Biden, Palin set for Oct. 2 VP Debate

Sen. Joe Biden from Delaware and Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, the vice presidential nominees of the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively, will debate each other at 8 p.m. (CDT) Oct. 2 in the Washington University in St. Louis Athletic Complex, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD).

This is the first time the University will host a vice presidential debate. It’s the fifth consecutive presidential election that the University has been selected by the CPD, the event’s sponsor, to serve as a debate host.

The CPD, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization established in 1987, is responsible for selecting the venues and producing the presidential debates. The CPD’s three 2008 presidential debates locations and dates are: the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., Sept. 26; Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 7; and Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Oct. 15.

Washington University again is offering the same facilities that were made available for the 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004 debates. They include the Field House — which is the actual debate site — Francis Gymnasium, the Rec Gym and other areas of the Athletic Complex. Francis Gym and Francis Field were the sites of the 1904 World Olympic Games, the first Olympics played in the Western Hemisphere.

The debate will be moderated by Gwen Ifill, a longtime correspondent and moderator for nationally televised public broadcasting news programs. Ifill, who serves as moderator and managing editor of PBS’ “Washington Week” and senior correspondent for “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” also moderated the CPD’s 2004 vice presidential debate between Vice President Dick Cheney and Sen. John Edwards, held Oct. 5 at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Biden was nominated for vice president Aug. 27 at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colo. A week later, on Sept. 4, Palin was nominated for vice president at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.

Biden, 65, is a 36-year veteran of the U.S. Senate. He was elected in 1972 when he was 29. He is known for his leadership in foreign policy, terrorism, crime and drug policy. He ran unsuccessfully for the presidential nomination of his party in 1988 and in 2008.

Biden is the former chairman and long-time member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Over the years he has been influential in crime and drug policy legislation. His Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, frequently referred to as the Biden Crime Bill, increased police numbers by 100,000 nationwide and brought more federal support for criminal justice.

The 2007 Biden Crime Bill addresses burgeoning crime problems such as online child exploitation, computer hacking and teenage prescription drug abuse.

Palins vice presidential nomination marks the first time that the Republican Party has nominated a woman for the position. On Dec. 4, 2006, she also made history when she became the first woman governor of Alaska.

Palin, 44, has overseen increases in Alaska state savings, education funding and implemented the Senior Benefits Program that provides support for low-income older Alaskans. Her administration has passed an overhaul of the states ethics laws and developed a process to construct a gas pipeline.

Palin is chair of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, a multistate government agency that promotes the conservation and efficient recovery of domestic oil and natural gas resources while protecting the environment.

Before becoming governor of Alaska, she served two terms on the Wasilla City Council and two terms as mayor/manager of Wasilla. Palin also has served as chair of the Alaska Conservation Commission, which regulates Alaska’s oil and gas.

Local sponsors for the vice presidential debate are AT&T, Emerson and Wachovia Securities. For information on these firms, go to:

Washington University is the only institution to host more than two debates.

In 1992, the university hosted the first nationally televised three-candidate presidential debate in CPD history, was selected to host a presidential debate in 1996 that eventually was canceled, hosted the third and last presidential debate of the 2000 campaign season and the second of three presidential debates before the 2004 election.

For more information about CPD guidelines for debate site selection, debate formats and selection criteria used to determine the candidates to be invited to participate in the debates, please visit the CPD’s Web site,

See also:

CPD news release: (Sept. 17, 2008)
Senator Obama and Senator McCain, Senator Biden and Governor Palin invited to CPD’s debates