Democratic Presidential Primary Debate to be broadcast from SC State, April 26

Monday, January 8, 2007

ORANGEBURG, SC –Sixth District Congressman James E. Clyburn, ’61, and S.C. Democratic Party Chairman Joe Erwin traveled to SC State on January 8, 2007, to make a monumental announcement: SC State will host the first candidates’ debate of the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election cycle.Presidential Debate Press Conference

The Democratic Presidential Candidates’ Debate will be broadcast live from SC State’s Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium on Thursday, April 26, at 7 p.m., and will be produced by NBC News. This will be the first Presidential Primary debate broadcast from a Historically Black College or University; Congressman Clyburn, recently elected Majority Whip of the 110th Congress, is a 1961 graduate of SC State.

MSNBC will carry exclusive live coverage of the presidential primary debate on MSNBC from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (EDT) and will stream the debate live on South Carolina NBC affiliates WIS-TV in Columbia, WYFF-TV in Greenville and WCBD-TV in Charleston will join MSNBC in airing the debate. Check local listings for availability of the broadcast in your area.

MSNBC, which has intensified its focus on politics with its successful non-stop political coverage during the recent mid-term elections, will preview the debate during the day of April 26. The network’s signature political program, “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” will air live from SC State at 5 p.m. (EDT) with key interviews and analysis in anticipation of the debate. The network will also air comprehensive analysis of the debate upon its conclusion.

The Thursday night debate will serve as a kickoff to the South Carolina Democratic Party’s 2007 Convention weekend, featuring the state party’s Jefferson Jackson Dinner and Congressman Clyburn’s Annual Fish Fry on Friday, April 27, and the State Democratic Party Convention on Saturday, April 28.

“What better way to celebrate South Carolina and our second-in-the-nation, first-in-the South Presidential Primary than with the first Presidential debate at the Alma Mater of our own Jim Clyburn, Majority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives,” said Erwin.

“The NBC News/South Carolina Democratic Party Debate at SC State not only presents an incredible opportunity for the talented field of Democratic candidates running for President to make their case to the voters of South Carolina, but it also presents an amazing opportunity for every citizen of this state to have South Carolina issues, values and voices front and center in the national spotlight,” said Clyburn.

“I fully expect that the leading Democrats, who are considering a run for the Presidency, will not miss this opportunity to travel to Orangeburg and meet the terrific students, faculty and staff of SC State for this historic occasion,” Clyburn continued. “I am so touched by Chairman Erwin’s efforts to bring this debate to my Alma Mater and his commitment, along with the talented team at NBC News, to making it heard across the state and across the nation.”

State Democratic Party Chairman Erwin and his Primary team produced a successful Presidential Primary debate with NBC News in January 2004, as part of the record-breaking 2004 Democratic Primary.

“South Carolina State University – through its students, alumni and constituents – has played a significant and pivotal role in shaping the history of this state and this nation; therefore, it is most appropriate that this historic event take place on this historic campus,” said SC State President Andrew Hugine.

“We are grateful to Chairman Erwin and our own Congressman Clyburn for working to bring this prestigious debate to Orangeburg, and to our campus, and look forward to working closely with NBC News to showcase the incredible richness of diversity our school has to offer,” added Hugine.

Four major broadcast networks competed for the right to air the first Presidential debate of the cycle. In the end, the top-rated NBC News team was chosen for their ability to bring the debate live to the largest audience of South Carolina and national viewers, and for their ability through MSNBC to showcase SC State and the State of South Carolina.

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to be the home of the first debate of the 2008 presidential campaign,” said NBC News President Steve Capus. “NBC News is uniquely positioned to bring an event like this to the nation with the number one morning and evening newscasts, the number one Sunday public affairs program, MSNBC’s unparalleled commitment to extensive political coverage on cable and the leading news and information web site,”

For additional information, contact Lachlan McIntosh, S.C. Democratic Party, at; Hope Derrick, Sixth Congressional District, at; or Erica S. Prioleau, SC State, at