Oxford prepares for spotlight as debate draws near

OXFORD, MS (WMC-TV) - As the small town of Oxford awaits the world's spotlight for Friday's first presidential debate, residents there are getting ready for a chance to shine.

Oxford normally bleeds Ole Miss red and blue, but this week it is all about American red, white, and blue.

Holli Ratcliff, owner of Holli's Sweet Tooth, said she and her employees were prepared for visitors and media from around the world.

"Where to eat, shop...be as helpful as we can," she said.

There is a rumor that Barack Obama likes to visit local ice cream shops when he is in town. Ratcliff said she hopes her shop gets the scoop.

"I know he'll probably be really busy, but maybe if his family or if he has a spare moment he'll come in and we can serve him some ice cream," she said.

As for John McCain, a rumor is says he might visit Rooster's Blues House.

"I've heard the same thing," Rooster's General Manager Tommy Nolan said. "(I) can't confirm or deny it.  No one from his campaign has contacted us or owner."

Despite the lack of contact, Nolan was not ready to write the rumors off.

"You never know. Anything could happen," he said.

Now it is time for Oxford to sit back and watch the show.

No one in the city, not even the university police chief, knows exactly how many people will end up coming to Oxford for the debates. But the Oxford police department said they are ready.

"We're ready. I don't think anything is going to take us by surprise," Chief Calvin Sellers of the University of Mississippi police said.

Not even a possible showing by the KKK.

"Haven't been contacted by anyone from that organization that says they're coming, but they don't have to contact us," Sellers said.

Someone claiming to be with the KKK did contact Ole Miss's college paper, the Daily Mississippian.

An email told the paper the KKK would be on campus Friday, but "invisible".

After reporting the story, the editor in chief of the Daily Mississippian decided to write an open letter to the KKK.

"Saying this is not the same campus as 40 years ago, Klan used to control us by terror, but we don't ascribe to those views anymore. Those views no longer hold any power," editor in chief Tyler Clemons said.

The Daily's Assignment Editor then got an email with a link to a YouTube video.

The University Police Chief said if the KKK comes, or any other group, they will be allowed to protest as long as it is peaceful.

Click here to e-mail Lori Brown.