Budding politicos and reinvigorated Harvard Republicans gathered Tuesday night at the Harvard Kennedy School where they watched Herman Cain steal the limelight from frontrunners Mitt Romney and Rick Perry during the Republican debate at Dartmouth College.
Some students came to support their favorite candidates, while others said that they were not fans of the Republican party but still wanted to gain an understanding of the other side of the political spectrum.
“I think it’s important to look at both sides of the picture,” Will F. Poff-Webster ’14 said.
A few minutes after 8 p.m., shouts erupted from the crowd as moderator and television talk show host Charlie Rose introduced each candidate. Romney received the most vocal support from the debate watchers.
Throughout the debate viewers chuckled as the candidates’ faces contorted—sometimes with mock exasperation, other times bordering on outright frustration—as they listened to their opponents’ criticisms.
But perhaps the greatest outburst of laughter came when former Ambassador to China John Huntsman likened Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan—which proposes a nine percent income tax, a nine percent business tax, and a nine percent sales tax—to the price of a pizza special.
Said Benjamin D. Sprung-Keyser ’15, “I guess I expected that there would be a greater focus on Herman Cain and that more questions would be addressed towards him.”
There was also cascading laughter after Cain bluntly told moderator and Bloomberg reporter Julianna Goldman, “The problem with that analysis is that it’s incorrect,” in response to her contention that his 9-9-9 plan would not be revenue neutral.
“You’ve gotta give the man some credit for just going all out there,” said Isaac C. Dayno ’15. “I think they really put him in a corner though; what else was he supposed to say?”
Audience members clapped when Romney mentioned Harvard Economics Professor N. Gregory Mankiw and his economic policies.
Attendees at the viewing enjoyed free pizza and drinks that were provided by the Institute of Politics for the event. But not everyone was especially happy with the amount of attention that certain candidates received throughout the debate.
Corinne H. Curcie ’15 said that she found it “ridiculous” that the hosts “have not been giving [Ron Paul] the opportunity to speak,” even though “he has been winning all the straw polls.”
Four members of the Harvard Political Review were live blogging the event from their laptops.
The crowd expressed varying opinions of the debate as they left the JFK Junior Forum.
But some took the more heavily discussed ideas to heart. When asked how he would rate the debate on a scale of 1 to 10, Petey E. Menz ’15 responded, “I would give it a 9-9-9.”
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