly.

  6. This Paul Kirk guy should resign. Believe it or not, he’s the democratic co-chair of the debate commish, chairman of the JFK Library Foundation, etc. Is he kidding us with this stuff? It’s one thing to say that other cities won out, it’s another to put forth the lie that New Orleans isn’t capable of hosting such an event. What a disservice to our entire state.

  7. If New Orleans can handle Mardi Gras (try two so far) – she can handle a flippin’ debate. I am with Adrastos on this one.
    Fie on them!

  8. Really Dumb Question: What does it need to handle a debate. A few podiums; a few cameras. If there are a few rough whiskers – so what considering the recent history of the city.
    It isn’t like each news station has its own cameras at a debate. There are a bank of stock cameras and the networks pull off that and add their own commentary over it (that could be done from any TV studio in the world).

  9. FYI – Danville, Kentucky was selected as a backup site so it’s a good benchmark to use as what’s acceptable in terms of preparedness. Danville is a city of 15,409 with the nearest city being Lexington, KY an hour away. Not a single city west of Dallas, TX offers direct flights into Lexington (which is an hour from Danville). There are six hotels in Danville total.
    Danville is “prepared” but New Orleans somehow isn’t?
    The CPD needs to explain their rationale for declaring New Orleans not prepared while relying on the robust infrastructure of Danville, KY as a backup.

  10. MapleStreet
    Well, I remember back in the early 90’s when the R’s had their debate here the most important thing was to find a restaurant that offered food suitable to the event. We went for Hung Dynasty on St Charles and had the roasted suckling pig.
    While I can certainly imagine why the R’s are running screaming to anywhere but here, I can’t for the life of me understand why the D’s let them. This should be a thumb in their eye every damn way we can make it. Even if you hate the place, it is the # 1 symbol of the ineptitude of this administration and what drownding government in a bathtub looks like.

  11. Make that 1988 – and the R’ convention, not debate.
    Of course, I’m so ancient I was at William and Mary when Ford debated Carter…

  12. lb0313, and of course, NOLA doesn’t have any restaurants worth mentioning?
    My guess is that in the committee the Repubs refused. In order to keep a happy face on the matter, the dems aren’t saying why NOLA got the thumbs down.
    If so, I really wish the Dems would publicize why NOLA was refused.,

  13. I know this is excrutiatingly long, but here is the email I sent to Paul Kirk – I hope he reads it.
    Mr. Kirk:
    After reading my own newspaper (New Orleans’ Times Picayune) and the New York Times this morning, I began having flashbacks. Every time I think the storm is behind me, there is a news story, a friend’s story, or some roadblock to ordinary living that brings it all back. Today, it was the news report that you and your committee have joined the ranks of many other Americans and government agencies in the penultimate game of blame the victim that has ever occurred on US soil. Your decision not to hold a Presidential Debate in New Orleans is another crushing blow to our city. While I don’t pretend to have all the facts surrounding your decision, I do not believe the reasons provided to the press to be accurrate. I will not debate the number of hotel rooms, the telecommunications facilites and other technical criteria. Evidence of our hosting other conventions for far larger numbers really puts those issues to rest. The future sporting events to be held here also demonstrate those issues are not real.
    What I want you to know, is how your decision affects an ordinary New Orleanian. My family and I rebuilt our home ourselves. We neither asked nor received any money from any government. We have helped friends and neighbors rebuild. My 13 year old son has been cutting the grass at City Park every Saturday morning for well over a year, because that’s the only way it gets done. There are many more people here like us. All of our lives have been changed forever. We know the source of those changes; we know who is to blame. We have watched the nation turn its back on us for the last two years. Your recent decision is particularly painful. It confirms our greatest fear – we have been forgotten and abandoned not only by our current government, but also by the new government yet to come. We are not an issue to be debated, we are to be swept under the rug one last and final time.
    Holding a debate in New Orleans would have shown courage and compassion. My neighbors and I now know those qualities are reserved only for those of us who have persevered in spite of our government’s open contempt and dismissal.
    When you go to bed tonight, spend a few minutes thinking through the following exercise and then review in your own mind the real reasons you decided not to hold a debate in New Orleans:
    Imagine while you are on your next vacation (not that the evacuation was anything like a vacation) I come to your house and completely trash it and other people do the same to all your neighbors and all your local businesses. When you return to find all of your belongings completely ruined and your home and city uninhabitable, you want to find out what caused it. Then, we admit to doing it, but refuse to help you fix the damage. Sorry. You are left on your own to rebuild your neighborhoods, your businesses, your infrastructure. If you complain, the rest of the nation lashes out at you – calling you a whiner, lazy, weak and only looking for a handout. You have to explain to your children why all of their stuff is gone – bikes, games, pictures, crayons – everything – and that there isn’t money now to replace those things. Sorry. You live with your family in a trailer in your yard, or if you’re lucky on the second floor while you try and figure out how to rebuild. You eat from a toaster oven, or a grill out back if it isn’t raining, and you can’t escape that by going out to a restaurant because the ones close enough to go to are all gone. Sorry. Electricity, gas and water pressure are sporadic so things like heat, hot water and lights are not dependable. Spend every evening and weekend working on your home or someone else’s, working in your garden or cutting grass on city property because that’s the only way it gets done. The kids want to know why their mom cries sometimes and why the neighbors cry too – even some of the dads – that one is a little tricky to explain. Try living this life for a while and then tell me that this city and its residents don’t deserve anything from our government – the same one that trashed our homes and their contents, the same one that makes us cry sometimes and the same one that finds our troubles not worthy of debate. Live this life with your family and then tell me why you decided this city and its issues should not be included in the national debate of the future of our nation.

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