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A Case for Debate

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New Orleans has held some of the country's pre-eminent events " Super Bowls, The 1984 World's Fair and NCAA Final Four basketball tournaments " but none of those could mean as much to the city as hosting a presidential debate. In the next three weeks, the Commission on Presidential Debates will announce the host cities for three presidential debates and a single vice-presidential debate. Considering that body's mission to 'provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners," no other city could offer a better backdrop for candidates to give their specific plans for protecting America's vulnerable coastal communities.

This city also is emblematic of much of what concerns other U.S. cities " crime, public education, health care, economic development and civic duty. But what separates New Orleans from other applicant cities is how much these problems are magnified here. Most cities, for instance, are concerned with improving public schools, but here the schools have to be rebuilt and improved at the same time. The cost of health care affects many across the country, but in New Orleans it's the cost as well as the logistics of getting basic and adequate services and replacing the infrastructure.

The city's significance extends much further into national issues, including the environment, energy policy, aspects of race and poverty and, looming largest of all, defining government's role in addressing all of these topics.

In August, Richard Stengel, managing editor for TIME Magazine, wrote an editorial strongly endorsing New Orleans' bid for a presidential debate. Gambit Weekly couldn't agree more.

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