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VP Debate Generates Interest On Ole Miss Campus

This story was written by John Mark Busby, Daily Mississippian

Students, faculty and staff at the University of Mississippi laughed and applauded during moments of the viewing of the vice presidential debate between Republican nominee Gov. Sarah Palin and Democratic nominee Sen. Joe Biden Thursday night in the Overby Center Auditorium.

Dawn Jeter, operations manager of the Overby Center, thought the event was a huge success.

(There was) great attendance, with very good, constructive, participation from the audience after the debate, making a discussion that shows how involved students are with both candidates, Jeter said.

The Overby Center began planning the event several weeks ago, Jeter said.

We felt it important because of the Palin effect on this election has been unbelievable, Jeter explained. There seems to be a lot of interest in the college age students to vote. Frankly I think there was more interest in the vice presidential debate than perhaps the debates in the coming weeks.

Richard Forgette, chairman of the political science department, moderated the post debate discussion. He welcomed viewers by asking them to consider two questions throughout the debate: What do we expect of a vice president? and What is one thing or one line that was most memorable in the debate?

When addressing the audience about memorable moments, Forgette said, We will see that three second splice frequently over the next two weeks, citing Bidens show of emotions while talking about the loss of his wife and children.

I was more interested in the discussion after the debate because it shows the interest in this presidential race, said Samir Husni, chair of the journalism department. I have been in America since 1978 and I have never seen this much interest in a presidential race, mainly because of the historic proportion of this election.

Husni thought the debate did little to change viewers original opinions.

The funny thing which I found after the debate is that it changed no ones mind because people who perceived Sarah Palin would do well thought she did well and the people who perceived that Joe Biden would do well thought he did well, he said.

Husni asked the audience was if anyone believed the moderator, Glen Ifill, showed bias.

In response, Sierra Ulrich, a junior Education major said, I thought that she specifically asked the two about their thoughts on climate change just to make Palin look bad, knowing her position.

Among others, the opinion that Joe Biden took advantage of the format of the debate because he had more debate experience was also one of the comments brought up by the audience.

Forgette added in conclusion to the event that, the things we remember are the sound bites that become metaphors for the campaigns, the ones that resonate we remember for a reason, something that drastically changes your opinion.