Lots Of Security And Few Allowed In For First Presidential Debate in Cleveland
Thefirstpresidential debate gets underway in a few hours in Cleveland. Andaround Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic, where it will be held, streets are blocked off,security perimeters are up and Ohio National Guard personnel are helping police control people and traffic.
Those who wanted to be on site had to be tested for COVID-19twice.
There are only about 70 journalists and spectators in the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilionwith the candidates,though hundreds more from around the world will be in the media filing center –withprotestors outside.
Case’s general counsel and chief risk management officerPeterPoulossaid that’ll make it likely the most sparsely attended debate ever.
“But virtually, I'm told they're expecting that it's going to be the largest audience, both nationally and internationally, watching since the Commission [on Presidential Debates] started managing the debate in 1980," Poulos said.
Streets around Case and the Clinic are blocked off and secured, and Ohio National Guard personnel are in vehicles and walking the streets. Gov. Mike DeWine announced last week they'd be there, saying the city of Cleveland had requested the help.
The debate came to Case and the Clinic after Notre Dame University withdrew from hosting it, citing "constraints" related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Clevelandhosted the first Republicanpresidentialcandidatedebate in 2015,drawing thousands to see 17 candidates in two separate debates.
Case hostedthe onlyvice presidentialdebateof the 2004 election year.
Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau