Almost 200 students watched democratic primary candidates engage in a televised debate geared toward young Americans in the Hippodrome Tuesday night. Broadcast live from Boston, the debate was sponsored by CNN and Rock the Vote – a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing young voter turnout.
Questions answered during the hour and a half-long debate came from an audience of young voters and e-mail submissions. Topics ranged from the war in Iraq and the Patriot Act to the Red Sox baseball team and personal computers vs. Macintoshes. The majority of candidates said they prefer PCs.
GW students watched the show in the Marvin Center while eating pizza and engaging in their own debates. Representatives from campus political organizations also set up information tables in hopes of gaining support for various candidates.
The Student Association, Program Board, Voices for Choices, the Student Global AIDS Campaign, Dean 2004 and GW Students for Clark hosted the party. Dean 2004, in favor of candidate Howard Dean, and GW Students for Clark, in favor of the Democrats’ newest candidate Gen. Wesley Clark, are the only official candidate support groups on campus.
“This is an important event for college students here at GW… at Georgetown, (American University) and across the country,” said sophomore Jonathan Ostrower, a representative from GW Students for Clark. “No matter who you vote for, just vote.”
In a poll taken at the event, Dean came out on top with 44 percent of votes, followed by Clark with 21 percent and Sen. John Kerry with 16 percent.
The debate opened with Dean coming under fire for a recent comment he made about wanting to appeal to all voters, even “guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks.” Dean defended himself, saying that few candidates reach out to certain demographics.
The debate was temporarily drowned out about halfway through as cheers erupted in the Hippodrome after a student asked candidates if they had tried marijuana. Dean, John Edwards and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) admitted to using the illegal drug, while Al Sharpton, Clark, Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Dennis Kucinich all said no and Carol Moseley Braun declined to comment.