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UPDATE: Presidential debate interest renewed at Purdue

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The appointment of Purdue University President Mitch Daniels to the Commission on Presidential Debates this month has spurred new talk of the school possibly trying to host one of the debates in 2016.

Daniels said he couldn't decline joining the commission's Board of Directors despite his pledge to stay out of politics after becoming Purdue's president when his second term as Indiana governor ended in January 2013.

His new position wouldn't prevent Purdue from bidding to becoming a debate host, Daniels told Journal & Courier.

"I don't know that will ever come into play," he said. "It's an expensive thing to do. I'm far from sure we'd want to do it. Maybe we get a little leg up, I don't know."

Purdue officials considered seeking to host a 2012 debate on the West Lafayette campus but didn't do so because of cost and other concerns.

Todd Wetzel, director of Purdue Convocations, researched submitting a 2012 bid and said no formal discussions had yet been held about doing so for 2016.

"Never before have we had a president of the university have a role on the commission," Wetzel said. "We're sitting in a different place than we were previously with respect to the discussion."

The 6,000-seat Elliott Hall of Music would be a potential debate site, although the nearby Purdue Armory would also likely need to be used as working space for 3,000 credentialed journalists who've covered previous debates, said Steve Hall, director of Hall of Music Productions.

Bids won't be due from potential hosts until early 2015.

Janet Brown, executive director of the debate commission, said Daniels' involvement wouldn't give Purdue any advantage.

"It's neutral," Brown said. "We're delighted to have President Daniels on the board. We would welcome a bid that originated with any one of our directors. If a site has the facilities, that is the threshold for (being considered), whether someone has a personal tie or not."

Brown said the commission usually receives between 12 and 24 bids from hopeful hosts.

Clarification: An earlier version of this Associated Press story implied that Purdue officials were actively debating making a bid for the 2016 election. Any talks at the university have not yet reached that level, school officials said Monday afternoon.

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  1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

  2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

  3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

  4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

  5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.

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