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Open Debates, National Press Building, 529 14th St. NW Suite 1201, Washington, DC 20045

Contact: Chris Shaw (202) 628-9195

Washington, DC – Today, the Citizens' Debate Commission announced sites and dates for a series of proposed 2004 general election presidential debates. Six colleges and universities were selected to serve as sites for five presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate:

Capital University, in Columbus, OH on Wednesday, September 22.

Swarthmore College, in Swarthmore, PA on Tuesday, September 28.

Canisius College in Buffalo, NY on Sunday, October 3.

Willamette University in Salem, OR on Thursday, October 7 (Vice-Presidential Debate)

Carleton College in Northfield, MN on Monday, October 11.

Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL on Friday, October 15.

“These are fine academic institutions with great facilities,” stated George Farah, author of No Debate and executive director of Open Debates, which helped form the Citizens' Debate Commission.

“This series of debates is needed because the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates is not primarily concerned with voter education. The nonpartisan Citizens' Debate Commission will sponsor debates which feature formats that are designed to give voters real insight on the presidential candidates,” said John B. Anderson, former U.S. Congressman (R-IL) and former presidential candidate.

“The American people are a diverse people who relish free and open debate on issues they care about. It is time to get Washington insiders out of the debate business, and the Citizens' Debate Commission is working to accomplish just that,” said Pat Buchanan, founder of The American Cause and former presidential candidate.

“When formats prevent informative discussion, and important voices are being stifled, the debates are being conducted in such a way that voters do not leave better informed after watching them than they were before. Voters need to know where candidates stand on the issues,” said Eugene McCarthy, former U.S. Senator (D-MN) and former presidential candidate.

“It's about time somebody challenged the Commission on Presidential Debates and the rigid rules and formats they follow at the behest of the Democratic and Republican parties. One can only hope that Open Debates and the Citizens' Debate Commission will be successful in luring potential candidates to take part in unencumbered and free flowing debate,” concluded Robert Asman, television special events producer and executive producer of the Commission on Presidential Debates' 1996 presidential debates.

The nonpartisan Citizens' Debate Commission is comprised of 17 national civic leaders from the left, center, and right of the political spectrum. It has an Advisory Board consisting of over 50 civic organizations that broadly reflect the composition of the electorate. Operating with full transparency, the Citizens' Debate Commission will reverse declining debate viewership by sponsoring presidential debates that address pressing national issues, feature innovative formats, and include candidates that the American people want to see.

The Citizens' Debate Commission is: John B. Anderson; Angela "Bay" Buchanan, president of The American Cause; Veronica De La Garza, executive director of the Youth Vote Coalition; Norman Dean, executive director of Friends of the Earth; George Farah; Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch; Tom Gerety, executive director of the Brennan Center for Justice; Jehmu Greene, executive director of Rock the Vote; Ambassador Alan Keyes; Jeff Milchen, founder of; Larry Noble, former General Counsel of the Federal Election Commission; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; Chellie Pingree, president of Common Cause; Randall Robinson, author and founder of TransAfrica; Dan Stein, executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform; Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research; Paul Weyrich, chairman of the Free Congress Foundation.