Political organizations from both sides of the aisle gathered in the Marvin Center on Thursday evening to mark the only vice presidential debate this election season.
Hundreds of GW students came to watch the highly anticipated political event between vice presidential nominees Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., and Republican Gov. Sarah Palin. Masses of red and blue balloons and signs for the candidates lined the sides of the ballroom and divided the two parties. The event was hosted by the College Democrats, the College Republicans and Program Board.
“I think it shows how engaged and important this election is to people in college,” said senior Amelia West, vice president of the CDs.
Although bipartisanship was a theme in both the debate and the viewing party, cheers and laughs could be heard erupting from both sides of the room.
“There was a little bit of difficulty hearing – the CDs were laughing at our candidate, which I thought was a little rude,” said freshman Cheryl Gribbins, a CR member.
During the debate, some of the Democratic students were playing “Palin Bingo,” noting buzzwords said by the Alaskan governor, which upset several CR attendees. Senior Brand Kroeger, chairman of the GW and D.C. Federation of College Republicans, was furious that students would play games mocking Palin instead of watching peacefully.
“While we’re trying to pick the next vice president of the United States, the College Democrats are playing ‘Palin Bingo,'” Kroeger said.
The party also featured a computerized exit poll in which students could vote for presidential nominees Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, or Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.
“We just wanted to see across the spectrum of all states represented at GW, if (student opinion) would be representative of how current polls are leaning,” said junior Wesley Callahan, political affairs co-chair for PB. “We wanted to see if GW students tonight are representative of the country.”
Overall, both parties agreed that Palin was a far better debater than they expected.
“I was surprised by how prepared Palin was,” said Jeff Goldstein, a freshman and member of the CDs. “I assumed Biden would eat her alive.”
Kroeger said Palin’s performance was a major victory for the McCain campaign.
“Sarah Palin’s doing a fantastic job tonight . she’s kicking Joe Biden’s ass,” Kroeger said. “For as much as you could hear over the College Democrats’ nervous laughter, Sarah Palin scored a knockout against gaffe-master Joe Biden.”