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Democrats Will Debate In Philadelphia Again

This story was written by Emily Schultheis, Daily Pennsylvanian
The candidates are back for another round -- on April 16, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will face off in Philadelphia during the 21st Democratic debate.

The debate -- hosted by ABC -- will be held at the National Constitution Center in downtown Philadelphia. It will be one of the candidates' last chances to impress voters before Pennsylvania's April 22 primary.

The event will be the second Democratic debate held in Philadelphia this election season. The first was held at Drexel University on Oct. 30.

While the University of Pennsylvania was considered for the October debate but ultimately was not chosen due to logistical concerns, University spokeswoman Lori Doyle said Penn "was never in competition" for next month's debate.

According to Joseph Torsella, the CEO of the NCC, a debate at the institution has been in the works for several months. After an unsuccessful attempt to host a "national town hall"-style debate prior to Super Tuesday, the NCC continued to look into holding a debate.

"That sort of morphed from Super Tuesday to this," Torsella said.

He added that the debate is still in its early planning stages but more details would be released in the next few days.

"Obviously we're tremendously excited," Torsella said. "Every one of these debates has been a useful part of the dialogue, and there's clearly something special about a debate at the Constitution Center, with its view of Independence Hall."

Both campaigns said they would use the debate to reach out to Pennsylvania voters.

A Clinton press release from last week stated, "Hillary is prepared to show she has real solutions for the problems facing residents of the Keystone State."

Clinton currently has a double-digit lead in the Pennsylvania polls.

Obama spokesman Matt Lehrich addressed Clinton's lead when commenting on the debate.

"We recognize that Sen. Obama is the underdog here in Pennsylvania, but we look forward to that challenge," he said, adding that the debate would help Pennsylvanians learn about Obama's message.

On campus, there is excitement about the upcoming debate.

"I'm taking a politics and media class and I'm a Hillary supporter, so I'm definitely going to try and check it out," College junior Andreas Caicedo said.

Penn Democrats spokeswoman Amelia Bailey said that although she is unsure of exact plans, the organization "will definitely be involved in pre-debate activities."

"We thought there was a chance that a debate might not come back to Philly for a second time, so we're happy to have them here," Bailey said.
© 2008 Daily Pennsylvanian via U-WIRE