PURCHASE, N.Y. – More than 125 Manhattanville students came together again on the college campus Tuesday night to watch President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in the second presidential debate held at Hofstra University.
While several national polls said Romney won the first debate two weeks ago, the Manhattanville reaction, through a show of hands at the end, favored Obama this time around. Several citizens at the town hall event asked questions ranging from immigration reform and the unemployment rate for recent college graduates to the Benghazi terrorist attack and energy independence.
Justyn Richardson, a senior political economy major from Rhinebeck, said he thought Obama won the debate and was strong Tuesday.
“I just think Obama was not only a better speaker, but the content was better as well,” said Richardson. “In one of the interviews President Obama had, he said he was too kind last time, which is something I noticed the first time as well,” he said referencing the first debate. “I think this time he was willing to bring the fire and he did not underestimate Governor Romney.”
Richardson said Obama was more specific than Romney in answering questions and felt the former governor of Massachusetts played “on emotional cards with national security.” He credited Obama for his success in “getting us out of Iraq and getting Osama Bin Laden.”
Casey Farrington, a senior communications major from White Plains, thought Romney won the debate.
“There were some flaws obviously with how Romney handled some situations,” said Farrington. “But, Romney had a lot more facts and Obama, when he attacked Romney, just kept on saying, ‘Well, that’s not true, I don’t agree with that,’ but he didn’t have as many significant points as Romney did.”
Farrington was glad she made the second debate at Manhattanville’s Berman Student’s Center because she missed the first one.
“It’s late, so I’m really exhausted, but I’m happy I made it and it’s definitely good, I think, for young people to watch this,” she said.
With many Manhattanville students enjoying the viewing of the first debate, there was an even bigger turnout for the second debate.
“I think the first debate was such a surprise,” said Anthony Rudel, visiting lecturer in the communication studies department, who helped put together the event. “I think there was a real buzz around campus about how (the students) had a good time watching it last time, getting more out of it – let’s go.”
The debate-watching event was planned by Rudel and three other Manhattanville professors over breakfast the week before Obama and Romney’s first showdown. They all believe that students should watch the debate.
The third and final presidential debate will take place Oct. 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. It will begin at 9 p.m. and focus on foreign policy.
Who do you think won the second debate – were you undecided and now have your mind made up, or are you more strongly behind your candidate after tonight? Answer our poll or comment below.