Danville, Centre College get high marks for VP debate

gkocher1@herald-leader.comOctober 12, 2012 

The day after the vice presidential debate brought sighs of relief and praise to the liberal arts school and to Danville.

The executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates, the non-partisan organization that puts on the debates, said Friday that Centre and Danville did a "superb" job.

"They aced it in 2000 and this year was even better," Brown wrote in an email to the Herald-Leader. Centre hosted the 2000 vice presidential debate.

Brown said new facilities on the Centre campus made the media filing center "more efficient and spacious."

The Centre team, which was largely the same as the one 12 years ago, "had the benefit of one debate under their belts, so they brought experience to '12," Brown added. "Centre and Danville should be very proud, and we were honored to be asked back."

Of course, it's impossible to please everybody. One person posted a message on Twitter.com, saying he spent "all day" looking for lox and bagels in Danville.

Note to Burke's Bakery, that iconic Danville business known for its cookies, donuts and chess pie (but which doesn't sell bagels): You might have a new niche product to explore.

Otherwise, the reviews were glowing.

Dan Sheridan, a photographer for WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, raved about Centre's handling of the debate that attracted about 3,000 journalists and related production people.

"The college did a wonderful job," Sheridan said. "Centre put out all problems immediately. This was my first time here, and I would love to come back."

Another person tweeted: "No matter who you think won the VP debate last night ... all agree that Centre College and the Commonwealth of Kentucky won big."

All of which had Centre President John Roush crowing like a rooster.

"In most things in life, there is no perfect," Roush said Friday. "But there is nearly flawless. And our execution of the things over which we had some control was nearly flawless. Our people, in working with the city and county and state folks, put on an event for the American people and the world that set a standard by which others are judged — again."

Roush was worried that students would not be able to get into the debate hall. But all 125 whose names were drawn in a Wednesday lottery were able to get inside, and perhaps another 50 or more who acted as ushers or in some support capacity to the networks and the Commission on Presidential Debates also witnessed history unfold in person.

The commission, which controlled seating, knew that space for students "was a priority for us," Roush said, "and they really came through in a big way for us."

So the inevitable question arises: Would Centre pursue hosting a third debate?

"The answer is 'yes, comma, or something that feels like it,'" Roush said. "And you might ask, 'What might that be?' And I don't know yet. ...But doing another debate, my answer would be yes, or something that feels like it."

Herald-Leader staff writer Jack Brammer contributed to this story.Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305.Twitter: @heraldleader

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