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Sweet blog extra: South Carolina Dem Debate looking to be fast, free flowing.

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ORANGEBURG, S.C.—The very first 2008 presidential primary debate, tonight at South Carolina State University, is bringing a boom to this campus town.

Most of the motels on the strip leading into campus are sold out. Rental cars were hard to get at the airport in Columbia.There are 450 domestic reporters and 150 from international outlets here. Parts of the campus has been transformed to outdoor sets for standups and MSNBC’s “Hardball” and NBC’s “Nightly News.”

The debate itself will take place inside the Martin Luther King Auditorium at the school. The candidates will stand behind podiums. The moderator is NBC’s Brian Williams. the aim is for a fast and free flowing 90-minute session.

There will be no opening or closing remarks. That’s something White House hopeful Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) would have preferred but did not get. There is no set of topics, so the eight Democrats have to be ready for anything. The answers are supposed to be one minute.

The candidates who are senators—Biden, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.)—will travel to South Carolina this afternoon because they have the big Senate vote on the Iraq supplemental legislation today.

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Point of historical trivia: Lincoln did lose the election campaign during which the Lincoln-Douglas debates occurred. From the AP article in today's Sun-Times: [an Obama opponent] cited a letter to the editor in The Seattle Times last February that claimed Abraham Lincoln would have lost his election if he had to debate Obama instead of Stephen Douglas.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on April 26, 2007 9:58 AM.

Sweet column: A look at Obama prep for Thursday debate was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet blog extra: At Dem debate, Edwards expects to have some fun. is the next entry in this blog.

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