Mitt Romney and Barack Obama made their partisan and ideological differences clear during the first debate of the presidential campaign on Wednesday night. Romney wore a red tie, and Obama wore a blue one. They each laid out a distinct vision of the role of the federal government. On numerous occasions, moderator Jim Lehrer asked them explicitly if there was a stark difference between the two of them on a certain issue, and they generally agreed differences do exist.
But at a viewing party co-hosted by College Democrats and College Republicans in the basement of Whig Hall, the partisan differences were not as noticeable. At the suggestion of the Whig-Cliosophic Society board, the two groups decided to hold the party to bring members of the University’s political community together.
“We had done several events similar to this last semester with the Republican debates,” College Republicans president Jacob Reses ’13 said. “We really like having events with the Democrats. We really like having opportunities to more tightly integrate the campus’s political community.”
Over 300 people attended the event, according to a tweet by Whig-Clio.
“Why not do it together?” College Democrats president Natalie Sanchez ’14 said before the event started. “I think people will be really into it.”
Members of the two groups arrived at the event with expectations for their candidates’ performance.
“Obama has to explain that he’s done a good job in a tough situation,” College Democrats events chair Will Mantell ’14 said.
“I’d like to see Romney make the conservative case for why the course the president set us on is bad and what his vision for the country is,” Reses said.
As the camera fixed on Lehrer as the debate began, the crowded room fell silent. The silence lasted through most of the debate. Emphatic fits of laughter erupted at times at a comment made by either candidate. Occasionally, someone questioned the legitimacy of a candidate’s claim.
Though it’s only the first debate, students said they are ready to make their decisions and want their questions answered.
Some students came to the event already knowing for whom they would vote on election day — Katherine Mount ’14 said she was “committed”— but others were unsure.
“This debate will decide if I come out to vote or not,” Andrew Hanna ’16 said.
Original URL: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2012/10/04/31384/