Janet Brown

Janet Brown, executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates, will lead a discussion Tuesday, April 10, at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics about the merits of holding the high-stakes political confrontation.

The program – the fifth of the spring season at the Overby Center – will begin at 5:30 p.m. Parking is available in the lot adjacent to the Overby auditorium, and a reception will be held following the event. All Overby Center functions are free and open to the public.

Brown, whose grandparents were residents of Como, has been a frequent visitor to the state and was instrumental in bringing the first 2008 debate to the Ole Miss campus. She is currently serving as a guest lecturer for two weeks at the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at Ole Miss. Ten years ago, she was the key force behind the debate between Barack Obama and John McCain.

She will talk about her experiences over the past 30 years as head of the non-partisan commission and her thoughts about the value of presidential debates in a discussion with Charles Overby, chairman of the center, Overby Fellow Curtis Wilkie, who is teaching the Honors College class on presidential debates with Brown, and Tom Oliphant, a former political columnist for the Boston Globe. As journalists, Overby, Wilkie and Oliphant covered many of the debates after they became a regular practice in 1976.

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