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Political party

Students perk up as presidential candidates debate for first time

Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012

Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 02:10

Presidential debate

Roger Zhang

Crowds of students squeezed into Rev’s Cafe in the MSC Wednesday night to watch round one of the political boxing matches, also known as the presidential debates.

The debate between Republican candidate Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama on the cafe’s large projector screen — an event organized by the MSC Wiley Lecture Series.

Megan Mumford, sophomore political science major and member of the Wiley Lecture Series, said the group held the watch party to get students involved with the election season.

“We generally host speakers on campus, events that everyone on campus can come to,” Mumford said. “We mainly deal with political problems. We hosted this [debate watch] as well to encourage discussion.”

Romney and Obama shared their opinions on hot topics such as entitlement programs, the financial deficit, job creation and health care ­— all while both surpassing the time limit given by the moderator and fighting for the last word.

During a memorable moment that caused gasps and giggles, Romney rebutted his opponents’ accusations.

“Mr. President, you’re entitled to your own airplane and house, but not your own facts,” Romney said.

Claire Berger, sophomore international studies major, said she thought Romney could have been saving the remark.

“That was probably one of the zingers he had planned,” Berger said.

While some students intentionally came to campus to watch the debate, others simply passed by and were drawn in to stay.

“I think that a lot of people might not have come just to watch it, but they got sucked in as they walked into the MSC. It’s a good location,” said senior architecture major Erik Larsen.

Larsen and his roommates watched the debate on campus because they don’t have a television at home. Larsen said he was glad the event was held on campus.

“I know for my roommates and I, we don’t know a ton about politics, so it’s great that they have [the debate] on campus so we can all check it out,” Larsen said.

Berger said the debate had been lengthy but remained a good one.

“They tended to call each other out on the facts a lot,” Berger said. “But it was pretty repetitive as far as their attacks on each other. I think it was a good debate.”

As the Nov. 6 election quickly approaches, freshman architecture major, Sydney Ritter, seeks to make an informed decision as a first-time voter in the presidential election.

“I don’t think that a lot of my peers have a huge education on [politics],” Ritter said. “But I think that with the elections coming up, people want to be better informed. I know that I do.”

The crowds that gathered Wednesday to watch the debate reminded Ritter of the community that is so present at Texas A&M.

“I do think that there’s a great community here,” Ritter said. “This [debate watch] is something that I’ll look back on and remember how we are having an impact on the world."

Ritter emphasized the importance of being well informed of the current political events worldwide and nationally.

“I think that it’s really important now that we are old enough to vote, that we are educated about who we are voting for and who is going to lead the country,” Ritter said.

Freshman biology major, Tina Nguyen, said she was moved to act after watching the debates.

“I haven’t registered to vote yet, but I think that after this I might register and then look up everything before the election,” Nguyen said.

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