The day before the 2012 vice presidential debate

The vice presidential debate will be held tomorrow here at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. It is an exciting time to be on Centre’s campus. Many people don’t realize the immense amount of work that goes into preparing for a national presidential debate.

Preparations have been underway for months, but they have intensified this week and especially today. There is now a full security fence around about half of Centre’s campus, including the buildings where the debate will be held and where the media will be located. MSNBC has a platform set up outside Crounse Hall where they will be filming much of their programming tomorrow (including Hardball with Chris Matthews). There are Secret Service agents everywhere, as well as state and local police officers. Journalists from all over the world are receiving their media credentials and have begun to set up inside the media hall. A massive performance stage is being erected outside the Campus Center that will host the music performances for the community festival tomorrow.

For a single 24-hour period tomorrow, the entire American political universe will be focused and concentrated on Centre College’s campus. For a political geek like myself, it’s better than Christmas!

Speaking of Christmas, it came early for more than one hundred Centre students who found out today that they’ll be able to attend the debate in person tomorrow evening. It’s a credit to Centre as an institution of higher education that they gave top priority to students in determining ticket allocation.

Tomorrow evening I will not be inside the debate hall for the big event. I have been recruited to assist with the media and publicity side of things. I will be live-blogging and live-tweeting the event throughout the day and evening. Earlier today I participated in interviews with several reporters from around the country and will be participating in a number of media events tomorrow, including an hour-long political panel on NPR and more interviews with local and national media outlets. It’s exciting to be involved in the debate in this fashion, and it’s a privilege to be able to represent the “political science” perspective to the world audience.

I’m also looking forward to sneaking over to the debate festival being held in front of the Campus Center all day. It’s an event that is free and open to the public – we hope that the entire community will come and enjoy the festivities. The debate itself will be broadcast on a jumbo display to those at the festival, starting at 9:00 EST.

For those who are interested, I’ll be tweeting throughout the day and evening tomorrow at @benjaminknoll28.

Also, here are some of my recent articles and interviews previewing the vice presidential debate:

CBS radio interview on the debate:

CBS radio interview on the role of religion in the debate (and campaign):

The NPR panel will be broadcast tomorrow (Thursday) from 11:00-12:00 EST and will be available to most of Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. It can also be accessed online here:

P.S. I’ll be posting pictures later this week after all the dust has settled.

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