MSNBC

MSNBC will telecast its second in a series of live debates with the Democratic candidates for President, Jan. 11, 2004, 8-10 p.m. ET/7-9 p.m. CT, it was announced today by Erik Sorenson, President and General Manager, MSNBC.  The debate, organized by MSNBC and the Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum – a non-partisan minority issues organization co-chaired by Latino Leader Mary Campos and Iowa State Representative Wayne Ford– will focus on where the candidates stand on issues concerning voters of all ethnicities. The debate will be telecast live on MSNBC from Polk County Convention Center in Des Moines.  MSNBC anchor and NBC’s Weekend Today co-host Lester Holt and Telemundo anchor Maria Celeste Arrarás will co-host the forum.

“This is an important opportunity for the Democratic candidates to clarify their positions on issues important to people of color,” Sorenson said.  “MSNBC is proud to co-host this event with Brown-Black, to deliver this forum live to viewers of all backgrounds.”

“I would like to state that the Brown and Black Forum is an accumulation of the hopes and dreams of the Latino population, continuing the legacy of Cesar Chavez,” said Campos. “Latinos are now the number one minority in America. We as Latinos feel that we will be playing a very important role in the future of the government and the policies of the United States.”

“January 19th is the day that we Americans honor Martin Luther King,” said Ford. “I am proud that the Iowa Caucus will be held on the observance of Martin Luther King’s birthday on January 19th. The Brown and Black Democratic Presidential Forum will help educate many Americans regarding the importance of voting.”

Candidates who have already accepted the invitation to debate include: U.S. Amb. Carol Moseley Braun (Ill.), Vermont governor Howard Dean, Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), Rep. Dick Gephardt (Mo.), Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) and Rev. Al Sharpton.

The Iowa Brown-Black Presidential Forum is a nonpartisan group that was founded by Co-Chairs Mary Campos, a prominent member of the Des Moines Latino community and Wayne Ford, a four-term Iowa State Representative, in 1984.  Rep. Ford is also the founder and director of Urban Dreams, a United Way Agency, located in Des Moines, Iowa. This is the fifth Brown-Black debate. MSNBC first telecast the Brown-Black Presidential Forum in 2000, with Democratic candidates Al Gore and Bill Bradley.

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