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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Key Issues Students Want Discussed

Trojans critique Romney and Obama's campaign performance and pose issues they want to hear in Tuesday's debate.

Obama and Romney will face off for the second presidential debate Tuesday night in Hempstead, NY. (Photo by Associated Press)
Obama and Romney will face off for the second presidential debate Tuesday night in Hempstead, NY. (Photo by Associated Press)
Health, marriage equality and foreign policy are just three of the issues that USC students hope will be addressed during Tuesday night's town-hall style debate between President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney.

The second presidential debate is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. PST in Hempstead, NY. The 90-minute town-hall debate will feature questions from about a dozen undecided voters out of a crowd of 80 selected by the Gallup Organization, a company that analyzes the behaviors and attitudes of people.

Rules for the debate are strict. Microphones will be cut off if questioners veer from the question they pitched prior to the debate.

USC freshman and Democrat Jamie Ullman, 18, is concerned with the strict regulations for Tuesday's debate because it reduces confrontation between Obama and Romney.

"Avoiding follow-up questions leaves room for very ambiguous answers," he said. Ullman wants tension between the candidates to get "real answers."

Pre-screening the questions causes USC political science and business administration senior Barr Benyamin, 21, some uneasiness.

"Limiting what they can ask is counter productive to the town-hall style meeting," Benyamin, who is a Republican, said. "It should be a discussion where people voice their opinon and voice their concerns and the candidates try to answer the questions."

Political science and international relations junior Jackie Rosen, 20, is confident the town-hall style debate will be a more "efficient" forum for discussion.

After a dominating performance at the first presidential debate on Oct. 3, 2012, Romney is expected to build on his strong presentation. Obama, however, will need to bring his A-game to redeem himself from his weak performance at the first debate.

"Romney came out victorious from the last debate because of all the lies he told," said Ullman. For Obama to win Tuesday's debate, Ullman said he should address the falsifications Romney threw at him two weeks ago.

"Obama's team will tell him to be more charismatic and definitely more vocal," said Rosen, a Democrat.

"This is a great opportunity for Gov. Romney to show people that he can interact with everyone, that he's not just this rich white guy," said Benyamin.

Republican and neuroscience sophomore Arye Lavin, 19, discourages Romney from dodging questions he's uncomfortable answering.

"He needs to give more direct answers and answer speciifc questions," said Lavin.

Lavin is hoping both Obama and Romney will give more details about their health care plan, since neither candidate has been clear. 

"I'd want to know how Romney would change the healthcare plan," he said.

But interests in foreign policy, specifically Iran, is motivating Benyamin to watch the debate tonight.

"I'd like the candidate to really give as much detail as possible for what they will do to prevent Iran from getting a bomb," he said. "How they're going to handle the Iran siutation, what they're going to do to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."

The vice presidential debate moderator Martha Raddatz posed one question on Oct. 11, 2012 regarding Iran, asking Vice President Biden and Senator Paul Ryan to be specific on how effective a military strike on Iran would be. Neither Obama nor Romney has addressed the issue of Iran in a presidential debate so far.

Ullman is looking for more answers on the issue of marriage equality.

"Obama has come out as a supporter of this, but hasn't really addressed it as policy or law," he said. "It's a very basic thing that could be solved, but he's definitely neglected to address it probably because it's election time and it could possibly sway voters who are not for it."

CNN's Candy Crowly will moderate the second presidential debate and is hoping to press candidates for more thorough responses.

Campus screenings of Tuesday's debate will be held at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center in room 450 (free food will be served at 5:30 p.m.) and in Taper Hall room 101.


President Obama's comments are based in truth. Romney is a scary liar.

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