October 23, 2012

Students discuss presidential debate for national org

A vibrant atmosphere filled Hallowed Grounds last night as students gathered to watch and comment on this year’s final presidential debate on foreign policy.

The event featured not only a screening of the debate, but also a discussion moderated by Institute of Politics (IOP) Deputy Director Steve Edwards, the results of which will be sent to the Commission on Presidential Debates as part of a nation-wide DebateWatch program.

Participants seemed to agree that the candidates tried to shift strategically from foreign policy issues, where the candidates seemed to have similar thoughts, to domestic issues, where there was a clearer contrast. Students lauded moderator Bob Schieffer for asking thoughtful, pointed questions that forced candidates to respond more with substance than with talking points.

Such discussions, which also took place in house lounges all over campus, are part of the DebateWatch program, which aims to bring citizens together to engage in political discourse in their communities, as opposed to relying on media commentary. DebateWatch participants have the option of sending in the results of community discussions that will be used to improve future debates.

The DebateWatch event differed from previous campus election-related events in that it more formally engaged students in a discourse about national issues. “When we actually submit the information from these conversations to the Commission on Political Debates, they will actually inform changes to the debate structure in a way that will make these debates that much more important four years from now,” said Institute of Politics Executive Director Darren Reisberg.

The event was sponsored by SG, Campus and Student Life, and the IOP.