Tempe Presidential Debate Digest - East Valley Tribune: News

Tempe Presidential Debate Digest

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Posted: Wednesday, October 6, 2004 11:25 am | Updated: 5:05 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

October 6, 2004

A Tribune roundup of news and events surrounding the Oct. 13 presidential debate in Tempe.

Well-heeled Republicans will be hobnobbing with President Bush on Oct. 12 during a fund-raising event at the swanky Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain Resort in Paradise Valley.

Bush will arrive one day before the presidential debate at Arizona State University and is expected to rake in copious amounts of cash for the Republican Party.

Officials in the Bush campaign in Arizona, and at the Republican National Committee, said they had no details of the event.

But an invitation to the invitation-only soiree puts the price of admission at $2,000 — and up.

The minimum contribution gets you into the reception.

Want a souvenir? Photos with the president will be available for at least $10,000 per couple.

Feeling hungry? Lunch will be served to those who pony up $25,000 per couple. The photo is included in that price.

No word on what the menu will include.

Money from the event will go to the Joint State Victory Committee of the Republican National Committee, an account that helps state parties in Arizona and several other states considered to be in play in this election.

An RSVP is required.

And make sure you list your date of birth and Social Security number, for security purposes.

No fear on funds

ASU officials said they will not slash services for the presidential debate despite falling more than $200,000 short in fund-raising efforts.

Virgil Renzulli, vice president of public affairs, said the Arizona State University Foundation will pick up the rest of the tab if not enough people step up with money before the event.

University officials had hoped to raise $2.5 million to pay for telecommunication services, security and other expenses such as high-speed Internet access for the media.

The shortage, Renzulli said, tells the tale of the fierce competition for political contributions during a hotly contested presidential race.

A majority of the $2.3 million raised so far has come from large contributors such as the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Cox Communications, Arizona Public Service Co. and Empire Cat.

Other contributors include Tempe, Bank of America, Bank One, Honeywell, and Safeway. For a complete list of donors, visit www.asu.edu/debate.

A long haul

Security will be so tight for the debate that anyone expecting to get inside Gammage Auditorium’s temporary perimeter fencing will have to park and ride the bus — from Phoenix Municipal Stadium at East Van Buren Street and Priest Drive.

The select few who enter Gammage and the hundreds of journalists watching in the $1 million media tent will have their credentials checked and go through strict security screening before being allowed to travel to Gammage.

Anyone who walks outside the fence before or during the debate will have to somehow get back to the Phoenix stadium to go through the security review again.

Power play

APS is a major corporate sponsor for the debate, and the company isn’t taking any chances that electric grid problems like those last summer could disrupt the "Super Bowl of politics."

APS is bringing two, 48-foot-long electric generators to Tempe.

By Oct. 13, all of Gammage and the media center will be removed from the main grid and will be powered by the generators.

APS officials will be on hand at all times to keep the generators operating at full capacity.

Everything must go!

The $1 million Media Debate Center outside Gammage Auditorium will be loaded with high-tech communication and video systems for journalists covering the debate and all the political spin surrounding it.

Details include:

• More than 1,200 telephone and high-speed Internet access lines.

• More than 100 video/ cable lines that will connect to new 27-inch televisions.

• Eight miles of fiber, coaxial and twisted-pair cables to deliver the video and Internet feeder lines.

Video, telephone and power cables underground to supply the tent will remain permanently and be available for future special events, ASU officials said.

After the debate, the televisions will be sold at discounted prices to university employees and the public.

Voices of dissent

Protesters of various political and ideological stripes will try to use the debate to draw attention to their own causes.

Some have joined in a temporary coalition called The October 13th Alliance: Democracy for Change.

"Our message is that there are many critical issues not being debated and more than two sides to every story," said Sue Hilderbrand, an alliance organizer.

"Instead of complaining, we are going to create a truly democratic environment," Hilderbrand said.

The alliance’s activities will start Saturday evening with a music festival on ASU’s Student Services Lawn.

Other events next week will focus on the Iraq war, including an exhibit of more than 1,000 white crosses commemorating U.S. military deaths and a panel discussion with war opponents.

For a complete schedule of alliance events, e-mail


KNXV-TV (Channel 15) news is partnering with the Tribune to find 200 undecided voters. We’ll watch the Tempe presidential debate in the KNXV studios and then ask the undecideds who wins the "Valley Vote." Go to www.abc15.com if you’re interested in participating.

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