Election Day is less than 30 days away, and the race is heating up more and more each day. Polls and public events are partially shaping peoples’ views, but one thing more popular is the Presidential, and Vice Presidential, debates. With one down, and three to go, the debates have potential to change what happens with voting on November 6. Americans across the United States tuned in on Wednesday, October 3, at 9 p.m. to view the first of the debates.
The debate, held at the University of Denver in Colorado, was hosted by PBS’ Jim Lehrer and lasted an hour-and-a half. The theme of the debate was domestic policy with topics ranging from ways that each will improve the economy to health care and the way government should work – though most of the time was used by each candidate to describe his own platform to create new jobs and make the economy stronger.
This year, Suffolk University is providing a free venue to watch all four of the debates. Conveniently located at Suffolk’s own Modern Theatre at 525 Washington St., the doors open at 7:30 pm. At 8:30 pm, the half-hour discussion starts. For each of the debates, Suffolk provides open admittance and an enjoyable conversation with some of the most knowledgeable political and communication professors and analysts in the area.
At the first debate, students who attended talked with the Government Department’s Professor Brian Conley and Communication and Journalism’s Gloria Boone. Conley and Boone discussed with the audience strategy of debating, the potential that the debate could have on the election itself, and peoples’ opinions of the two candidates.
Professor Conley provided some comments about the outcome of the debate. Conley, a political science professor at Suffolk, explained that he “didn’t think that either of them delivered a decisive knockout blow.”
Conley said the economy remains a very important issue to Americans and that, in order to win, Romney must connect to voters on a personal level which what he attempted to do at the debate.
After the 30-minute talk, the debate began around, 9 p.m. Of the total 119 people that attended the event at the Modern Theatre, a large majority were students taking notes about what the candidates said. Twitter was also abuzz with many viewers tweeting quotes and their opinions during the debate.
Most media outlets find that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won the debate, although it was his first. Even though President Obama seemed to be properly prepared, Romney was on the offensive and giving a somewhat aggressive response to the moderator’s questions. It seemed as if Romney was not going to let the President stop him from answering the question or intrude on his own speaking time. It was a lack of time, apparently, that gave way to back-and-forth clatter between Obama and Romney.
Overall, it was apparent that Suffolk students had a wide range of expectations and reactions to the debate. Freshman and Public Relations major Lance Williams, a registered Independent, said that he “thought it was very weak on both sides, more could have been on said on each candidate’s part, and that neither of them did a very good job.”
Williams said he feels that Romney won the debate, but “not by a landslide.” This seems to be a pattern with people, that Romney won but not by a huge margin.
Williams, a resident from California, said the debate did “absolutely not” have an effect on his choice for President.
The next debate is Thursday, October 11. It is the first, and only, for the two Vice Presidential candidates and will be moderated by ABC News’ Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz.
Suffolk will be hosting a discussion with political experts from the college’s Communication and Journalism and Government departments. According to the Suffolk University website “David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, will lead a post-debate debrief featuring reactions from viewers.”