Gertrude C. Ford Center at Ole Miss in 2008 (Source: WLBT)
Candidates shake hands in Oxford in 2008 (Source: WLBT)
Debate in Oxford in 2008 (Source: WLBT)
Media assembled to cover debate in Oxford in 2008 (Source: WLBT)
FLASHBACK to SEPTEMBER 26, 2008: Eight years ago today, the country was preparing for another first-of-the-season presidential debate -- in Mississippi. The first debate between John McCain and Barack Obama was broadcast live from the Gertrude C. Ford Center on the Ole Miss campus in Oxford. The debate was moderated by Jim Lehrer of PBS.
In addition to giving the country its first look at the candidates discussing the issues head-to-head, it was a really big deal for Oxford and Ole Miss, which hosted journalists from around the world, along with dignitaries and campaign support personnel from across the United States. For students and professors, it was a unique learning experience for aspiring journalists, writers and politicians.
Obama, then a Democratic senator from Illinois, ultimately defeated McCain, then and now a Republican senator from Arizona.