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Wednesday, February 07, 2007
CNN and Nevada Democrats to host November debate
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Exactly one year before voters head to the polls to choose the next president, CNN and the Nevada Democratic Party will host a Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, the network and the state party announced Wednesday.

CNN will serve as the exclusive national broadcaster for the November 4 debate that will be held at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

"I am happy that CNN recognizes the importance of Nevada as it prepares to play a key role in selecting the 2008 Democratic nominee," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) said in a joint statement released by CNN and the Nevada Democratic Party. "As I have said before, a candidate who can win in Nevada can capture the West and win the White House. As our partner in the November debate, CNN will highlight the issues that are important to the Western voters who hold the key to victory in 2008. I look forward to welcoming all the presidential candidates to Las Vegas for this pivotal debate."

Nevada will wield considerable influence in helping to select the next Democratic nominee for president. The Democratic National Committee approved a primary/caucus schedule that has the Nevada caucuses being held between the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.

"The Nevada Democratic Presidential Debate represents a significant addition to our extensive coverage plans for the upcoming presidential campaign," said Jon Klein, president of CNN/U.S. "This debate puts CNN at the forefront of coverage in this important battleground state, whose citizens will play a critical, early role in the selection of the Democratic nominee."

This is the third presidential debate CNN has announced it will host in the 2008 race for the White House. CNN has teamed up with WMUR-TV and the New Hampshire Union Leader to host "First in the Nation: Presidential Primary Debates" on April 4 and 5. Republicans will take the stage the first night, while Democrats will debate on the second night at Saint Anselm College in Manchester.

The Nevada debate is not only expected to focus on such pressing national issues as Iraq and the war on terror, but also issues of importance to the western part of the country such as immigration, explosive population growth and water and public land issues. Democrats also believe the West has become a political battleground and the key to the party's efforts to win back the White House in 2008.

"Democrats believe that the future of our party lies in the West," said Tom Collins, chairman of the Nevada State Democratic Party. "A Democrat who is well versed in Western issues, and can appeal to Nevada's diverse population and strong labor constituency, will capture the states we need to win to take back the White House.

"Nevada Democrats are glad to work with CNN to help highlight the issues important to our region and our nation," Collins added.

-- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston
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