of Commission on Presidential Debates Sept. 15, 2004 letter to the
Campaigns' Lead Debate Negotiators (this followed on another letter the
CPD had sent a week earlier):
September 15, 2004
James A. Baker, III Baker
Botts L.L.P. 1299
Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington,
Vernon E. Jordan Lazard
Freres L.L.C. 30
Rockefeller Plaza New
York, NY 10112
Dear Jim and Vernon:
In light of the Commission on Presidential Debates’ (CPD) scheduled
debates, which start on September 30 at the University of Miami, the
final construction and production details must be addressed
immediately. It is important that we meet with you no later than
Monday, September 20, to finalize debate plans. We are also available
to meet anytime this week.
As you know, the CPD’s sites and dates were announced in November,
2003. Since that time, the University of Miami, Case Western Reserve
University, Washington University in St. Louis, and Arizona State
University have spent substantial resources on preparation. While more
than ten months of preparation have gone into the four debate halls,
the universities, television networks, security officials and the CPD
need at least ten days for final configuration and testing of the
production elements. The sites’ media filing centers, where 2,500
journalists will work, also require extensive installation of
communication equipment. Without this preparation and rehearsal time,
the CPD cannot guarantee that the American public will see and hear
debates of the quality they expect.
The universities’ students have signed up to volunteer in unprecedented
numbers. The three television networks with pool responsibility for the
four debates – Fox (Miami), NBC (St. Louis), and ABC (Cleveland and
Phoenix) – have spent months working on production details with the CPD
and are ready to go. The requests for media workspace, both network and
local stations, are greater than ever.
The CPD’s coordination with federal law enforcement for the 2004
debates – the first since September 11, 2001 – has been underway since
December, 2002. The Gallup Organization is ready to recruit undecided
voters in the St. Louis, MO metropolitan area for the town meeting
debate, a format that has proved most popular with the American public.
The four universities, their surrounding communities, and their state
governments have incurred significant costs in preparing for the four
debates. They cannot wait any longer for confirmation that these
historic events will go forward as planned. Please contact us upon your
receipt of this letter to schedule a planning meeting.
Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr.
Paul G. Kirk, Jr.
cc: Mary Beth Cahill
Ken Mehlman, Marc Racicot, Karl Rove