WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Congressional Black Caucus Political Education & Leadership Institute will announce Monday that its Democratic Presidential Debate will be held January 21, the nationally recognized holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.
The event will be broadcast live from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, by CNN, CNN International, CNN Radio, and the network’s other platforms.
“It is fitting this final South Carolina Democratic Presidential debate will take place on the day South Carolina and the nation honor Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-South Carolina. “South Carolina’s primary will be the first test of the candidates in a state where nearly half of the Democratic primary voters could be African Americans.”
The debate will be held in the evening at the Palace Theater – five days before South Carolina Democrats are expected to hold their primary.
“What better tribute to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. than to host such an important educational event on the day we celebrate his birthday,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, who serves as chair of the CBC Institute. “This debate truly reflects Dr. King’s dreams and ideals.”
The Democratic National Committee designated South Carolina as one of only four states that would be allowed to hold a presidential nominating contest before February 5, 2008. South Carolina is scheduled to holds it’s primary January 29, but has asked the DNC to move the date to January 26. The DNC is expected to approve this request soon.
South Carolina Democrats decided to move its nominating contest three days earlier because Florida is disregarding DNC rules and will hold its presidential primary January 29. Even though the DNC has stripped the Florida Democratic Party of its delegates, the South Carolina Democratic Party wanted to make sure its primary was not overshadowed by the contest in the Sunshine State. The Republican National Committee has also penalized the Republican Party of Florida half of its delegates for disobeying its own February 5 rule for holding the GOP presidential primary January 29.
While official invitations have not been issued, two of the Democratic frontrunners, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, have made previous statements committing to attend the CBC Institute debate.
- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston