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Kucinich campaign comes to campus

It’s not as “presidential” as he would have liked, but student body president Omar Khan still hopes students will turn up at tonight’s forum in the Special Events Center, featuring Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich.

Kucinich will make an address at 7 — the event is free to the public — and then will open up the floor for a question and answer session.

Khan began planning the event in January, thinking the timing perfect — the Florida primary is Tuesday. And with Tampa being one of the nation’s top media markets, the event seemed to make sense.

Initially, Khan, who invited all the candidates for the presidential election — including newcomer Ralph Nader and incumbent George W. Bush, both who have both spoken on campus in recent years — but only received confirmation from Kucinich.

Later, John Kerry’s campaign showed interest, as the Massachusetts senator was to be stumping in Ybor City Tuesday night, but when those plans fell through — and with no definitive word from John Edwards’ campaign — the presidential forum was left with just Kucinich.

Both Kerry, who will be in Orlando today, and Edwards, Khan said, expressed interest in coming back to USF at a later date. But reports late last night indicated that Edwards was dropping out of the race.

Khan said that because the event is sponsored by Student Government, students will receive priority seating for the event tonight. Students with valid USF ID cards will be admitted before 6:30, while the rest of the public won’t be admitted until after.

Kucinich, an Ohio Congressman, was elected mayor of Cleveland in 1977 at the age of 31, the nation’s youngest mayor at the time. Since then, Kucinich — a self-proclaimed vegan — has been a champion of environmental rights, and last year, he was the recipient of The Gandhi Peace Award.