Let the hyperbole fly: Depending on whom you ask, the presidential debate coming to town this Wednesday is either the biggest event of the election season, the biggest-ever boon to the University of Denver's place in the national spotlight, or the biggest political anything to happen in Denver since the Democratic National Convention four years ago. Or maybe it's a combination of all three: Take your pick. And that's just the beginning. Here's our top ten list of signs the debate is coming to town. 10. DU looks increasingly like a police state. Nothing says freedom and liberty like the erection of eight-foot high fences in front of the University of Denver's campus. While presidential security is no joke, the draconian measures being employed to keep the public out seems a little intimidating. 9. My archaeology class got canceled because of the Secret Service. Here's something you don't expect to hear your professor say: We may or may not be meeting on Tuesday because the Secret Service may or may not be commandeering the building. Yet that's exactly what happened last Thursday, during a discussion in my Historic Archaeology class. Granted, it is the day before the debate, and the entire campus -- that's right, every single building -- will be on lockdown as of Wednesday. Continue for more of our ten signs the presidential debate is coming to town. 8. Traffic on I-25 will be especially sucky. When a sitting president comes to town, it's common practice for the roads he/she travels to be closed. That'll be the case come Wednesday, when you can expect a stretch of I-25 near DU to be shut down for hours. It'll be worse traffic than West Colfax right after a Broncos game. 7. Bicyclists (for one day anyway) will rule the streets of south Denver. Because auto traffic around campus will effectively be halted the day of the debate, B-cycle is offering free bike rentals. If that's not incentive to ditch your car, I don't know what is.
Continue for more of our ten signs the presidential debate is coming to town. 6. The voter registration folks are out in numbers.
The Obama for America kids (and they are mostly under thirty) have been out in force lately, but they're not the only ones registering the citizenry to vote. Nonpartisan groups and Romney supporters have also been trolling the campus and throughout Denver in general.In a state with only nine electoral votes
, you'd be forgiven for thinking the entire election depended on us. And who knows? Come election night, maybe it will.
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5. Denver's been getting way more national media attention lately. Do you know about Google News Alerts? It's an awesome toy, especially for those of you who have smart phones. Put in a search term and Google will automatically surf news sites for mention of those words. Google does the Googling for you. Out of ten news stories related to the "University of Denver" search term on my phone, eight out of ten relate to the debates, and all are from big mainstream media outlets. Same thing with the "Denver" search term -- it's all either Broncos or debate stuff. Continue for more of our ten signs the presidential debate is coming to town. 4. DU's getting blinged-out. The University of Denver spent an estimated $1.6 million on renovations and upgrades in preparation for the debate on Wednesday. $1.6 million. Do you have any idea what that kind of money buys, other than some serious sprucing up of an already immaculate campus? Here's a mini-list of what else $1.6 million will do for your life:
- a It could buy you a swank house in Charlotte belonging to Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.
- It can get you an extremely rare dime from 1873.
- It will purchase a dusty, abandoned Ferrari in Dubai.
3. The Occupy folks are getting restless. For those of you who had more or less forgotten about the Occupy Denver movement after its supporters were kicked out of Civic Center Park months ago, be aware: They are back. Occupy the Debates was held last weekend on its old home turf, between the State Capitol and City Hall. Continue for more of our ten signs the presidential debate is coming to town. 2. The debate ticket scams. The moment DU announced last year that it would be hosting the first of three presidential debates, the obvious question was: How do you get tickets? The answer is, sadly, you can't. "Tickets," per se, don't exist. Admission to the debate is by invite only, and even at that, only a couple hundred are available to the public. That hasn't stopped shady Craigslist trolls from attempting to make a buck (or $250) off the debates. Go to the popular virtual-garage sale website and you'll find plenty of offers. 1. The parties.... Oh, the parties. Locally, numerous bars (especially near DU, naturally) are hosting debate watching parties. Somewhere, someone's already devising a drinking game based on how many times Obama or Romney mention keywords that serve as talking points ("two shots for every time Romney references 'tax reform'!") Nationwide, the Obama campaign is hosting more than 3,000 debate watching parties on Wednesday. That means literally thousands of political junkies getting lit and maybe getting laid on a night not normally considered to be prime party time. Nothing says "Let's get shitfaced and make out" like two rich guys arguing over domestic policy. Right?
More from our Politics archive: "Scott Gessler office's latest glitch: 800 voters who recently registered may not be."