Students react to democratic debate

By Will McGuinness

Senator Joe Biden finished his stump speech Wednesday night at the Democratic candidates’ debate, took Dartmouth College student Franziska Hertel to the side, and told her, “Today, we made the first step in ending this god damned war.”

She didn’t believe him.

“They all keep saying the same thing. They all say this now, but [candidates] always have a reason not to [follow through],” Hertel said.

Dartmouth students and interested locals were present to watch the event, but most were more interested in the candidates’ honest answers rather than the questions asked.

Candidate and former senator John Edwards asked the audience why they would trust politicians, a notion echoed by Dennis Kucinich who called many candidates’ responses “second-hand smoke.”

Regardless of students’ feelings on government, they emerged in droves and prepared for a night immersed in national spotlight.

“I think everyone’s really excited. I feel bad that I haven’t picked someone [to vote for] yet because I can’t go out and cheer for them,” said graduate student Allison Henrich. “It’s exciting because you don’t often see massive news media vehicles.”

Henrich compared the atmosphere to the first day of classes; students with anticipation for something unknown, but sure to be remembered.

College students throughout New England came to participate either as spectators or to work on a campaign.

Sen. Biden said the night was an interesting one since they were “on the pulse of the nation.”

Three New England College freshmen were holding up signs and attempting to stir up interest for Biden. While none had a particular interest in voting for the candidate, all thought it to be an interesting experience to be on the campus for the night.

Freshman Joe Dorian jumped out of the Biden van and expressed his interest in supporting Mitt Romney, while sign holder Garrett Marshall commented on liking Sen. Hillary Clinton. Marshall cited her experience in the White House and her stance on foreign policy as the major motivating factors in his decision.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that most don’t get,” Marshall said, “I wanted to come see what they had to say, see how people reacted, and to see what people our age think.”

The group admitted that their interest in politics was shared by a “caring majority.” While nationwide, many might cast an apathetic glance toward the debate, the students refused to be brought down by it.

They said it’s precisely moments like Wednesday night that could inspire a student to commit his or her life to public service.

Conflicting reports were issued regarding the number of student volunteers working the event. Two volunteers estimated the number to be near 300 while sophomore, comparative literature major Alex Lambrow thought it to be near 150.

Regardless of the number, he said, “I’m surprised by the amount of political activism on the campus tonight. I’m fairly certain the student [body] is more active than any other schools that have held a debate so far.”

He declined to comment on who his favorite candidate was going into the debate, saying their answers will decide his choice later in the night.

Henrich addressed the interesting atmosphere since the majority of the campus seemed to be liberal