Drexel campus will be setting for Democratic debate Oct. 30

The Philadelphia Democratic presidential debate, scheduled for 9 to 11 p.m. on Oct. 30, will take place at Drexel University.

The event, part of a six-debate series sanctioned by the national Democratic Party, is to be televised by MSNBC. Brian Williams, anchor of NBC Nightly News, will moderate.

In a statement issued yesterday, university president Constantine Papadakis said that hosting the debate was "an excellent expression of Drexel's mission of education, public service and civic engagement."

Drexel officials said their expectation was that the debate would be held in the Main Building Auditorium at 32d and Chestnut streets.

There was no information about how many seats, if any, will be available to the general public and how they might be distributed.

Philadelphia lawyer Mark Aronchick, the Pennsylvania finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee, said that Gov. Rendell planned to attend the event and had invited the Democratic governors of nearby states to join him.

Prior to the debate, there is to be a reception to raise money for the national party. All eight of the Democratic presidential candidates are to be invited to the reception.

The Philadelphia debate is one of a series of six party-sanctioned forums for the candidates. The last one was at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., Wednesday night. The one after Philadelphia is scheduled for Las Vegas on Nov. 15.

This debate series has taken on added significance now that one of the candidates, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, has announced that these are the only ones in which he plans to participate.

Also expected at Drexel are Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

No announcements have been made as yet concerning any public availability of tickets for the event.

Contact senior writer Larry Eichel at 215-854-2415 or leichel@phillynews.com.