Debate sparks discussion, derision

Gary Wang

jacobson-08fa-pol20081023-web01.jpgOn Wednesday, Oct. 15, the Global Awareness House hosted another viewing of the third and final presidential debate between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain.

The entire audience stayed for the duration of the debate and the following discussion. The post-debate spin on Fox News, which some percieve as a right-leaning media channel, sparked much conversation.

“When Fox News is saying that John McCain didn’t get the job done in the debate, you know he’s in trouble,” said sophomore Wayne Lichty.

While discussing domestic policy, moderator Bob Scheiffer immediately asked McCain and Obama what their responses to the current economic crisis would be.

McCain launched into a tirade against Wall Street’s greed and excess and proposed that the government buy mortgages at face value.

Obama emphasized his tax cuts for the middle class and attacked McCain for supporting the failed deregulatory policies that led to the financial crisis.

The two candidates differed on the exact cause of the financial crisis. McCain pointed to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for making bad loans to people with bad credit. Obama, however, attacked the failed regulatory framework for the financial markets.

The audience at the Global Awareness House mostly jeered as McCain reiterated his talking points on issues from the economy to taxes and even campaign tactics.

“On the Whitman campus, overwhelmingly I think it’s an Obama campus. I think the sad thing is that most students pay attention to the Palin and McCain gaffes you can catch on Youtube or SNL. I feel like students aren’t as attracted to the issues. It’s like a show or something,” said Jesús Vásquez, R.A. of the Global House.

Schieffer asked the candidates what they thought of the negative tone of the campaign. McCain blamed it on Obama, citing Obama’s negative advertising figures.

Obama argued that campaigns were tough but that they should be talking about the issues instead of hurt feelings.

Most of the boos and comments from the Global Awareness House audience came when McCain attacked Obama for his association with former 1960s violent radical Bill Ayers.
The audience also dismissed McCain’s frequent usage of “Joe the Plumber” as the archetypal American who Obama’s tax policies would hurt.

McCain’s habit of beginning his answers with the phrase “my friends” drew particular derision from the audience.

As the debate went on to cover issues such as energy policy, healthcare and education, the audience quieted down as sophomore Elizabeth Bragg, a Global Awareness House resident, passed around desserts she had baked.

Things livened back up, however, when the crowd burst into laughter after Obama said that Govenor Palin is an excellent politician but said it is “up to the American people” whether or not she’s qualified.

McCain took the opportunity to attack Senator Biden, Obama’s running mate, for voting against the first Gulf War and for a “cockamamie” idea of dividing Iraq into three countries.
“It did seem that McCain really needed to win and I don’t think he was really close. Basically Obama needed not to screw up. I think he handled the Ayers issue. It was a great source of ammo for the McCain campaign. I think that’s probably done with, at least I hope it is. I think Obama gained a lot more tonight than McCain did,” reiterated Vásquez.

The Global Awareness House plans to hold a gathering on election night on Tuesday, Nov. 4 but definite plans have not been made.