New Orleans hasn’t recovered enough from Hurricane Katrina to host a presidential debate next year, officials said yesterday, shooting down a bid that had drawn support from seven candidates. State officials angrily disputed the decision. “They missed an opportunity to help America,” the president of Xavier University, the prospective debate location, told the Times-Picayune.
“There were better bids,” said a member of the commission that selects debate sites. “That is clearly untrue,” said one critic. “New Orleans met or exceeded every criterion.” The panel said the Big Easy fell short on broadcast logistics and questioned whether it could afford to pay police overtime. City officials countered by pointing to bigger upcoming events, including the NBA All-Star Game.