Republican Students Lead Mock Debate

Ron Paul supporters dominate Harvard Republican Club event

Unnamed photo
Vilsa E. Curto

Student supporters of Giuliani, Romney, McCain, Huckabee, Thompson, and Paul debated in Sever Hall last night about the presidential campaign issues.

Four days before the next debate between the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, their supporters at Harvard sharpened their teeth in a practice debate of their own.

And just as in the upcoming Univision debate, Tom Tancredo was not represented.

Advocates of six Republican contenders pitched their candidates in a debate held in Sever Hall last night.

Bucking the national trend, Rep. Ron Paul (R.-Texas) drew the greatest support. Of the roughly thirty students in attendance, half were cheering for the libertarian congressman.

The chair of Harvard Students for Ron Paul, Pedro L. Teixeira Jr. '09 drew sustained applause when he defended Paul against charges from opponents that he was a radical.

“Apparently being too radical means you're in favor of obeying the Constitution, you're for the rule of law, and you're for following the Founding Fathers," Teixeira said.

Andrew L. Schlafly, Jr. '10, who chairs Harvard Students for Huckabee, pointed out a Rasmussen poll released yesterday that, for the first time, shows former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee leading among Republican primary voters nationwide.

But the representative for former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney, David A. Lorch '08 was bullish nonetheless.

"Support a candidate who really has a chance of winning," he told Paul's supporters.

Schlafly drew attention to policy details. Speaking about illegal immigration, he said that while Huckabee believes in being tough on illegal immigrants, unlike other candidates, he does not want to punish their children.

Lorch said in an interview that Romney should have special appeal to Harvard’s Republicans as a graduate of both Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School.

"He takes the type of analytical viewpoint that’s characteristic of Harvard," Lorch said.

Also represented were student advocates for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson.

Caleb L. Weatherl '10, the president of the Harvard Republican Club, which organized the debate, told The Crimson in an interview before the event that the club's members are a mixture of students who had committed to a candidate and those who remained undecided.

He added that he had not made up his mind, and would not say after the event whether it had helped him make up his mind.