By Crystal Hill
On Wednesday, October 3rd, the Black Law Student Association hosted a watch night of the first out of three presidential debates between President Barack Obama and Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney in the Maurer School of Law. The debate was broadcast live on numerous television stations including CNN, FOX, NBC, and ABC and was made available for online viewing.
President Mahja Zeon and Social Action Chair Nedu Nweze of the BSLA felt compelled to host the watch night in order to encourage students to be more informed on political matters.
“The goal was [and is] to get people to know what’s going on, especially law students”, Zeon said, “Also, we wanted everyone to feel included so we invited the Federalist society. There’s often a stereotype about all blacks being ‘democrat’ so we wanted to make sure we included students who were either Democrat or Republican.” Over 150 undergraduate, grad, and law students attended the event.
The actual debate was held at the University of Denver and moderated by Jim Lehrer, the host of NewsHour on PBS. What started as a friendly rapport between the two candidates soon became heated and intense as each candidate was given the platform to speak on various issues, such as the economy, taxes, social security, healthcare, and the purpose of the federal government. Both Romney and Obama were given only a few minutes to speak on these substantial issues.
Nearly 15 minutes in the debate, it could already be determined that some students were watching the debate for answers to the crucial matters regarding the nation and others came to be entertained by Obama’s comedic quips and Romney’s unintentionally humorous antics. For Ashley Rozier, third year law student, it was helpful to see both candidates in the same setting: “It was good to finally hear both candidates address each other”, Rozier said, “I was glad to see them actually interact in the same room.”
Others in attendance were wildly entertained by the twitter stream being shown on the screen by CNN and ABC. The various tweets talked about everything from the issues being discussed, to the facial expressions displayed by Obama and Romney.
As far as each candidate’s performance is concerned, some felt that while Obama gave suitable answers, he was too lax when dealing with Romney’s arguments against him. “I thought Obama had a lot of great comebacks in the sense that he was more realistic, that is why he is often considered the ‘President of the People’”, Zeon said, “But I wish he had been more assertive, instead of discounting Romney’s points and glossing over them.”
However, others applauded Obama for keeping his cool, and not bringing up controversial comments. “I was definitely [ready] to hear the ‘47%’ comments from Romney be brought in by Obama, but I thought it was a classy move that he decided not to”, Rozier said.
Perusing the online news and social networking circulation it can show that this debate has got a lot of people talking and discussing the upcoming election more than ever before; But before any final decisions are made, and before the voting process begins, the candidates will be braving through two more live debates on October 16th and October 22nd. Considering the success of Wednesday’s event, and the importance of students being informed in political matters, BLSA plans to put on a screening of each debate.