October 8, 2004
A Tribune roundup of news and events surrounding Wednesday’s presidential debate in Tempe.
The Republican and Democratic parties are scouting locations in or near downtown Tempe to host thousands of supporters for debate watching parties and post-debate rallies where the candidates will appear Wednesday.
Democrats have zeroed in on Tempe Beach Park at Town Lake. The Arizona Education Association has agreed to end early a political rally for 5,000 teachers in the park to make way for up to 25,000 Kerry fans.
But Tempe officials are reviewing whether the city can provide enough security to handle such a large event when every police officer already has been called to duty that day. A decision from Tempe City Hall is expected this afternoon.
Meanwhile, Republicans and the Bush campaign say they haven’t chosen any possible sites yet for their event. Speculation centers on Diablo Stadium, which would be relatively easy to secure and close to Arizona State University.
Governor tours debate site
Gov. Janet Napolitano went on a personal tour Thursday of Gammage Auditorium and the Media Debate Center next door to check on preparations for Wednesday.
Her first question — "How are we promoting Arizona?"
Colleen Jennings-Roggenssack, executive director of public events for ASU, explained the Commission of Presidential Debates will have complete control of the auditorium, so only its logo will be visible to the in-person audience or debate viewers around the world.
White banners that say "Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona" already alternate with U.S. flags hanging around the outside facade of Gammage. Similar, maroon banners will be seen from every angle inside the 32,000-square-foot media center erected solely for the debate.
There wasn’t much for Napolitano to see on her tour, as the stage background is scheduled to arrive Saturday from Miami, Fla., where it was used in the first debate last week.
But Jennings-Roggenssack pointed out Napolitano’s likely seat is in the second row where she will rub shoulders with other political stars such as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
Inside the media tent, one of the journalists trailing after Napolitano mentioned the rest room trailers that ASU has hauled in for more than 1,000 journalists and campaign surrogates. Napolitano’s eyes lighted up at Jennings-Roggenssack’s description, "Those are ‘party pleasers,’ that’s what they’re called."
The ASU tour guides steered Napolitano away when she tried to walk over to one of the trailers.
"The governor has no fun today!" Napolitano moaned in jest.
Two on Tuesday
Kerry will come to Valley a day early to prepare for the debate, Arizona campaign spokeswoman Sue Walitsky said.
The senator will arrive sometime Tuesday night, but no public appearances before the debate have been announced, she said.
The Tribune revealed earlier this week that Bush is scheduled to attend a Republican fund-raiser Tuesday afternoon at the Sanctuary resort in Paradise Valley.
Stress antidote touted
Stress for ASU officials and other people involved in pulling off the debate will keep building so that, by Wednesday, there could be enough tension to blow off the top of Mount St. Helens.
Neil Giuliano, the former Tempe mayor who came up with the idea to bring the debate to Tempe, says he has the perfect antidote.
He’s handing out bottles of New Life TryptoZen, an overthe-counter diet supplement for reducing stress and anxiety.
Manufacturer Symbiotics says its product contains "hydrolyzed milk protein." A listing at Amazon.com says "TryptoZen contains a bioactive milk peptide derived from casein."
Don’t you feel better already?
Not so fast
If you got an early invite to the Arizona Chamber of Commerce’s debate "warm up" breakfast Wednesday between McCain and Napolitano, don’t set your alarm clock yet.
In the rush to line up the state’s political celebrities for appearances related to the presidential debate, it seems the chamber and others forgot that the governor often doesn’t make up her mind on these things until the last minute.
The chamber sent out an email announcement earlier this week touting speeches by McCain and Napolitano at the breakfast event scheduled in downtown Phoenix.
McCain agreed to attend but Napolitano did not.
The chamber quickly sent out an apology after the governor’s office called to complain.
ASU and the Council on Foreign Relations are cosponsoring a daylong seminar on the day of the debate and are hoping to coax the governor to be the luncheon speaker.
Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz., has agreed to attend that morning, but the governor is being coy. So the ASU/council announcement says she has been "invited" to speak at the event to be held at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel.
"There has been no commitment to any of these events," said Jeanine L’Ecuyer, Napolitano’s press secretary.
Instead, the governor is trying to stick to her routine on the day of the final presidential debate in 2004.
She plans to hold her weekly interview with Valley journalists in her Capitol office, and also will discuss budget proposals with her staff for the 2005 legislative session.
At night, it’s a different story. McCain and Napolitano are co-hosting an exclusive postdebate celebration at the Mission Palms.
Yet another political forum
Rep. J.D. Hayworth, RAriz., and Dave Goldwin, an Arizona volunteer for the Kerry campaign, will hold a minidebate from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, 6400 W. Del Rio St., Chandler.
The forum is sponsored by the church’s social action council and will be moderated by Terry Ward of KJZZ (91.5 FM).