Student groups coordinate spring political match-up

A conservative commentator and a liberal pundit will cross swords March 4 at a debate co-sponsored by the College Republicans and College Democrats.

The debate challengers – Ann Coulter and Lawrence O’Donnell – were selected because of their sharply partisan positions in a matching that Student Association Executive Vice President Ted Costigan said he hopes will lead to a heated dialogue.

“You have like the real liberal warrior and a conservative maverick going at it, and it’s kind of unique here in the center of politics at GW,” Costigan said.

The pair will spar on contemporary political issues related to the 2012 election.

Coulter is a right-leaning columnist and controversial New York Times bestselling author known for her works such as “If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans.” O’Donnell, who received his own time slot on MSNBC last year, is staunchly left-leaning and vocally supports a liberal perspective on social issues. Coulter last came to campus in April 2011.

“We’re essentially pitting Fox News and MSNBC against each other,” Joe Maniscalco, president of the College Democrats, said. “I think it’s going to be a fun Sunday night.”

School of Media and Public Affairs director Frank Sesno will moderate the 7 p.m. debate taking place in Lisner Auditorium.

The two political groups are partnering with the Young America’s Foundation, the Student Association and Program Board. The event will mark the third installment in the Student Association’s new “Only at GW” speaker series.

Costigan has played an active role in bringing together University and student resources to help furnish $40,000 to host the speakers, tapping the School of Media and Public Affairs as a paying partner and asking for just $5,000 each from the College Democrats and College Republicans.

Last year’s $40,000 Newt Gingrich and Howard Dean matchup was funded entirely through student expenses – the largest single allocation made by the SA that year.

The coordinators hope to open the floor for student questioning at the debate, with some requests submitted in advance through Twitter.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.