Party backs GOP nomination debate at OPB in March

Oregon Public Broadcasting will produce and provide to NPR and PBS stations exclusive coverage of a Republican presidential debate from its Portland studios March 19, 2012.

The 90-minute debate “will come at a critical time in the campaign” before anyone sews up the GOP nomination, OPB President Steve Bass predicted in a memo to stations. “Super Tuesday is on March 6, but delegate counts indicate that it will not be possible for the nomination to be won by any candidate by then. Political observers believe that the nomination contest could very likely go into the late spring.”

The Republican National Committee has officially sanctioned the debate, which “virtually assures the participation of the front-running candidates,” Bass said.

OPB is partnering with the Oregon GOP and The Washington Times to present the debate. NPR and PBS will make the program available to member stations live at 6 p.m. Pacific time March 19.

“We believe that this is the first presidential candidate debate that has ever been exclusively available through the nation’s public broadcasting stations (both TV and radio),” Bass said. It also will air internationally through outlets such as the BBC, Voice of America and Armed Forces Radio and TV.

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