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Trained To Argue: Top Debate Students Discuss Presidential Debate

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Millions of Americans have strong reactions to the first presidential debate. CBS 2's Jim Williams spoke with four members of two top college debate teams about that debate.

Mackenzie O'Donnell and Evan Means of Loyola and Stephe Lowe and Tim Wegener of Northwestern have been trained to argue.

Much has been said about President Trump frequently interrupting Joe Biden Tuesday night. All of the champion debaters say interruptions can be effective -- to a point.

"If you hear someone saying something completely wrong, you want to say that's wrong in the moment," O'Donnell said.

"Which is a tactic people will use in college debate because it's a technical game where you try to answer absolutely every single argument your opponent makes," said Lowe.

"I think he did a good job of kind of preventing Joe Biden from getting momentum," said Wegener. "I do think that it prevents Joe Biden from being able to kind of get rolling, have a full two minutes to exactly lay out exactly what his proposals will be."

"But when you do it over and over again consistently, it becomes disrespectful, and you lose that meaning," O'Donnell said.

"They need to me selected for important critical issues," said Lowe.

Means believes Biden needs to be more assertive.

"He needs to show what he's saying his valuable and that he's not going to let that to be stolen by his opponent," he said.

But all four say it is a delicate balance between being forceful and being disrespectful.

"And it may seem like a small thing, to have respect for the person opposite of you, that it's not going to cause a big difference, but it actually does because then you get into these personal attacks, which have nothing to do with the substantial arguments of the debate," said O'Donnell.

Lowe said ideally in a debate the best ideas win, not necessarily the candidate withmore air time.

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