Candidates for the Republican presidential nomination will debate at the site of the National Republican Convention in Tampa, the first major debate following the early primary states voting, the St. Petersburg Times reported Tuesday
The newspaper, NBC News, National Journal, and the Florida Council of 100 announced Monday that they will co-sponsor the debate early next year. It's the first time presidential primary candidates will debate in the arena where one will return to accept the nomination.
"Florida will be at the center of next year's presidential election, and this is the state where national issues like the economy and health care loom especially large," said Paul Tash, chairman and chief executive officer of the newspaper. "Our debate will be a telling preview of the presidential campaign and the Republican convention, right back here at the St. Pete Times Forum."
Organizers called the next election a pivotal moment in the nation’s history.
"The 2012 election will be a turning point for our state and nation," said Steven Halverson, council chairman. "Floridians' economic well-being and quality of life are at stake, and the council is privileged to play a part in the discussion of vital issues that we ourselves have been addressing for the past 50 years."
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