Debate Coverage | Over 350 pack Cabot to watch first presidential debate
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 13:10
Students squeezed into the seats and aisles of Cabot Auditorium last night to watch the first debate between presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney at a screening hosted by the Tufts Institute for Political Citizenship (IPC).
Both candidates’ zingers and talking points drew cheers, laughs and occasionally boos and grumbles from the more than 350 students that gathered to see Romney and Obama debate domestic issues.
Lines like Romney’s opening joke about the debate being a “romantic” setting for Obama’s 20th wedding anniversary and the former Massachusetts governor’s mentions of his education record in the state resulted in loud reactions from the crowd, as did a quip from Obama that he “doesn’t mind [the term] Obamacare because, it’s true, I do care.”
Students lingered in Cabot after the lights came on to discuss the debate, which pitted the candidates against each other but also left moderator and former PBS news anchor Jim Lehrer trying to keep both Obama and Romney on topic and within the time restrictions.
“I think Jim Lehrer lost the debate,” Michelle Cerna, a junior, said.
Sam Zuckert, a junior, agreed that the candidates overpowered Lehrer.
“I think it was pretty normal,” Zuckert said. “They were so general and walked all over the moderator.”
“I think it was rather lackluster; they didn’t say anything new,” Graham Starr, a sophomore, said. “I feel this was a better night for Romney because he had more blunders, but he got more positive reactions.”
The large turnout at the viewing was unexpected, IPC president Eric Peckham said.
“We’re excited that so many students are interested in the election and came out to talk about the issues and about the debate,” Peckham, a senior, said.
The debate was heavily followed on Twitter nationwide and on campus, with multiple accounts on the Hill contributing to the online conversation. See the Daily’s blog, Jumbo Slice, for Tufts students’ reactions on Twitter throughout the debate.