Students watch Wednesday’s presidential debate at the UC. James Richardson
President Barack Obama and his opponent Mitt Romney went head to head in the first presidential debate of the election season Wednesday night, held just more than an hour from UNC, at the University of Denver.
As the debate began promptly at 7 p.m., University of Northern Colorado students gathered in the Aspen Suites of the University Center to attend a non-partisan watch party hosted by the Student Senate. BeccaHoy, the director of legislative affairs, organized the event.
"I think it is a great way to help students get politically educated," said Hoy, a junior mathematics major. "I think it was a pretty even match. Both had different tactics and both were equally coached in different ways, so it was pretty cool to watch."
The party provided chairs and a big screen displaying tweets throughout the debate.
Jim Lehrer, the debate moderator, was tasked with navigating the candidates through discussion on the economy, governing and the role of government.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, and President Obama displayed their plans about economic issues, especially taxes, as accusations flew back and forth. The issue was clearly a passionate one as they fought to get in the last word.
The topics of the debate remained centered on economics, ranging from tax plans, Medicare and unemployment, among others.
"I thought they were just kind of getting their feet in the water," said Ben Fuller, Student Senate's parliamentarian. "It wasn't too confrontational. I think Obama did as well as he normally does, and Romney did better than everyone thought he would."
Obama stuck to his statement on building this economy from the middle class out and criticized his opponent for not including the logistics of his policies, and instead giving too broad a message. Obama declared that the American people deserve to know who his opponent's plans would affect.
"At some point the American people have to ask themselves, 'Is the reason Governor Romney is keeping all these plans secret, is it because they're going to be too good? Because middle-class families benefit too much?' No," Obama said.
Not only were there visible student reactions to what the candidates had to say, but lightning-fast Twitter responses rolled across the screen during the debate as well - including a Big Bird trend emerging after Romney's remark on reducing subsidies.
"I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS," Romney said. "I'm going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. Actually, I like [President Obama], too. But I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for."