Whether you personally attended the first presidential debate at the University of Denver or watched it on television Wednesday night along with 67 million-plus others, no doubt you came away with distinct impressions. Almost everyone we talked to afterwards — Republicans, Unaffiliateds, even diehard Democratic stalwarts — conceded the first debate victory to Mitt Romney.
Our readers aren’t likely to be found in the ‘Undecided’ column — they probably made up their minds about the presidential race months ago. Our subscribers attend their precinct caucuses and many go on to become delegates to county, state and national conventions and assemblies.
I am always astonished to meet someone at this point in the election cycle who claims to be undecided. It’s not as if there aren’t at least two very different candidates in the race who present stark contrasts. What are they waiting for? And if they can’t make up their minds already, do we really want them to play such a pivotal part in choosing our next president? I’m admittedly a little disgruntled that so much focus has been put on these cowering compatriots.
No matter which candidate came out on top in public opinion, the whole week of events leading up to the debate as well as the 90 minute extravaganza itself put Denver in a winning light. The weather cooperated (mostly) and even the blustery cold winds waited until right before the debate began on Wednesday night before overtaking the Indian summer nights earlier in the week. Thousands of visiting out-of-towners got to personally experience our schitzophrenic weather, but there didn’t seem to be too many complaints.
The organizers at the University of Denver should be congratulated for staging such an historic event. But as effortless as it may have seemed, hosting the first presidential debatetook months of planning, preparation and work by scores of students, faculty, staff, alumni and University community members working side-by-side with city, state and federal officials to make it happen seamlessly. We’re told that more than 1,000 guests were in the audience in the Debate Hall at DU, including about 300 University of Denver students, and millions around the world watched on television and on the Internet.
The University sent out some fun facts associated with the first presidential debate which we pass on to our readers.
Debate Day: By The Numbers
1: Presidential Debate at the University of Denver
2: Miles of security fencing
3: Outstanding local bands performing at DebateFest
3.2: Gigawatts needed to back up all technology (enough to power 3,200 homes)
6: Major networks covering the Debate
6: Miles of I-25 closed
7: Percent increase in @uofdenver Twitter followers in one week
8: Months planning and installation with CenturyLink telecommunications timeline
(But… 48 hours: Time for CenturyLink to remove telecommunications)
12: Food trucks at DebateFest
17: Romney surrogate signs spotted in Spin Alley (5 spotted Obama surrogate signs in Spin Alley)
24: Percent increase in Facebook.com/UofDenver “Likes”
30: Booths in “spin alley”
45: Degrees of temperature change during Debate Day (high of 79 at 2 p.m., 61 at debate start, down to 54 at debate finish, 34 at midnight — source: National Weather Service)
50: Booths in Issues Alley in DebateFest
55: Rent-a-Center television sets placed in Hamilton Gym
56: Miles of electric cable laid
109: The number of programs, lectures and events in Debate Event Series from Oct. 31, 2011 to Oct. 3, 2012
300: (give or take) DU students in the Debate Hall
400: Number of University of Denver alumni hosting debate-in-a-box parties (more than 3,300 attendees, from 40 states and five countries outside the U.S. : Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, South Africa and Israel).
650: Individual work stations inside media filing station
700: Foreign journalists (representing 4 countries)
850: (plus or minus) Volunteers to help run the show
1,000: (plus a few more): Seats in the Debate Hall
1,300: Specially installed phone/ethernet ports
3,000: Credentialed media inside the perimeter
5,000: Estimated guests at Debatefest
25,000: Attendees (approximate) at Debate Event Series events between January 2012 and Debate Day
100,000: Feet of CenturyLink wire (enough to wire a small town)
10,300,000: Debate-related tweets during the 90 minutes of the debate
52,400,000: Estimated number of viewers watching in the U.S. (source: Politicker.com)