by Jill Miller
The tension on the screen is rising. Interruptions seem to be coming one after another. Neither man can complete a thought.
Republican candidate Mitt Romney said Oct. 22 he wanted to ensure the Navy had the correct number of ships to carry out missions, as the number has decreased over the years.
“I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works,” says President Barack Obama, Democratic candidate. “You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military has changed.”
Laughter fills the room, but only for a moment. The presidential candidates are still debating, and no one wants to miss a word.
This election season, in room D-3 of the Penick Academic Complex, the political science department has hosted presidential debate viewings open to any students interested.
After each debate, a discussion about impressions regarding the debate or the candidates was held.
Dr. Sean Evans, associate professor of political science and department chair, said that watching the debates in a group setting is like watching a sporting event because seeing the reactions of others can help make it more fun to watch.
Logan Brasher, junior music education major, agrees.
“To me, a presidential debate is a competition,” Brasher said. “We try to keep it formal, one guy says what he thinks, another guy says what he thinks, but as we can tell, they can usually get into it, so it comes down to your team is playing the other team.”
Interaction among students played a part in the viewing; students could be seen whispering opinions or comments to their friends or passing around smartphones or laptops.
Not only did students show each other various aspects of social media through Facebook and Twitter, but an onscreen display also counted the number of Tweets per minute related to the debate.
“I tweeted a lot … It was for those that weren’t watching the debate,” Brasher said. “I wanted them to know a couple of things being said and good quotes that I enjoyed.”
Once the debates ended, Evans opened the discussion with questions. Students voiced opinions of the ideas discussed, the way the candidates acted and even the moderation.
A major topic of discussion had to do with how the candidates conducted themselves. The bickering that took place was unprofessional, Evans said.