UW College Democrats, Republicans Face Off To Win Votes For Primary

This story was written by Jen McMahon, The Daily Cardinal
Students packed into Memorial Union's Great Hall Monday evening to see the first ever UW-Madison debate between the College Republicans and College Democrats.

College Republicans Chair Sara Mikolajczak and College Democrats Chair Oliver Keifer faced off on Wisconsin topics such as state funding for UW-Madison, the state's economic predicament and the Wisconsin Energy Protection Amendment.

Debate topics included health care, the Iraq War, the national energy policy, campaign finance reform, immigration and abortion.

The goal of the debate was to inform students about the two parties' beliefs as well as stir excitement for the upcoming Wisconsin primary taking place Feb. 19.

"We've got one week where Wisconsin is front and center in the national spotlight," Keifer said in his opening statement. "I hope that during this week, you have an opportunity to take part and participate in some of the events on campus."

During the debate, Keifer endorsed national health care, increased funding for education, equal rights for same sex couples and caps on campaign funding.

Keifer also promised a timetable to withdraw troops in Iraq with a Democratic president. Mikolajczak said U.S. troops should stay in Iraq until the situation is stable, and success would come with time.

She also said she supported cutting taxes, an overturn of Roe v. Wade and unrestricted campaign contributions.

UW-Madison political science professor Donald Downs, Badger Herald Editorial Page Editor Andrew Granias and Editorial Page Content Editor Jason Smathers moderated the debate.

Both parties were asked a series of questions in which they were given two minutes to respond. Downs then asked the other debater for a rebuttal and added any related questions he deemed necessary. Three audience questions were also selected for Keifer and Mikolajczak to answer.

In their 90-second closing statements both Keifer and Mikolajczak encouraged future political involvement among students, most importantly participation in the Wisconsin primary.
© 2008 The Daily Cardinal via U-WIRE