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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. Really, taking someone managing the regulation of Alcohol and making himthe President of an IVY Tech regional campus. Does he have an education background?

  2. Jan, great rant. Now how about you review the report and offer rebuttal of the memo. This might be more conducive to civil discourse than a wild rant with no supporting facts. Perhaps some links to support your assertions would be helpful

  3. I've lived in Indianapolis my whole and been to the track 3 times. Once for a Brickyard, once last year on a practice day for Indy 500, and once when I was a high school student to pick up trash for community service. In the past 11 years, I would say while the IMS is a great venue, there are some upgrades that would show that it's changing with the times, just like the city is. First, take out the bleachers and put in individual seats. Kentucky Motor Speedway has individual seats and they look cool. Fix up the restrooms. Add wi-fi. Like others have suggested, look at bringing in concerts leading up to events. Don't just stick with the country music genre. Pop music would work well too I believe. This will attract more young celebrities to the Indy 500 like the kind that go to the Kentucky Derby. Work with Indy Go to increase the frequency of the bus route to the track during high end events. That way people have other options than worrying about where to park and paying for parking. Then after all of this, look at getting night lights. I think the aforementioned strategies are more necessary than night racing at this point in time.

  4. Talking about congestion ANYWHERE in Indianapolis is absolutely laughable. Sure you may have to wait in 5 minutes of traffic to travel down BR avenue during *peak* times. But that is absolutely nothing compared to actual big cities. Indy is way too suburban to have actual congestion problems. So please, never bring up "congestion" as an excuse to avoid development in Indianapolis. If anything, we could use a little more.

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