2nd presidential debate tonight

By Chase Sanders

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A recent Pew Research poll stated that 20 percent of all American households have outstanding college debt.

That topic along with a potpourri of others will be discussed in Tuesday’s town hall presidential debate.

Shauna Sheehy, a UK senior, will be watching the event at 9 p.m. She’s motived herself to be more informed her second time around the voting carousel.

“I was 18 so my parents influenced me. My vote was pretty much their vote,” she said. “Now, I watch the debates, try to keep up with the news, and I’ve developed my own opinions.”

The UK nursing student understands that watching the debates is important, but paying attention to the fact checkers is even more pertinent.

“I watched the previous debates, and I thought Romney won since he was more aggressive,” she said. “He was throwing out stats left and right, but it was disappointing to find out that a lot of them were false after the debate.”

Sheehy is still undecided about which candidate she will vote for, but hopes that the next debate will give her a better idea of who’s box she’ll check off on the ballot.

She’s eager to see how President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney relate to Americans who are bearing the brunt of the Great Recession.

“I’m really looking forward to this debate, because the people from the audience will be able to ask questions. It’s good that they have to directly address average people this time,” Sheehy said.

She also looks forward to hearing what will be discussed regarding her future field of employment.

“I’d really like to hear more about health care, because that’s going to be affecting my family,” she said.

UK political science professor Richard Waterman believes Obama and Romney will reach out to college students in the debate.

“Obama has to talk about what he’s done for college students like extending student loans and having more Pell Grants available. Romney has to talk about creating jobs for young people,” he said.

Waterman pointed out that even though Romney won the first debate because he was more assertive, the same type of approach could be a detriment to his cause in this town hall style debate.

“If he comes out too aggressive and is on the attack, then he could come off too abrasive in this type of debate,” he said.

Waterman is almost certain that foreign relations will be a hot button issue.

“Foreign policy should be a strong suit for Obama. Libya is a weak spot right now, but China will be an area he focuses on,” Waterman said. “The president needs to point out that he and Romney have a lot of the same views when it comes to foreign policy like Iran.”

Waterman said Obama has to reach out to women. “Obama has to appeal to female voters that he lost in the last debate, who have real concerns about Roe v. Wade and abortion. That one issue trumped a lot of the other ones in the vice presidential debate.”

He also believes the moderator for this debate will play a more unique role than the previous two.

“Candy Crowley has the capability of putting both of the candidates on the spot when she asks followup questions. Candidates don’t want that, but that’s something that the viewers will need,” he said.

Waterman advises people to really listen to how the candidates respond to questions. “Get beyond the optics,” he said.

“Pay attention to what they’re saying, and pay attention to what they are not saying even more. If they don’t answer a question directly, take note of it. “