Reporting David Sutta
Lynn University Presidential Debate
BOCA RATON (CBS4) – Lynn University’s campus is abuzz as the final Presidential debate is just hours away. To give you an idea of how many journalists are expected on the campus by debate time there is enough television cable to run from Boca Raton all the way to Florida City. That’s a little over 70 miles.
Lynn University students spent Sunday playing the role of the candidates and even CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent, and moderator of Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer as the final preps are underway. As the students did a mock debate camera crews tested their shots, sound and lighting.
“We are having a blast,” said Lynn University President Kevin Ross who added that the campus has transformed into a sprawling debate village. There are actually more journalists expected here Monday than students who attend his school; 2100 students versus 3500 journalists.
It’s an expensive venture.
“Democracy is expensive and I think it’s completely worth it. This is a five million dollar venture for us. We’ve had to make physical changes to campus and those are really investments in ourselves. The technology network is going to remain behind here,” Ross explained.
It’s also a boon for South Florida as well.
“We are expecting about 9,000 visitors in a short period of time representing about five to six million dollars,” said Boca Raton Mayor Susan Whelchel.
An estimated 60 million viewers worldwide are expected to tune in.
Palm Beach commissioner Shelly Vana explained it’s publicity they couldn’t buy.
“I don’t think we can put a number on the ability of the American people to see what a great place South Florida as a whole is and Palm Beach County specifically is,” said Vana.
The audience will be intimate. The auditorium retrofitted for television will hold roughly 500 people. In addition to the size of the auditorium you may notice the air conditioning vents are pointed straight down on top of the candidates so you won’t see them sweating.
The other thing is both candidates and the moderator will be seated at a desk. It’s the same desk used for the vice presidential candidate debate. However it has been retrofitted for Governor Romney and President Obama, both are tall and needed extra leg room.
Both candidates are expected to do a walk through on Monday to try out their seats. The debate gets underway at 9:00 p.m. You can watch it on CBS4 and CBSMiami.com.
One final note, you can expect to see a lot of t-shirts on campus Monday. Lynn University offered up shirts to students for free that read “We’ve never heard of you, either.” They ran out in just 45 minutes. Obviously it’s a play on the lack awareness about the university.