PATSY R. BRUMFIELD: Debate brings recollection of UM event

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

Is anybody out there old enough to remember Broderick Crawford in the TV series “Highway Patrol?”
I thought of him as I wrote a note at the top of this column, due for publication Oct. 4 or in short-hand, 10/4.
Crawford, a burly, brusk-talking man, taught us all about “10/4” back in the day. He’d be talking like crazy over the highway patrol’s car radio and as soon as he was done, he’d indicate so by saying abruptly, “10/4.”
With only that experience with tough-guy Crawford, I was amazed to learn years later that he actually won an Oscar for his performance in the lead to the movie, “All the King’s Men.”
As for performances, I trust many of you tuned in for the first in a series of presidential debates last night.
Four years ago, I enjoyed a back-stage role for the presidential debate hosted at the University of Mississippi. While the big, network folks covered the Obama-McCain matchup in the Ford Center not far away, I wandered around and inside a massive media facility erected temporarily beside the Ford Center and took photos and posted blogs for our website.
I was especially impressed with the very attractive restroom facilities provided to media, who often get the short-shrift when it comes to comfort on the campaign trails. And then there were all kinds of political and media celebrities showing off, even eating barbecue and drinking beer while sitting on the curb outside the media center next to a very well equipped food tent.
I don’t know what last night’s debate media or food facilities looked like, but they could not have been any better than the show Ole Miss hosted four years ago.
The subsequent favorable publicity for Mississippi, the university and Oxford was staggering. Hosting such an event has a big pay-off, if you can just look past its remarkable initial pay-out.
Some months ago, I asked Chancellor Dan Jones if Ole Miss planned to compete to host another presidential debate. His answer was a practical, pragmatic one: No, why mess up a good thing.
In my own preparation for the Nov. 6 election, I voted absentee at the Lee County circuit clerk’s office. In this business, there’s no telling where I’ll be on election day.
Clerks’ offices across the state will be open the next several Saturdays until noon, as well as during regular week-day hours, to allow you to vote absentee if you qualify.
Of course, if you’re not registered to vote or if you’ve moved since your previous ballot-casting, Saturday is your last day to do that before the presidential election.
Don’t know about you, but I get a real thrill every time I mark my ballot.
Mississippi is hardly a presidential battleground state these days, but perhaps I’ll make a difference down ballot.
That’s a big ole 10/4!

Patsy R. Brumfield writes a Thursday column. Contact her at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com.