John Edwards and Jack Kemp will trade barbs at 2007 Tom McCall Forum

Two men who came close to being a heartbeat away from the presidency will square off in Portland next year, in what could be one of the first-major political forums after this fall's election.

Pacific University announced today that the 2007 Tom McCall Forum will feature John Edwards and Jack Kemp discussing 'Reclaiming the American Dream in a Divided Nation.'

Edwards, a North Carolina Senator, was John Kerry's running mate on the Democratic ticket in 2004.

Kemp, a Republican Congressman from New York, was Bob Dole's vice-presidential choice in the 1996 fall election.

The match up continues Pacific's tradition, started 25 years ago, of staging liberal vs. conservative debates.

Next year's Forum will be held Thursday, March 8, 2007, 8 p.m., at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland.

Organizers say the two men will discuss the growing gap between rich and poor.

'The Declaration of Independence begins with these soaring words of Thomas Jefferson: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness..'' said Russ Dondero, professor emeritus and founder of the Tom McCall Forum. 'In the roaring '90s it appeared that even the poorest among us was beginning to live out that promise. Then came the dotcom bust and with it harder times.

'Despite tax cuts and a stronger economy, there are serious divisions within our nation between the 'haves' and 'have-nots'; between the rich and an increasingly struggling middle class; and between those living in urban and rural America. Many among us are a job loss or catastrophic illness away from being homeless. Will the American dream of a good paying job, home ownership and the safety net - social security to Medicare - be there for future generations?'

Created in 1982 by the students and faculty of Pacific University's Politics and Law Forum, the Tom McCall Forum has become the premier public affairs event in the Northwest, drawing national political figures each year to Portland for a spirited debate between a liberal and a conservative of national interest.

Previous debaters have included Pat Buchanan, Tom Daschle, Howard Dean, Richard Perle, Molly Ivins, William Kristol, Bill Bradley, David Gergen, Ralph Nader, Newt Gingrich, Jesse Jackson, Mario Cuomo, and Dan Quayle.

Tickets for the Forum go on sale Oct. 16 through the Pacific University box office at 503-352-2918 or through Ticketmaster at Prices are $20 or $25.

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