Town-hall debate churned smoke, not fire, said HU viewers

By Maulana Moore

HAMPTON, Va. – Education and jobs were issues that college students at Hampton University were looking to see addressed during the second presidential debate on Tuesday.

This time, President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney went head to head in a town-hall style setting, answering questions from an audience of undecided voters at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.

“I did not like the town-hall style at all,” said Domanique Jordan, a broadcast journalism major from Fort Washington, Md. “It seemed like the questions were rehearsed or planted in the crowd.”

She was focused on jobs for future graduates and the cost of tuition.

“If college is expensive, degrees won’t be given,” said Jordan. “No degree, no job.”

The debate was characterized by both candidates challenging each other on hot-button issues in more of a conversational dialogue than in the first presidential debate.

Shauntell Myles, 24, and a chemistry graduate student from Petersburg, Va., said while the dialogue was more aggressive and engaging, she didn’t get anything from the debate.

“I feel like if you really wanted to know who to vote for, you’d have to do it on your own,” Myles said. “These debates aren’t helping.”

Hampton University held its second presidential debate watch party, which attracted about 100 students, about half the size of the overflow crowd Oct. 3 inside the Student Center Theatre.

At the same time, a watch party – open to the public – was held in downtown Hampton at the Crowne Plaza hotel.

“Many of the movers and shakers of Hampton were there including Rep. Bobby Scott, news crews, judges and HU professors,” said Destiny Durant, a senior marketing major from Springfield, Va. and Crowne Plaza hotel employee. “Everyone was cheering for Obama.”

As the third and final presidential debate Oct. 22 nears, Election Day does, too.

The candidates have 18 days to win over those key, undecided voters.

The writer is a junior in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications