Politics & Government

Want a ticket to vice-presidential debate at Centre College? Forget about it

Dick Cheney and Joseph Lieberman were on stage for the Centre College's first vice-presidential debate on Oct. 5, 2000.
Dick Cheney and Joseph Lieberman were on stage for the Centre College's first vice-presidential debate on Oct. 5, 2000. Lexington Herald-Leader

FRANKFORT — Interested in getting tickets to attend the 2012 vice-presidential debate next month at Centre College?

Forget it. There are no tickets to be had for the public.

In fact, it's still uncertain how many tickets there will be for the Oct. 11 debate between Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Paul Ryan, and how Centre College and the Commission on Presidential Debates will distribute them.

At this point, no tickets are available through any means, said Julie Andrews, a spokeswoman for the commission. She emphasized that no tickets are ever sold and said the public should not contact the commission or the school about tickets.

"They are split among the people who make the debates possible: the host school, the campaigns and the commission. But even they don't know yet exactly how many they will be getting," she said.

The commission will not know how many tickets will be available until a few days before the nation's only vice presidential debate, she said.

The reason: Lighting changes and pool media cameras have to be set, and the Secret Service and fire marshal's office have to weigh in, she said. The center's Newlin Hall seats 1,470, but not all of those seats will be available for a precious few to witness the debate.

The limited number of tickets allocated to Centre mainly will be earmarked for current students in the days before the debate, Andrews said.

When Centre hosted the 2000 vice presidential debate between Republican Dick Cheney and Democrat Joseph Lieberman, 100 students got tickets on the day of the debate through a lottery.

Centre, with an enrollment of 1,340, is telling students interested in attending the debate to look for instructions that will be posted on the school's Web site. Centre also decides which school officials will be attending.

The political campaigns will get some tickets but, like the school, they will not know how many until a few days before the debate, Andrews said.

State and local officials receive no tickets from the commission.

"They would most probably have to get them from the school or the campaigns," Andrews said.

Kerri Richardson, a spokeswoman for Gov. Steve Beshear, said the governor and first lady Jane Beshear will be attending.

For those who can't get into the center to watch the debate, there will be ample opportunity elsewhere.

The debate will air on the major networks, cable news stations, public television and radio, and it will be live-streamed online.

Hammond Communications Group, a Lexington-based multimedia production company, will provide audio-visual support for the debate. Hammond will have 150 42-inch LCD display monitors located throughout the campus.

Also, Hammond will provide a public address system and a 7½ -foot-by-10-foot video screen for "Speakers Park" — an enclosed area at Centre's practice football field where people and organizations with special interests can gather. It will open at noon Oct. 11.

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