Mock debate brings out students of both parties

Amid a hectic presidential election season, the College Republicans hosted a mock presidential debate at the College on Feb. 4 to motivate students to cast their votes on Super Tuesday, Feb. 5.

With Terence Grado, junior political science and philosophy major, and Steve Mariani, junior mathematics and statistics major, as moderators, the mock presidential candidates spoke openly about the issues they plan to address once in office.

The Democratic candidates were the first to debate. Representing Sen. Hillary Clinton was freshman political science major Kelly Rossiter, and representing Sen. Barrack Obama was sophomore political science major Mike Tracey.

With high hopes for the country, Tracey (Obama), sporting his electoral pin, sat next to Rossiter (Clinton) as the two discussed issues including the Iraq war, health care, taxes, foreign affairs and domestic concerns.

“It’s very important to put the country on a new path,” Tracey said. “We don’t want to send the same people back to Washington.”

Rossiter agreed with Tracey regarding the current state of the nation.

“It is a very difficult time for our country,” Rossiter said. “We’re both Democrats and we should be working together.”

However, the debate wasn’t entirely harmonious.

As Rossiter and Tracey spoke passionately on their issues, there was some tension in the air.

“Sen. Obama has constantly attacked me,” Rossiter said after speaking out about Clinton’s plans to restore the nation’s economy.

After hearing the Democratic plans and debates on how to restore the nation, Republican presidential hopefuls entered the stage to put forth their opinions on the issues.

Present were Sen. John McCain, portrayed by junior political science and economics major Mike Peters; Gov. Mike Huckabee (Arkansas), portrayed by sophomore political science major Brian Hackett; Gov. Mitt Romney (Massachusetts), portrayed by senior political science major Dan Beckelman; and Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), portrayed by senior economics major Daniel Uffleman.

After thanking the College for hosting the debate, each candidate presented his view on how he would better the United States.

First to introduce himself was Peters as McCain.

“I believe I have the right vision for the future,” Peters said. “I’m ready to lead the next generation.”

His said plans to restore the nation to a better state focused on hard-working American families.

“We need to lower taxes,” Peters said, “and we need to lower spending.”

Saying he is running for president, not for vice president as some believe, Hackett, portraying Huckabee, emphasized his conservative views.

“Faith, family and freedom,” Hackett said. “These are my core beliefs.”

Implementing his tax plan of eliminating federal income taxes and replacing the tax with a national 23 percent sales tax, Hackett said he believes this “fair tax” will ensure a reasonable tax system that will promote economic growth.

“Americans shouldn’t regret April 15 every year,” Hackett said.

Sitting to the right of Hackett, Beckelman, portraying Romney, welcomed students, then moved on to a more serious topic.

“Washington is broken,” Beckelman said. “It’s time for a change in leadership.”

Hackett, however, said he did not believe Romney was capable of change.

“I don’t think Gov. Romney reached his political puberty yet,” Hackett said, “(and) right now our economy is spending like John Edwards in a beauty shop.”

Lastly, Paul, represented by Uffleman, focused more on the values of America than anything else.

“We have lost our way,” Uffleman said. “I’m promising change for the sake of freedom.”