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College Democrats and Republicans Rock the Vote

Caity Schneeman | Thursday, September 9, 2004

Donkeys and elephants went head-to-head Wednesday evening at Stonehenge as Rock the Vote staged a formal hour-long debate between Notre Dame’s College Democrats and Republicans.

Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies in Political Science Joshua Kaplan played the role of moderator as he asked the six debaters pre-prepared questions about their party platforms and the plans of each party’s presidential candidate.

Same-sex marriage was one of the first issues discussed. Republican John Thibodeau came out with a strong opinion.

“Marriage in our society has been set apart for years as an important and unique union between a man and a woman that produces children with a sole purpose of the development of society for tomorrow,” he said.

Democrat Kamaria Porter replied that decisions concerning marriage should be left up to each state.

“The only way to address the unrest of the issue over same-sex unions, is to leave the decisions over marriage up to the states,” Porter said.

Homeland security funding was also on the list of questions.

College Democrat Peter James Kralovec said the United States government is unprepared and needs to re-invest.

“We need to stand up for security when special interests get in the way,” he said.

Republican Co-President Tom Rippinger disagreed.

“Make no doubt about it, this president’s number one priority is and has been homeland security since 9/11, and with his continued efforts, our nation will be much safer.”

Other debate questions included the topics of the Iraq War, the current job market and the increasing cost of college tuition.

Before the evening was over, the debaters described their candidate’s strengths, trying to woo the crowd with ideas of strong ethics and convictions.

Rock the Vote Coordinator Philip Wells said the purpose of this debate was to encourage political dialogue on campus so as to create a more informed student body. That is why they tried to choose issues directly relevant to college students.

“One of the best ways for students to express their opinion is voting, and to take part in events like Rock the Vote, and really hear the message, so they can make an informed decision,” Wells said. “I think that’s the biggest and most effective action they can take before November.”

Rock the Vote’s next big event is Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. in Washington Hall. The debate will be between David Corn of the liberal “Nation” and Rich Lowry of the conservative “National Review.”