Last Thursday’s debate between the University Democrats and College Republicans was a demonstration of each organization’s political savvy and, to a lesser extent, an effort to convince audience members to vote for their candidate
Few students in attendance claimed to be undecided voters, as evidenced by political pins and stickers worn in support of their candidate of choice.
The debate was relatively devoid of the character attacks and anti-issue bickering that has characterized much of the Presidential campaign so far. Members from each group threw statistics and student perspectives into their arguments.
Emily Kinkead, arguing for the Democrats, said that Obama represents the interests of average Americans and students, noting the candidate’s proposal for a $4,000 tuition credit for students who volunteer 100 hours of community service.
Nate Lloyd, arguing for the Republican’s said McCain represents financial freedom and said colleges need less “regulatory barriers,” mentioning the candidate’s support of the Lender of Last Resort program.
Two members from each party took questions from campus media representatives from The Voice, In Focus, and WBUQ. Dr. George Agbango of the Political Science department moderated the debate, which followed similar rules to all three of the Presidential debates: a 90 second response to a question, 30 second rebuttal, etc.
Mike Graziano, Editor of The Voice, asked how each party’s candidate would reduce America’s dependency on foreign oil.
College Republican Ashley Fuoco said that America’s “oil crisis” allows foreign, perhaps hostile, countries “to have great power over us.” In addition to a plethora of energy sources, the solution is to “Drill here, drill now,” she said, echoing the phrase often chanted by McCain supporters at rallies.
Kinkead said the focus should be clean, renewable energy, mentioning Obama’s “25% by 2025” plan. By 2025, Obama, if elected, would attempt to ensure that 25% of U.S. electricity comes from renewable energy sources like solar and wind.
The event was a part of Vote Jam, an annual event full of music and civic engagement sponsored by the Mass Communications seminar class. A small, though decent sized crowd, as reported by The Voice, gathered in the Kehr Union ballroom. Perhaps 30 students, faculty and community members were in attendance.