The first of three presidential debates aired Wednesday night, rife with interruptions by both candidates, clearly exhibiting their animosity toward each other.
Though the debate appeared heated, little detailed information was supplied by Governor Mitt Romney, according to Purdue College Democrats vice president Alli Everton, a senior in the College of Liberal Arts.
“I feel like Mitt Romney hasn’t really given us an exact plan for any of his policies, things that he supposedly wants to implement if he becomes president, so it’d be nice to see those policies,” Everton said.
Everton added there was an obvious gap between President Barack Obama’s debating skills and Romney’s, which was reiterated by College Democrats communications director Brock Minton, a junior in the College of Engineering.
“I think (Romney) kind of almost overstepped himself,” Minton said. “Multiple times he stepped on the toes of the proctor and just went on whenever he was past his time.”
However, College of Liberal Arts freshman Michael Brannigan, a member of the Purdue College Republicans, did not agree. He thought both candidates seemed calm and professional.
“I’m rather impressed how (Romney) kept it very professional,” Brannigan said. “He was very stable, especially when it comes to physical speaking ability. ... Ultimately, I think he performed incredibly well.”
As far as Obama, Brannigan thought he performed similarly, but thought Romney had the upper hand in his presentation.
College Democrats president Angela Mata, a sophomore in the College of Liberal Arts, disagreed. She said Romney contradicted himself multiple times throughout the debate, especially when he described the unalienable rights outlined in the Constitution as those given to us by a “creator.”
“I think that Romney contradicts his own stance on human rights,” Mata said. “He talks about Americans having those natural-born rights ... but then he doesn’t support marriage equality for those who are homosexual. So, he obviously doesn’t value those human rights.”
One right Romney specifically wants to uphold, if elected, is providing for the common defense, which he plans to do by apportioning $2 trillion of the federal budget to the military.
Mata disagreed with this strategy, which Romney said in his closing statement would improve the quality of life for the middle class.
Brannigan, on the other hand, was not opposed to Romney’s plan and said much of our military hardware is out of date – something that, in his opinion, needs to be fixed to protect the country from threats from Iran, North Korea and others.
As for decreasing the federal budget deficit, Romney attacked Obama multiple times, arguing the president had not been able to significantly improve the situation. However, the Purdue College Democrats did not think Romney had a better plan.
“It just seems like his entire strategy is just to be completely hands-off,” Minton said. “So, it’s just cutting taxes for every single person and let it work itself out ... it doesn’t seem like the outcome that he expects is what’s going to actually happen.”
However, College Republicans president Maria James, a senior in the College of Liberal Arts, thought Romney presented himself and his plans as best he could given the time constraints and the organization of the debate.
“I think (Romney) presented himself as an American, as a patriot, and a well-spoken, educated man,” James said. “Going down (his plan), line-by-line, he doesn’t have time to do. I think the debate is supposed to highlight what the differences are, and if you don’t know what that candidate wants to do, like both of them said, go read the plans online. That’s your job as ... someone that is of the age to go vote. You need to go do your research.”