The second debate between the West Virginia University College Republicans and Young Democrats brought emotions on both sides of the aisle to fore on Tuesday night before a highly partisan crowd of 40.The focus of the event put together by the WVU chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists was on foreign policy.Both organizations completely restructured their debate teams from the first debate.President of the WVU Young Democrats Andrew Barnes said that each member of the debate team had first-hand experience in various parts of the Middle East, which they each mentioned at least once while answering questions. One member of each group spent time in Iraq under military service.At various points during the debate, out-of-turn remarks by the audience and members of the opposing teams drew rebuke from the audience and moderators.About Bush, in 2001, he said he looked into Putins eyes and saw the soul of a good man. John McCain said he looked in Putins eyes and saw three letters: KGB, said Ben Smith of the College Republicans.He still kept a lobbyist for Georgia as one of his closest advisors. Its utterly absurd. Its laughable, said Jeff Freeman for the Young Democrats.He then interrupted a rebuttal from the College Republicans.The next question focused on pollution and the methodology each candidate would use to employ the issue.The College Republicans said that under McCain, the free market would spur development and investment in green technologies, as that is where the market appears to be heading.What the free market and capitalism will do is maximize profit, it wont necessarily be more efficient, Freeman said.During the College Republicans rebuttal, Freeman attempted to engage in a more unstructured debate by quickly following up republican responses with his own rebuttals.Hey, this is a debate, shouted a voice from the audience, objecting to Freemans interruptions.This prompted the moderators to intervene and remind participants of the proper structure of the debate.Emotions were high again when the questions came to health care.The College Republicans pointed to what they called inherent flaws in Sen. Barack Obamas Universal Health Care policy, saying they believed Americans would rely on it when it became too costly to afford privately.The Young Democrats argued that health care should be universal and a guaranteed right.Health care is your right as an American citizen. You have the right to life. If you dont have health care, you dont have life, Freeman said.That is not a right. The idea that health care can be a right is ridiculous, Brandon Shapiro said for the College Republicans before being cut off by the moderators.On the issue of what the U.S. should do now in Iraq, members of the military from both groups squared off, each basing their opinions on their personal experience in different parts of the country.There is no way you can get out of that country in 16 months and not leave the country in shambles, said Chad Wilson of the College Republicans, adding he derived this from the time he spent in Iraq.There was less violence in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was home, Paul Shipley said for the Democrats, talking about what he noticed during his time there.The Young Democrats made a dramatic misstep when Freeman, while answering a question about Afghanistan, called Sen. Obama Osama.But while Freemans presence sometimes derailed the formal order of the debate, his style activated the democratic side of the room the left-hand side while generating visible frustration from the right-hand side.The third debate is going to be a town-hall style debate scheduled for Oct. 30 in the Mountainlair Ballrooms with questions taken from the audience.
This story was written by Colin Booth, The Daily Athenaeum