University of Michigan hosting 2020 presidential debate

The Crisler Center on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor will host the second of three presidential debates a few weeks before the 2020 election.
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ANN ARBOR (WJRT) (10/11/2019) - The eyes of the nation will be fixed on the University of Michigan in one year, when it hosts the second of three presidential debates.

The debate between the presidential candidates from both parties will take place on Oct. 15, 2020, in the Crisler Center on U of M's main campus in Ann Arbor, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced on Friday.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the university community to contribute to our democracy, while setting an example of civic engagement and shining a light on the outstanding academic strengths of our institution,” said University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel. “Public service and civic engagement are at the core of our great university and its history.”

The debate will take place just a few weeks before the 2020 presidential election on Nov. 3.

The Crisler Center is best known as home to the Wolverines basketball and gymnastics teams. U of M will set up educational and outreach activities on the athletics campus and other areas nearby around the debate.

The second of the three debates traditionally is a town hall format, but organizers have not confirmed what format the Ann Arbor debate will take.

“For generations, the University of Michigan has led the way in advancing understanding of our nation’s most pressing issues — and next year our students, faculty and staff will have a novel opportunity to enhance this essential quality of our mission at the national level,” Schlissel said.

The first official debate before the 2020 presidential election will happen Sept. 29 at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. The final one will be Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.

The debate at U of M will be the first presidential debate in Michigan since 1992. George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot went head-to-head at Michigan State University's Wharton Center.

MSU says that debate drew one of the largest TV audiences in presidential debate history.

Michigan has hosted other high-profile debates in recent years. Back in 2016, Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders faced off at the Whiting Auditorium in Flint at the height of city's water emergency.

Many questions centered around the city's lead-tainted water, how the crisis was handled by local and state leaders and the candidates' plans to address lead contamination going forward.

Last summer, 20 Democratic candidates poured into downtown Detroit for the party's second presidential primary debate.