University weighs in on presidential debates

Miriam Arias and Diego Saldaña-Rojas / Student Media News Staff

The countdown has begun.

With presidential elections only a few weeks away, the candidates have faced off once again to push the polls to their favor.

Students and faculty gathered on Wednesday, October 3, to watch the first presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney at one of two watch parties organized on campus.

The College Democrats at the University hosted a watch party in Graham Center 150 while FIU’s Debate Team gathered around the television set by the GC Pit.

The debate took place at the University of Denver, and focused on domestic issues.

Senior International Business Major Mohales Deis was curious to see how the two presidential candidates would act when faced with an audience of millions, “I was waiting to see what happens when you put these two together, when you put them together in front of America.”

Obama opened the debate by pointing out problems that developed before his term and that have continued throughout it.

“Because of the resilience and the determination of the American people, we’ve begun to fight our way back,” Obama said.

During his opening statement, Obama wished his wife, Michelle Obama, a happy anniversary.

“It’s interesting to see how much the family is in the campaign,” said graduate student Eilert Stamm, a non-resident alien from Germany studying administration.

The debate touched upon several domestic issues including: taxes, health care, the deficit and education.

Deis believes neither candidate was able to force the other in showing their real plans and true ideals, “[for] Romney…it was more about ideals rather than plans, no details… He spent most of the time attacking, which is not a bad position to take, but to say was he more clear I would say no.”

In regards to President Obama, Deis said, “On the other side Obama was his usual self, the difference I saw was that Obama spent his time going through the policies that he enacted and pretty much in a sense [was] defending what he has enacted and what he has been working on.”

As the debate began heating up, several issues arose captivating the attention of students.

Among these were health care and education.

When it comes to the topic of healthcare, Deis believes it is better to give it a shot.  “Let’s support him, let’s see what happens,” Deis said.  “If it fails, if we see it going downhill, lets then try to fix it, but if you’re going to say it failed before it launched and you’re not going to support it at all,  which I think is more because of political ideologies, then I think we are failing America.”

Education is the main concern for junior Savannah Currier.  “As a university student, I don’t have much money of my own, so being able to afford and pay for college . . . and then somehow manage to find a job afterwards,” Currier said.  “That’s the biggest concern – getting into the real world.”

Students, like the candidates, also weighed in on the deficit.

“Romney did a great job. He was on task. He came out, took the nail fighting.  He won the debate,” said Steven James McDuffie.

McDuffie does not believe Obama has kept his promises or done enough to reduce the deficit.

McDuffie said the he has actually seen the deficit increase 5.4 trillion dollars during Obama’s presidency.

“That will affect my retirement, my children’s retirement,” said McDuffie.  “It’s just not going to be a good thing for college students and future generations.”

McDuffie also does not support Obama’s executive directive to the department of Homeland Security regarding undocumented students, but rather believes Obama’s decision as a political move.

“America does best when the middle class does best,” Obama said.  Different versions of this statement were heard several times throughout the debate.

When asked if there was anything they felt was missing from the debate, professors from the School of Communication Arts Daniel Blaeuer and Nicholas Temple weighed in.

Temple noted that both candidates concentrated on the past versus what would be done in the future.
“The theme that really seems to come out is that both candidates actually referred back to legislation that has been passed, what has been done,” Temple said. “The main complaints, primarily with Governor Romney but also with president Obama, is they didn’t talk   as much about the future and what they are going to do… I feel that our students really wanted to know really specific ideas about what we are going to do in the future which they did address to some degree but they were far more specific about the past instead of the future.”

Blaueur wished there had been more discussion about educational reforms and how they would be implemented.
“I would have loved to see that. I would have loved the debate topic…[to have been] how we are going to make education affordable for our students.

About the Author

Diego Saldaña
: Opinion Director, Broadcast Major. Interests: Vintage motorcycles, cycling, collecting vinyl records, history.

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