End Of The Road
As election season winds down, students react to final debate
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 26, 2012 04:10
Third time’s a charm for a number of Plattsburgh State students who saw the last presidential debate Monday.
“All gloves are off. It’s the homestretch right now before Election Day,” Justin Spear, senior, said.
Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama debated foreign policy making one of their last attempts to convince voters.
The candidates drew the lines between each other’s proposals in sensitive topics such as foreign intervention in the Middle East, economic sanctions and defense spending.
Both said to be advocates for world peace and stability in foreign nations. However, their approaches differed.
“Well, my strategy is pretty straightforward, which is to go after the bad guys, to make sure we do our very best to interrupt them, to — to kill them, to take them out of the picture,” Romney said about combating fundamental terrorists in the Middle East.
His strategy, he said, was a part of a broader plan to reject extremism in the Muslim world.
Obama, on the other hand, called for nation building as the ultimate resource for defense.
“As commander in chief, I will maintain the strongest military in the world, keep faith with our troops and go after those who would do us harm. But after a decade of war, I think we all recognize we got to do some nation building here at home, rebuilding
our roads, our bridges and especially caring for our veterans who’ve sacrificed so much for our freedom,” the president said.
During the half-hour the debate lasted, the candidates diverged from foreign to domestic policy.
Moderator Bob Schieffer tried to keep them on task by restating the questions or making follow ups.
Students on campus noticed different aspects changed from the first to the last presidential debate.
Spear said he thought the last debate was enjoyable than some of the previous ones.
“Compared to the first (debate), Obama did a better job standing up, correcting Romney on a few things,” he said. “The second was my favorite. They were hip to hip.”
For Colin Seiler, senior, there was a contrast in the performance of the candidates.
“I feel like Romney defended his stances and Obama proposed more,” he said, adding that in the first debate Romney had been more energetic and less defensive.
Other students, like Jessica Bastone, senior and Student Association senator, said there were not so many different stances.
“Obama would take one, Romney would enforce it,” Bastone said. “It aggravated me that Romney focused on domestic policy. He wasn’t as strong as he had been before.”
Some did not see the debate at all.
“I find the debate to be useless. All of them are about popularity opposed to content,” Charlie Shi, student and senator for the Student Association, said.
Shi said he only saw the first debate because of this lack of content.
“Just because you win the debates that does not make you a better candidate,” he said.
A moment that made some students laugh was when Romney proposed a bigger navy for the United States because it “is smaller now than any time since 1917.”
Obama responded by saying the United States also has fewer horses and bayonets and that the nature of the military has changed.
Despite Seiler, Bastin or Spear recognized Obama’s remark was funny, they said there more things to be concerned about.
“We don’t need a bigger navy,” Seiler said. “I don’t think we’re as friends with the Middle East as we could.”
Seiler said he thinks the candidates should invest money on more important things, like providing birth control for women or improving Medicaid, than expanding the navy or the military.
“The ability to embrace other views is a characteristic the United States’ needs to reduce racism and diminish hostility,” Seiler said.
Bastone said that the United States should give aid and enforce human rights for women in foreign countries.
“When you’re working to contain governments that oppress women according to international laws, you’re working for equality for women around the world,” she said.
Spear said he thinks establishing more stable relationships is safer on the long run.
“Cutting aid or expanding the military is effective now, but it is also dangerous,” he said.
Spear said he thinks students who are planning to vote need to get informed and make their own choices.
“Check the videos on you tube, even just the highlights. Read news articles about their promises. Don’t trust the polls. We have a part in this decision,” he said.
Email Franco Bastida at franco.bastida@