Tonight, students will gather at the UCen Hub to watch a live broadcast of the first 2012 presidential debate, highlighting the core domestic policy plans of Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican candidate and Governor Mitt Romney.
The debate, which will be held at the University of Colorado and monitored by PBS news anchor Jim Lehrer, will begin at 6 p.m. and last for roughly 90 minutes. Lehrer will ask candidates policymaking questions through six 15-minute segments, with the first three segments focusing on domestic economic issues and the latter three focusing on the controversial topic of healthcare. Wahoo’s Fish Tacos will offer Happy Hour specials throughout the Hub’s broadcast and Congresswoman Lois Capps is expected to make an appearance.
According to Capps, the event should help students secure their political beliefs and voting choices as candidates are expected to outline their agendas firsthand. Capps added that she supports fellow Democrat Barack Obama due to his similarly liberal standing on domestic issues such as education.
“The debate is a great opportunity to learn more about each candidate’s record and vision for our country,” Capps said in an email. “I think President Obama is the best choice for students, as we’ve worked together to make college more accessible by doubling funding for Pell Grants and cutting in half the interest rates on need-based student loans from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent.”
Third-year economics major Jereme Sherrel said the screening will allow students to gain a full and unbiased understanding of current issues, adding that he plans to attend in order to become a more informed voter.
“I’d like to be more educated about politics,” Sherrel said. “Since I am now a registered voter, I would like to make educated voting decisions with this upcoming election and not just vote the way my peers and family would.”
The debate-watching party will also afford young, first-time voters a more enjoyable way to form political opinions; first-year film and media studies major Nikki Cooper feels it’s a fun alternative to watching the event at home or on the computer.
“It’s a positive thing because it’s going to inform young people about politics and getting involved in the community and how things directly affect them,” Cooper said. “Most freshmen are now 18 and 19 years old. It’s the first time they can vote for something, almost like a freshman’s first step of independence to adulthood.”
Assemblyman Das Williams, who said he also may attend the event, said he supports Obama’s standing on issues of education and healthcare since he feels Romney has backtracked from his more moderate past in policymaking.
“The president’s been an advocate in fighting for Cal Grants and affordable student loan [and] … he’s developed a healthcare system that limits the profits of health insurance companies,” Williams said. “I give Romney some real credit for what he’s done for healthcare as a governor [but] he’s been so captured by the right wing that he’s almost unrecognizable from the Romney that was the governor of Massachusetts.”
Other upcoming presidential debates will take place Oct. 16 and 22 and will be broadcast live on national news outlets C-Span, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC and cable news channels CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.