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Eye On Olympia

WSU: Veep, schmeep…

S-R reporter Tom Clouse reports today that Washington State University was offered the chance to host the 2008 vice presidential debate in Spokane.

…And said no.

WSU had been hitting up corporate donors to cover the $1.35 million cost of a presidential debate, in anticipation of “the opportunity it would have provided to showcase WSU and our region on a national and international stage,” as Michael Tate, the school’s Vice President of the Division of Student Affairs, Equity and Diversity said Monday.

But the No. 2? Not so much, apparently.

This on Tuesday from the delighted-sounding understudy, St. Louis:

“Anytime St. Louis is put before national and international viewership, it’s great,” (convention commission spokeswoman Donna) Andrews said. “Where we get the benefit is from the … media coming in to cover the debate. We hope they make a long weekend around it.”

Andrews said she was surprised Spokane officials turned the event down.

“We don’t know the factors that went into that,” Andrews said. “Spokane turned it down, great. St. Louis will take that business.”

Said Harry Sladich, director of the Spokane Area Convention and Visitors Bureau:

“I’ll bet the cities who hosted the vice presidential debates didn’t have near the impact,” he said. “We would rather save ourselves for another day when we can get a presidential debate.”

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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