CNN/YouTube Debate to Broadcast Live From St. Petersburg

U.S. Presidential Candidates Bring International Spotlight to Pinellas

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

St. Petersburg/Clearwater, FL (November 27, 2007) – St. Petersburg’s Mahaffey Theater will be the focus of international attention tomorrow night as the field of Republican presidential hopefuls takes the stage for the second CNN/YouTube debate. 

The broadcast, which will be carried live on CNN, will feature candidates responding to pre-taped questions submitted by voters via YouTube, the popular video-sharing website. 

—This is an extraordinary opportunity for us to show the world what our area has to offer,” said DT Minich, Executive Director of Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater, —both as a tourist destination and as a host for events of this magnitude.”

Security around the downtown area has been tight this week as the city prepares for the arrival of eight GOP presidential candidates and their entourages, as well as television production crews and hundreds of journalists from around the globe.

Commissioner Ronnie Duncan, Chairman of Pinellas’ Board of County Commissioners, believes the event is particularly significant as the country gears up for the 2008 presidential election. 

—To have so many high-profile politicians as well as extensive international media in town at one time is both a rare opportunity and an honor for us,” he said, —especially in the midst of what is shaping up to be a very close primary race.”

The 2-hour broadcast, which starts at 8 PM EST, will be moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper. The Democratic CNN/YouTube debate, which was held in Charleston, South Carolina earlier this year, drew an estimated 2.6 million viewers. Wednesday night’s is expected to draw significantly more. 

YouTube parent company Google will host an invite-only post-debate party at St. Petersburg’s historic Coliseum Ballroom. An open-to-the-public BBQ Kickoff Party will start at 4 PM in downtown St. Petersburg’s Vinoy Park, where candidates are scheduled to appear beforehand and the debate will be broadcast on big screen televisions. 

Mahaffey Theater was also the scene of the vice-presidential debate between Al Gore and Jack Kemp in 1996.

Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater is the official destination marketing organization for Pinellas County. 

For more information:
Contact: PR Director David Downing:
Phone: 727.464.7213