For University of South Dakota students watching the second presidential debate Oct. 16, the live event was not so much an exchange of words as it was a back and forth verbal lashing between the
The second of three presidential debates to take place between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney in Hempstead, N.Y. and was moderated by CNN political correspondent Candy Crowley, in a town hall style at Hofstra University.
Obama and Romney were questioned on foreign and domestic issues by citizens in the audience. The candidates clashed on issues such as energy, foreign policy, gender inequality, healthcare, immigration policy, taxes, unemployment and weapon laws.
Students gathered in the Muenster University Center Pit Lounge and the Al Neuharth Media Center Freedom Forum Conference Room to watch the debate and discuss their thoughts on it.
“I liked the first one better,” junior Morgan Lunz said. “I didn’t see a clear winner, but Romney made more of an impression on me.”
Some students thought Obama was the all-out winner of the debate.
“Obama is destroying Romney,” first-year Michael Ronayne said. “It’s completely different from the first debate. Romney can’t give any specifics on how he’s going to improve the economy.”
Emotions played an important factor for junior Bethany Hively.
“Obama, emotionally, has done a better job,” Hively said. “But factually, Romney has an upper hand. Romney hasn’t proved he can’t do any of the things he says he does.”
Crawley also proved an important factor in making this debate better than the first debate moderated by Jim Lehrer, first-year Bodhi Schultz said.
“It’s a lot more confrontational than the last debate and the moderator is doing a lot better job,” Schultz said. “I think Obama’s being a lot more interactive with answering Romney’s questions than Romney is with answering Obama’s.”
Sophomore Tasha Lewis spent the evening checking each candidate’s accuracy on fact-checking website
“Obama is going to come out on top this time,” Lewis said. “I think the last debate was good for Romney, and on that night he did come out on top. But Politifacts did show that not all of his facts were all there. Factually, Obama has been more correct in both debates.”
Senior Angela Luedke thought both Romney and Obama did a good job promoting their own viewpoints.
“I would say they tied,” she said. “They’re both kind of controlling themselves. It was better than the first one. They weren’t acting like three year olds.”
Graduate student Jeremy Fajman said he also thought there wasn’t a clear winner.
“Pretty much what I’m seeing right now is Obama being more attentive to the debate and Romney getting caught on some of his past records,” he said. “If I had to make a prediction, I would say the media will say Obama came out on top — not by much, but they’re trying to keep it interesting.”
Some students came away from the debate feeling even more frustrated than when it started.
“They’re both bad at answering questions and it’s all about debunking the other,” Hively said. “I just want to hear their opinions and answers to the questions, and not what the other one is doing wrong.”
Graduate student Matthew Heiman felt there was a lack of respect from both sides.
“It was really antagonistic,” he said. “Walking into this debate, there was some general disrespect for the moderator and each other. It wasn’t very presidential, which reflects negatively on both of them. It didn’t contain a lot of deep, intellectual consideration, as much as basic political attacks.”
The third and final presidential debate will take place Oct. 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.