Presidential Debate Transcript

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(APPLAUSE)

Thank you very much, and it's been great to be your partner in this. But I want to also send a special word to Paul Kirk, my former boss, someone who led this commission extraordinarily well. And it is a daunting challenge to follow in his incredible footsteps.

I also want to start by just saying we really have had a great time at the University of Denver, and I hope you have been, too. They are just incredible as partners and we could not have had a better facility, a better team to work with. So to the entire university community and all the folks at the University of Denver who have helped us, thank you very much on behalf of the commission.

(APPLAUSE)

There are a number of other organizations that have been absolutely key to us in helping put this on, make it a working space, and make it an enjoyable place for those who come here to participate in this debate. I want to start with Anheiser-Busch, who's been our partner since 1992. Thank you.

Southwest Airlines, which has helped us transport things around the country so all four of these debates can go off in a timely way; the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Sheldon S. Cohen, Crowell and Moring, the International Bottled Water Association, the Kovler Fund and many, many others. Please give those sponsors and the folks who help us a big hand.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, a little bit of information about how we put this broadcast on. You'll see so many cameras around you. They represent the major network organizations that together pool their resources so that we can bring this broadcast to the American people. And I want to spend a little bit of time tonight paying a special tribute to ABC News. It was their turn tonight to work with us, and all of the sound equipment and cameras that you see here are theirs.

ABC, thank you for doing a tremendous job for us.

(APPLAUSE)

And last and certainly not least, our friends at C-SPAN. This part of this debate program is being carried to the American people by C-SPAN so that my mother can see it. And so for our friends at C- SPAN, thank you very much for carrying this part of the debate to the American people.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, I want to -- I also just want to add to what Frank said about the importance of turning your cell phones off now. Pretend you just got on the plane and they just said the door is closed and everything with an on and off button has to go off now. So just check and make sure that it's off. And just contemplate the pleasure -- the sheer bliss of having 90 minutes that you don't have to text, tweet, or read an e-mail. Wouldn't that be nice?

(APPLAUSE)

And also -- and also, as Frank said, very important that we do respect the television audience watching this debate and make sure that we refrain from interrupting what the candidates need to do and what the American people need to do as they hear the candidates, by disturbing this important occasion with applause or any other outward demonstration.

That's it for us, but lastly for me, the greatest pleasure of all -- I've mentioned what a great partnership we've had with the University of Denver. And it's a great pleasure for me to introduce now a great friend of the commission, someone who's worked very closely and very well with us, the chancellor of the University of Denver, Robert Coombe.

(APPLAUSE)

COOMBE: On behalf of the entire University of Denver community -- students, faculty and staff members, alumni throughout the world, welcome -- welcome to the University of Denver.

It is a remarkable time, a critical time for our country and really for all the world. And it's very pleasing for us at D.U. to play even a small role in such an event that is so important for so many people worldwide.

This is just one of the ways that we live up to our vision to be a great private university, dedicated to the public good. We're very proud to be a resource for people worldwide who -- who thirst for knowledge and who seek creative solutions to the great issues of our time. Some of those folks who thirst for knowledge are our students. And a number of them are present in this debate hall this evening. They're the lucky few who got tickets to this event out of the lottery that we ran for the last few months. Many, many more -- many, many more, though, participated in a series of events starting this past January and, really, running up to the first part of this week, in total 115 different debate-related events that were attended by more than 25,000 people in total.

Our students have been with us all the way on this. They have played an amazing part in staging the entire thing, from planning to logistics. And so I'd simply like to say thank you to you, Pioneers.

(APPLAUSE)

For those of us who -- who make our lives here at the University of Denver, those of us who study and teach and do research, and, really, all of us in the Denver community, this is a particularly important event. It's the first presidential debate to be held in our city, the first in the state, and, really, only one of a few in the West.

Over the last several months, the nation has paid particular attention to how we view things in this remarkably beautiful and diverse part of the country, because Colorado is a -- is a pivotal state in this election. And while I certainly would not offer any -- any opinions in that regard, I would simply say that, as a people, we are generally well-educated and engaged. We are fair-minded and open to new ideas. And like everybody in our country, we are eager to hear from our candidates.

Once again, thanks so much for being here. It's a great pleasure to host this debate.

(APPLAUSE)

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