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The GW Hatchet


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The GW Hatchet

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Obama, Clinton and Edwards to speak at Lisner on June 4

Lisner Auditorium will host three presidential candidates in a religious-based forum next month.

Sojourners, a non-profit organization and magazine based in Washington that promotes Christian values, is organizing the form which will feature Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. About 300 tickets will be made available free for the GW community.

Soledad O’Brien will moderate the event, which will be broadcast live on CNN at 7 p.m. June 4, according to a CNN release.

The release states that the forum, called “Pentecost 2007,” will center on “faith, values and politics.” Jack Pannell, Sojourners’ press secretary, said Pentecost is an annual conference in the District that emphasizes faith-based issues in politics and poverty. Obama and Clinton also spoke at last year’s conference, he said.

The event will be structured in a question and answer format, and will be less formal than debates held after the primary election.

“It will be an intimate conversation with a very unique format that you haven’t seen to date,” Pannell said.

He added that several “religious leaders” will ask questions during the event, though anyone can submit questions through the Sojourners’ Web site.

The organization contacted the three candidates in late- February, and received final confirmations two months later. Pannell said GW provided the most appropriate venue and atmosphere.

“We looked at every large setting that can fit over 1,000 people, and it turned out that Lisner was the best place for that,” Pannell said. “(GW) was extremely welcoming to us about our proposal – not every institution in town was.”

Tracy Schario, director of Media Relations, said that Sojourners approached GW about a month ago to provide space for the forum.

“From the very first conversation with Sojourners we’ve been very excited to see that this comes to GW,” Schario said. “This is a GW sweet spot. It’s a no-brainer when someone comes to us with this type of opportunity.”

Many people attending and organizing the forum will be housed in Potomac House, said Seth Weinshel, assignments director of GW Housing Programs. He said GW often provides temporary housing for non-profit organizations, and has housed Sojourners in the past.

Pannell said he hopes that GW students participate in the forum.

“We certainly think this is an education event for all citizens but particularly for GW, which is focused on politics and a critical part of the Washington community,” Pannell said.

Pannell said that they will hold a Republican forum similar to Pentecost in Iowa next fall.

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