Governor Haley Barbour

“This is a great honor not only for Ole Miss, but also for the State of Mississippi. As Governor I appreciate the recognition the Commission on Presidential Debates has given the University and our state. We’ll make them proud they chose us.”

Senator Trent Lott

“Since 1968, no candidate has captured the Oval Office without winning the South. The University of Mississippi, our state’s first public university, is honored by its selection to host the first of these three prestigious debates.

“This selection is a testament to Chancellor Robert Khayat’s leadership and vision for Ole Miss. The University of Mississippi has garnered its fair share of firsts for Mississippi, and this is another accomplishment of which all Mississippians are proud.

“Ole Miss and Oxford is an ideal location for candidates to interact with a cross-section of students and citizens often overlooked by America’s media markets.”

“During my time in Congress, I’ve made it a point to bring both national and international leaders to Mississippi. By bringing this debate to Mississippi we’re not only continuing this tradition, but taking it a step further by showcasing all of these very capable, qualified candidates on a single stage for Mississippians and the entire nation to see.

“The selection of Mississippi highlights our strong recovery from Hurricane Katrina and the importance we, and other rural states, hold in America’s political system. The debates might be the first visit many make to Mississippi, but I am confident it will not be their last.”

Wayne Dowdy

Wayne Dowdy, chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party, issued the following statement in response to the Commission on Presidential Debates naming the University of Mississippi in Oxford as site of the first presidential debate on Friday, Sept. 26.

“The road to the White House no doubt runs through the South. Having the first presidential debate of the year Sept. 26 on the campus of the University of Mississippi clearly shows that the South – and Mississippi – will play an important role in choosing the next president.

“This also gives our Democratic Party nominee a chance to show Mississippi, the South and the rest of the nation why he or she must be elected president. Our Democratic Party candidates are the only ones taking important stands that will solve such critical national issues as ending the war in Iraq, strengthening the economy and improving health care.”