Special Report: Politics and Debates On Campus

TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 26, 2010) – The political debates are over, the CNN rolling production bus is gone and mid-term elections are just days away after a remarkable weekend that featured the University of South Florida as the venue for two nationally televised debates attended by hundreds of students, faculty and visitors.


On Sunday, Oct. 24, U.S. Senate hopefuls – Charlie Crist, Marco Rubio and Kendrick Meek - squared off on CNN in a debate moderated by CNN political correspondent Candy Crowley. On Monday, Oct. 25, candidates for Florida governor Alex Sink and Rick Scott appeared on CNN in a debate moderated by John King, CNN’s chief national correspondent.


The debates were co-sponsored by USF, CNN and the St. Petersburg Times.


The USF News Team provided ongoing, multimedia coverage of the events, including reports by graduate journalism students in the School of Mass Communications, who took a unique look at how local and national media covered the debates.


This special report page provides links to all stories, photos, blogs and video. Email any comments or suggestions on this coverage to the USF.edu Digital News Editor.


Complete Coverage:


Monday, Oct. 25, 2010: Candidates Clash in Gubernatorial Debate. USF students watching the debate had hoped for more substantive discourse from candidates Alex Sink and Rick Scott.


Monday, Oct. 25, 2010: Protesters Oppose New Immigration Laws. Before the Florida Gubernatorial Debate on CNN, protesters opposed to any proposed new immigration laws similar to Arizona gathered outside the USF Marshall Student Center.


Monday, Oct. 25, 2010: The Spin Zone: What Is It? This video explores the concept of the “spin zone” in political campaigns and how it was used for the political debates at USF.


Monday, Oct. 25, 2010: Media Can Do Better Telling Campaign Story. USF students watching the political debates on campus ask the media to look at the positive, not just negative.


Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010: Photo Gallery on the Media. View the slideshow about media happens at the U.S. Senate debate.


Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010: U.S. Senate Debate Leaves Some Wanting, Others Deciding. Hundreds turn out at USF to listen to the three top candidates discuss the issues.


Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010: Student Turnout Low for Sunday Morning Debate. The debate for U.S. Senate receives overall good grades, calls for more traditional format.

Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010: Media Turns Out for U.S. Senate Debate. Coverage of live event at the Tampa campus of USF is a challenge that results in some improvisations.


Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010: Snitker Snickers at Lack of Media Coverage. The Libertarian candidate has been excluded from many mainstream media debates.


Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010: Blogging The Debates. USF graduate journalism student Ken Rosenberg blogs about the media coverage of the political debates at USF.


Friday, Oct. 22, 2010: CNN Through the Lens. CNN sets up shop at the University of South Florida for the political debates. View the photo gallery.


Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010: USF Student Straw Poll Shows Conservative Shift. The poll results show students concerned about the economy, jobs.


Prepping for Debate and Election:


Political Spotlight and Theater Comes to USF. The U.S. Senate and Florida Gubernatorial Debates on Sunday and Monday will shift political focus to the Tampa campus. From “Watch Parties” to “spin zones” to bloggers, catch all the action.


Student Straw Poll Preview. Read the advance story about the Student Straw Poll, which will take place Thursday, Oct. 21.


Susan MacManus Q & A. The USF Distinguished Professor provides her insights to Florida’s political landscape and why the state color just may be “purple.” She discusses tips on watching debates and what to look for; how the economy is impacting politics and looks at who to watch in 2012. A must read.




Meet the candidates. See who will take the stage in the U.S. Senate and Florida Gubernatorial debates and get links to their websites.


Find Out About the Debate “Watch Parties.” USF is inviting the Tampa Bay community to visit campus and watch the debates in the Marshall Student Center. The “Watch Parties” will be moderated and food will be available.

Hillsborough County Election Information. Find out where you vote, view a sample ballot and review some “fun facts” about voters in Hillsborough County.

Covering The Coverage:


Covering the Coverage Student bios. Meet the USF graduate journalism students who will be covering the debates on campus. They will be turning their cameras and notebooks on the media covering the debates, providing a behind the scene look at how the media does its job.





USF Political Watch Blog. This blog will provide some snippets of information throughout the week leading up to the student straw poll and debates. Some of the sights and sounds around campus.


Blogging the Debates. Follow what’s happening during the debates with Ken Rosenberg, a USF graduate journalism student. Ken will provide a running commentary beginning Sunday morning, providing you an inside look at the goings-on around the Marshall Student Center. A number of national and local media are expected to attend, and "spin zones" will be set up in the Marshall Student Center.







Participate in our Online Poll. Select candidates for both the U.S. Senate race and Florida Governor race.