Democrats and Republicans at Temple have found something to agree on.
Students from both sides of the political spectrum said the third and final presidential debate on Wednesday was a success. However, like opposing parties often do, they differ when declaring a winner.
The Temple College Democrats hosted a debate watching party. Students with all different political views were in attendance. More than a hundred people gathered in front of the big screen, at the Student Center to watch Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama debate for the last time before Election Day.
Elizabeth Hanson, president of the Temple College Democrats, said the group extended an invitation to the Temple College Republicans and other student organizations.
“I think it’s a cool opportunity to gather together and show how many people are actually interested in the process,” said Hanson, a junior political science major.
The students in attendance were energized. The debate was a heated one and their responses followed suit.
The cheers and jeers showed that the Republicans were the minority at the event. However they too made themselves heard. Applause erupted from conservative students when McCain said to Obama, “I’m not President Bush. If you wanted to run against him, you should have run four years ago.”
Conversely Democrats rejoiced at Obama’s strong opinions on Roe vs. Wade and equal pay for equal time.
The mere mention of McCain’s running mate Gov. Sarah Palin aroused a mixture of applause, boos, snickers and uncomfortable sighs among the attendees.
“They way Republicans are outnumbered [on campus], I’d say it was a pretty good sampling,” said College Republicans president Brian McGovern. “I’m extremely proud of how Senator McCain preformed in this debate. I thought it was his best showing of the three.”
Korin Tangtrakul, the events coordinator for the College Democrats and junior environmental studies major said, working closely with their Republican counterparts allows students to look at both sides, decide where they fit in and make better informed decisions.
“I will take every opportunity to make sure people understand the importance of their vote,” said McGovern, a senior political science major. “It’s maybe more important now than it ever has been.”
“I think there is an excitement in this election,” Hanson said. “Students are paying attention.”
Bill Rennie, a sophomore and executive director of the College Republicans, said he thought there was no clear winner.
“McCain finally bought to light some of the truths behind Obama,” Rennie said. “But at the same time, I’m not sure that they resonated because I don’t think people want to hear that.”
Tangtrakul said she felt Obama’s debating style was much less antagonistic than McCain’s.
“Letting things go knowing that we’ll come back to that discussion later. He doesn’t have to put you down right now,” Tangtrakul said.
College Democrats and Republicans said holding this type of event excites people and motivates students to go to their polling place and vote. Getting students involved and educated in the political process is important to both organizations.
“Our generation is the nation’s future,” Hanson said. “It’s really on us to show up on November 4th.”
Andrea Hanratty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.