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At Iowa Central, the debate takes center stage

October 4, 2012
By BRANDON L. SUMMERS, , Messenger News

Iowa Central Community College students watched the presidential debate Wednesday as one large, nonpartisan group.

The Iowa Central Student Senate sponsored a party in the Student Resources Center to encourage students to register to vote and take part in the political process.

Many of the 50 students attending had already decided on a candidate, but recognized the importance of the evening.

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Brandon L. Summers
Iowa Central student Chase Herron watched Wednesday’s presidential debate at a nonpartisan party held for students at the college’s Student Resources Center. Herron was one of more than 50 students watching the debate and participating afterwards in a discussion.

Student Radney Rosso, who is planning to vote for fromer Gov. Mitt Romney, said the debates matter considering how close it is.

"I'm just excited to see what's going to happen," he said. "I want to see who's going to come out on top."

Student Deanna Gipson, a supporter of President Barack Obama, had looked forward to the debate.

"I hope Obama makes a great speech and I hope Obama wins, and Romney puts his foot in his mouth," she said.

Gipson said the debates will make a huge difference.

"This debate is very intense and this election is very intense," she said. "Obama and Romney, they're close in the race, so it's just a slight chance that Romney could win it or Obama, so it's very intense. Every vote counts, and this debate counts."

Iowa Central instructor David Drissel moderated the nonpartisan evening, introducing the debates and leading discussion afterward.

"We just want to get our students interested in the election," Drissel said. "This is the first debate between President Obama and former governor Romney. We're looking forward to having a good group tonight."

According to Drissel, while some of his students are interested in politics, some are not. Others are only now starting to become interested.

"I think really that what's happening is for a lot of students who are 18, 19 years old, have never voted before, and some of them come from families where there wasn't a tradition of voting, so now they're starting to wake up a bit and paying attention for the first time in their lives," he said.

For students who are undecided, the evening will be beneficial, Drissel said.

"I think this will be very helpful for them, being able to watch the debate as a group and seeing how other students respond," he said.

Drissel emphasized that the evening was nonpartisan.

"In the end, as a moderator, I'll encourage the students to express their opinions," he said. "That's when some students, if they want to, can express a partisan viewpoint, but we'll let all students express whatever viewpoint they want and they can discuss it, they can say who they think won, who they think lost or if it was a draw."

As an instructor, Drissel said the debate is important.

"There are a lot of very high expectations on both sides," he said. "Both sides try to basically limit expectations, but nonetheless both sides are hoping this can be a very important event for their side. President Obama is leading the polls a little bit, but at the same time, depending on his performance tonight, that can make a huge difference in how the election proceeds from here. And a lot of pressure on Mitt Romney, in terms of his performance."

Drissel, in his American government courses, said he tells his students to view the debates as a sporting event.

"A lot of my students are into sports, they like to pick sides," he said. "I said, if you're really into picking sides in a sporting events why not politics? I encourage them to think of it like a contest or a game, and we're now down to the finals."



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