IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Invites go out for Science Debate

The four top presidential candidates - Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the Democrats, Mike Huckabee and John McCain for the Republicans - have been invited to discuss science and technology issues at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia on April 18, according to the organizers of Science Debate 2008. If the event actually occurs, it would take place four days before Pennsylvania's presidential primary.

The effort to put science and technology in the campaign spotlight has some high-powered boosters - most recently Intel Chairman Craig Barrett, who said in a statement today that "the future economic success of the United States depends on outperforming the competition with smart people and smart ideas."

However, it's debatable whether the event will actually get off the ground. The candidates have to calculate the risks vs. benefits of discussing science - particularly in mid-April, when the nomination may (or, admittedly, may not) be decided.

There's not yet been any word from any of the campaigns about whether anyone has accepted the invitation. The Science Debate organizers say they'd go ahead with the "debate" even if just one candidate showed up. By the way, GOP hopeful Ron Paul hasn't been invited because his support hasn't risen to the 15 percent level.

Check out this report from Business Week for more about Science Debate 2008, and click into's Politics section for the latest on the campaign. If I hear anything new about the status of the RSVPs, I'll update this item.