Debate to showcase the best of South Carolina
Leaders from the South Carolina Democratic Party and The Citadel announced today that they are working together on the historic July 23 CNN/YouTube Democratic Party presidential debate to ensure that the voices and values of South Carolina and the City of Charleston are well represented.
"When it comes to showcasing what is so special about South Carolina and Charleston, we share the same goals as the city and the South Carolina Democratic Party," said Citadel President Lt. Gen. John Rosa. "All of the participants are working hard to ensure that as many South Carolinians as possible have a chance to take part in this event in some way. The Citadel is committed to helping host a first-class event that will inform and educate viewers at home and abroad."
This is the first of six Democratic presidential debates sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee for the 2008 cycle and the first presidential debate ever held in Charleston and at The Citadel. The debate will air from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, July 23 on CNN. Anchor Anderson Cooper will moderate the debate and many questions will come from voters who submit video questions to candidates at YouTube.com
"The Citadel has welcomed this debate with open arms and has gone over and above the call of duty to help the South Carolina Democrats and CNN plan and execute the debate," said Carol Fowler, chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party. "They have opened the doors of their campus to us and given us access to some wonderful facilities like McAlister Field House, which will allow us to get more people than we would normally be able to get into this debate."
Fowler said interest in the Democratic slate of candidates in South Carolina is high and demand is also high for tickets to the debate and for opportunities to see the candidates.
"The Citadel has responded by giving us access to some great space for events around the debate itself. That will help us get even more people involved and create some real excitement in the community," said Fowler.
In addition to the debate itself, the South Carolina Democratic Party is working with the City of Charleston on a pre-debate reception and other events during the day on July 23.
The State Democratic Party is using its after-debate party to give back to the Charleston community by asking for a donation from each attendee to the fund for the families of the fallen Charleston firefighters.
"America has learned from tragedy that Charleston is a hometown of heroes, a place where public service has and will always be a proud part of the tradition," said Fowler. "The Citadel is another one of those special places that puts service to country and service to others at a premium. I can't think of a better place or a better way to honor that special Southern tradition of helping your neighbor and your community than by asking each person who attends this debate at The Citadel to donate to those whose loved ones gave the ultimate sacrifice."
More information about the debate, the events surrounding the debate and how South Carolina voters can get involved can be found on the websites of both the state Democratic Party (www.scdp.org) and The Citadel (www.citadel.edu).
Fowler and Rosa noted that South Carolinians who cannot make it to Charleston for the debate or who cannot get tickets can still be part of the debate by going to http://youtube.com/debates to submit a creative 30-second question for the candidates.
"Our troops are fighting around the world to protect our freedom to express our views and values. They are the reasons we can enjoy the right to vote and express ourselves," said Rosa. "This debate will give voters across the political spectrum the chance to have their voices heard first-hand through the technology provided by CNN and YouTube. I hope South Carolinians take advantage of this unique format and submit their questions for the candidates."
Fowler said issues central to the lives of South Carolina families must be addressed by the next president.
"From revitalizing our manufacturing base to strengthening our military to making sure our children have health insurance and the promise of a good public school education, our country and our next Commander-in-Chief will face enormous challenges," she said. "South Carolina, as one of the first primary states in the 2008 presidential election cycle, represents a real proving ground for these candidates. I urge Democrats, Independents, and even Republicans to take the time to submit a question. This is a people-driven presidential debate and we want to hear the voices and values of South Carolina loud and clear."