More than 40 people listened to Grant W. Dasher ’09, Matthew P. Cavedon ’11, Elizabeth B. Graber ’11, and Ari R. Hoffman ’10 answer questions posed to them by Eric B. Lomazoff, the Quincy House resident tutor in government.
The debaters opened the evening with thanks to the moderator and the hosts, in a manner similar to presidential candidates.
But one of the audience members, Sanjida Rahman ’10, said she was surprised by how different the debate was from what she sees between the presidential candidates.
Both the questions and the answers were “more intellectual” than those in the three fall presidential debates, Rahman said.
For example, Hoffman quoted Hamlet, saying, “Conscience does make cowards of us all,” while discussing tax policy.
Each debater was given two minutes to answer questions that ranged from whether proceedings in the Supreme Court should be broadcast on C-SPAN to the amount and type of experience necessary for a candidate to be qualified for the presidency.
Debaters stayed within time limits without any red lights or warnings from the moderator.
The debate format included time for responses from the other debaters, as well as closing statements from each participant.
Debaters took strong stances on various issues. Cavedon proposed a massive reduction in military bases stationed abroad and said that neither Barack Obama nor Sarah Palin is qualified to be president.
While the debate didn’t devolve into character attacks, there was plenty of disagreement among participants.
Dasher, an Obama supporter, and Cavedon, a McCain fan, disagreed on almost every issue.
“I think Matt’s hand went up the moment Grant started talking,” Lomazoff said at one point.
Later in the debate, Cavedon prefaced one of his responses with, “I wholeheartedly agree with Grant for one of the first times.”
Lomazoff said there was “a manifest respect” throughout the evening.
“[It was] really nice to concentrate all that energy that we see on a regular basis,” he said.