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'The Great Debaters' Silent at White House


Despite nominations for eight NAACP Image Awards and a Golden Globe, movie 'The Great Debaters' will not be seen by White House.

  by Pete Allman, Celebrity Scene News, Las Vegas - January 13th, 2008
Denzel Washington, ‘The Great Debaters’ star and director, and movie’s producer Oprah Winfrey. The accolades and public raves for “The Great Debaters,” starring Denzel Washington, also the director the film, and Forrest Whitaker just keep getting better. Washington is not only one of the finest actors in the business today, but he shows great directorial skills for which he earned eight NAACP Image Award nominations recently.

It’s a sad note when a movie, such as “The Great Debaters,” which was also nominated for a Golden Globe, cannot be screened at the White House because of so-called calendar issues. The unfortunate part about this situation is that it won’t be seen or heard at the White House for President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, a former librarian, because of their schedules, according to a written memo issue by Paris Dennard at the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. According to and other news outlets, the memo says that three White House staffers saw the movie, which is based on an actual debate team of African-American students from Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, beating out a top-ranked university debate team in a national competition.

How ironic this is in light of Laura Bush’s speech in March 2005, delivered at an Atlanta High School for an event called “Helping America’s Youth,” in which she praised urban debate programs.

Among the movies that have been screened recently at the White House are, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” “Charlotte’s Web,” and “Glory Road,” according to the White House website.

Could it be the fact that “The Great Debaters” producer Oprah Winfrey is backing Democratic presidential contender Illinois Sen. Barack Obama instead of a Republican contender?
Pete Allman is a Las Vegas-based commentator, broadcast personality and celebrity interviewer. He also produces inspirational messages for television and other media.
Contact him at or (702) 265-9099.