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SG courting presidential candidates for forum

Student Government will hold a presidential forum March 3 in the Special Events Center. The event will bring Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kuncinich, and, depending on the outcome of March 2 Super Tuesday primaries, other candidates as well.

Student body president Omar Khan said Tuesday night that he has extended invitations to all candidates, including the newest, Ralph Nader, and the incumbent, George W. Bush.

While getting all the candidates together on that one date is probably unrealistic, Khan conceded, an appearance from Democratic frontrunners John Kerry and John Edwards could make sense, pending the results of the primaries the day before the scheduled forum.

Kerry can mathematically win the nomination with a sweep Tuesday, rendering the forum meaningless. But if he doesn’t and Edwards is still in the race, a pit stop in Tampa four days before Florida’s March 7 primary makes perfect political sense, Khan said.

“That’s exactly why I did it (when I did),” Khan said.

And if Edwards commits, he thinks it is likely Kerry will follow suit.

Had more candidates committed earlier, Khan said he would have rented out the Sun Dome at a cost of $7,000. And while he wasn’t aware of specific costs involved with putting the forum on in the SEC, he said it would cost no more than $1,000.

Aside from providing audio/visual equipment, possible extra security measures and refreshments, there aren’t many other costs involved, he said. The building is free for use.

The event is being sponsored by SG and co-sponsored by the Florida Student Association. It will be free to the public, but students will get advanced seating, Khan said.

And even if Super Tuesday proves to be a super let down for Edwards and the excitement over the forum at USF fizzles, Khan said the event will still be big for USF.

“If one person running for president comes to USF, that’s huge for me,” he said.