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N.C. State Student Debate Sparks Mixed Reviews

This story was written by Daniel Ellis, Technician

The Technician-sponsored debate Monday, featuring student representatives from the North Carolina State Univeristy Students for Obama and Students for McCain, concluded with a wide range of student opinion expressed over the debate's success.

"A lot of the arguments from both sides in the debate were unfounded, "Evan Garris, a sophomore in political science, said. "Many things I picked up on were just downright offensive and I think both sides should have brushed up on politics before they tried to put their two cents in."

Jim Ceresnak, a representative for Students for McCain, said he felt that not only was the event handled well by the moderator and managing staff, but it also served as a great outlet of information for students.

"I felt like this was a really beneficial event for all N.C. State students and all young people in general because it was just so important that we all get involved and informed about candidates," he said.

The one and a half hour debate dealt with a range of issues, including tax policy, the war in Iraq, ethics, energy, climate change, social security and health care.

"Regardless of how we feel about the issues, it was our job to be surrogates for the candidates," Ceresnak said. "People were really focused on what we were saying. They were on their toes and no one was bored, thats for sure."

Others, however, felt the debate was far from the quality of a nationally-televised debate, doing a poor job of dealing with many of the pressing problems facing the nation.

"I thought the fundamental issues facing America were not addressed," Garris said. "I had hoped it wouldn't devolve into the personal attacks and mudslinging that it did."

In total, approximately 170 students attended the event. Students were clearly divided on candidates, with McCain supporters sitting on one side of the room and Obama supporters on the opposite side.

"I thought it'd be good to go today just to show my support for it," James Pharr III, a senior in political science and member of College Republicans, said. "It's an excellent way for the candidates to show their positions and help the people to make a more informed choice of who to vote for in November,"

Throughout the event, comments from Obama and McCain representatives alike were met with bursts of applause and booing.

"The audience was a bit rowdy sometimes, but that's to be expected with that kind of rhetoric," Students for Obama representative Joseph Putnam-Evans said. "Of course I saw it coming mostly from the republican side. I wish my side had done it a bit more, but we weren't supposed to, so I'm glad we didn't."

Joseph Aspland, a sophomore in mechanical engineering, regrets the debate wasn't as focused on the individual candidates as much as he said it should have been. Rather, the speakers for both candidates often resorted to blows aimed at the other side's presidential nominee.

"They were attacking each other too much," Aspland said. "I thought they needed to be more about their own ideals and policies."

While many students had already made up their minds prior to attending the debate, some were able to reach their decision based on some of the arguments occurring during the night.

"I wasn't leaning towards either side coming in, but now I'm kind of leaning more towards Obama," Devin Smith, a freshman in Education, said."This kind of reinforced some of the things I had heard before about Obama."

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