Ole Miss Official Says Debate Cancellation Would be ‘Devastating’

Sep 24, 2008 12:14pm

ABC News’ Tahman Bradley Reports: A senior University of Mississippi official reacted Wednesday to the news that Sen. John McCain R-Ariz., wants to postpone Friday’s presidential debate, saying that such a move would be "devastating" for the university which has already invested millions in preparation for the debate.

Andrew Mullins, special assistant to university Chancellor Robert Khayat, told ABC News that the Ole Miss campus has been transformed to accommodate the candidates and the press. Road blocks are in place on campus and in the community and the debate television set for the candidates has already been constructed. He said the university has spent roughly five and half million dollars getting ready for the debate.

Mullins also noted that if the Commission on Presidential Debates asks the campus to hold the debate at a later date, he is not sure the university would be able to accommodate them.

"It’s huge. You cannot just say that you’re not going to do this thing," Mullins said. "I don’t have any idea whether we do the debate" at a later date. "(We) probably wouldn’t do it."

For now, Mullins, says the university is proceeding like they’re still having the debate until the commission makes a decision. The university was instructed by the commission on Wednesday to move forward as though the debate is still going to happen, Mullins said.

Sen. McCain, who suspended his campaign activity Wednesday, called for the debate to be postponed so that he could focus on the current economic crisis. 

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