ABC lands Democratic debate


For a while there it seemed there were so many debates by the presidential candidates that it amounted to sensory overload. But now there’s been a lull. ABC News has landed the next big debate as Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Barack Obama (D-IL) go head-to-head April 16th in Philadelphia, ahead of the April 22nd Pennsylvania primaries.

ABC News, O&O WPVI-TV and the National Constitution Center will host the live debate, which will be moderated by ABC News anchors Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. It is to air 8:00-10:00 pm ET/PT on the ABC Television Network. "Coming just days before the critical Pennsylvania primary, the debate will give voters across the state and throughout the country an opportunity to hear the candidates talk in depth about the important issues facing the nation," said ABC News President David Westin. The network notes its slogan “More Americans get their news from ABC News than any other source” to promote its heavy coverage plans for its TV, radio and Internet platforms.

There’s no need for a Republican debate before the Pennsylvania primary, since Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has the GOP nomination sewed up and couldn’t really debate himself. He’s been traveling overseas to demonstrate his experience in foreign affairs.

RBR/TVBR observation: Pennsylvania radio and TV stations have been getting a boost in political advertising from the importance of the Keystone State and its 158 delegates to the Democratic National Convention being selected in the April 16th primary. The Obama campaign has been using radio heavily to bring out new voters – both those who have never voted before and those switching from Republican or independent to vote in the Democratic primary.