Students View Republican Debate

Republican Presidential Candidates emphasized moral decay in America, as approximately 30 people watched at the Institute of Politics (IOP) via a live satellite feed from New Hampshire Wednesday night.

Following an initial power outage which threatened to end the event, the candidates explained why they would be the best president in their eight minutes of air time.

Alan Keyes, a former Reagan administration official, generated the most response from the audience when he said the Federal Government should address the restoration of morals, although not by legislating morality, while also addressing economic and social issues.

Other candidates agreed that the moral issues were significant.

Representative Robert Dornan of California referred to the O.J. Simpson trial as an example of the "advanced and accelerating moral decay" in America.


The moderator used the Simpson trial to raise the issue of race relations and affirmative action in America.

Texas Senator Phil Gramm shared his views on affirmative action, saying, "When my hand comes off the Bible [after being sworn in as President], I will pick up a pen and by Executive Order overturn all minority quotas and set-asides in the Federal Government."

Audience members were also concerned with the issue of moral decay.

John R. Stith, a graduate student at the Kennedy School of Government, said he agreed with Keyes that "legislating morality is a fake question."

Stith said he is concerned that "[Keyes] does not understand what conservative economics would do to American society."

Another popular topic of the evening was experience in Washington, with Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas stressing his experience and others portraying themselves as outsiders.

Steven J. Mitby '99, said he favored Dole because of this experience and his "vision and perhaps a keener understanding of the issues."

But former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander stressed the importance of having a candidate not from Washington. "I think it will take a candidate from outside Washington, D.C. to beat Bill Clinton," he said.

Commentator Pat Buchanan also emphasized the fact that he was "not a professional politician" and proclaimed his support for term limits in Congress.

But Buchanan's comments about ending welfare drew hisses from the crowd. Throughout the program, audience members at the IOP discussed their own political views while commenting on those of the candidates. But many of the people in the audience came merely to listen to the candidates.

"[I came to] be informed of each candidates stance," said Victoria Kennedy '97.

One supporter of retired Gen. Colin Powell even attended the panel.

"I'm very involved in the Powell campaign and wanted to hear the debate," said Judy M. Jackson, a graduate of the School of Public Health.

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