Students divided over who ‘won’ presidential debate


(Students names from left to right on couch): Junior communications major Jordan Reed; Andy Vikre, junior political science major; and Delonte LeFlore, senior organizational and computer communications major, watch the first presidential debate from the New Orleans Room of Stevenson C Tower Wednesday night. The debate was between presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.

By Alan Kozeluh

The first 2012 presidential debate triggered mixed reactions from members of student organizations.

Members of the Black Student Union (BSU) gathered in Stevenson C Tower to watch the debate. Phillip Jones, College Democrats president, senior political science major and event attendee, said he felt President Barack Obama did an excellent job sharing his views.

Jones said Obama used a good tactic by embracing the term “Obamacare” while discussing the Affordable Health Care for America Act.

Before the debate, Christopher Pitts, BSU president and senior political science major, said while he was a Obama supporter, he was not one-sided.

Ronald Crisostomo, event attendee and junior nursing major, said the Republican party made a mistake by nominating Mitt Romney over Ron Paul. He said he supported Paul in the primaries but he could not support Romney.

“He’s doing anything to get elected,” Crisostomo said. “It’s the same old thing.”

Kelsey Shockey, College Republican member and senior corporate communications major, said he thought Romney was a little sharper than Obama during the debate. Obama couldn’t defend what he had done in the last four years, but the debate over Obamacare ended in a draw, Shockey said.

Romney delivered on job creation and economic freedom, Shockey said.

“By the end, I definitely thought Obama was on his toes there,” Shockey said.

Pitts said he was happy with Obama’s performance, but said he wanted to hear more about violence and gun control. He said violence was an issue that neither candidate addressed.

Pitts said the issues hit home for him since he has parents who are disabled, and Romney’s prior comments on the 47 percent of Americans dependent on government handouts have made him wary. He said he felt it was important for people to understand that social programs are meaningful.

“It’s not just people abusing the system,” Pitts said.

Obama should have attacked Romney on his former venture capital firm, Bain Capital, Cristosomo said. However, he said he didn’t disagree with Romney on every point.

“Some policies should be left up to the states,” Crisostomo said.

Shockey said Romney probably demonstrated he could be president with this debate. Shockey said he may see a little boost in the polling data, but he’ll want more increases from swing states like Ohio, Virginia and Florida.

Editor’s Note: Campus Editor Felix Sarver and staff writer Sierra Lowe contributed to this article.