Like the major party leaders debating in Boston Tuesday, student representatives from Emory's political groups shook hands, schmoozed and debated their counterparts about campaign issues in the student political debates held in White Hall.
But in the end it all came down to different definitions of government.
||Young Democrats President Natalie Jones (right) shows support for her club at the student debates Tuesday at White Hall. The College Republicans and Emory Libertarians were also present.
The College Republicans and Young Democrats argued its size, while the Emory Libertarians said there should barely be one at all.
The event, titled "I Can't Tell My Ass from My Elephant," was sponsored by the Student Programming Council.
Topics ranged from Vice President Al Gore's plan for lower- income families to afford higher education, to the Brady Bill, to the role of young Americans in the presidential elections.
College senior Mark Kawar, the coordinator of Emory Libertarians and the Wheel's editorial page editor, said government is too involved in Americans' lives.
"The government loves to break your leg, give you a crutch, and then tell you to thank them because without the government, you wouldn't be able to walk," he said.
On the topic of gun control, College freshman Meg Rithmire, representing the Young Democrats, refuted the Libertarian stance that it infringes on the constitutional right to bear arms.
"The founding fathers did not take into account M-16s," Rithmire said.
On the topic of the absence of young voters, College sophomore Daniel Hauck of the College Republicans said college students simply are not active enough in the voting process despite the fact that they are affected by the outcome.
The student debate was open to the public and some students said they came to learn more about the candidates and issues of the upcoming election.
"I came to inform myself on both sides because I don't feel I know enough about the election," College freshman Kelly Schmeelk said.
Others in attendance were representatives of student political organizations on campus. The College Libertarians, College Republicans and Young Democrats of Emory each set up booths prior to the debate to hand out information and food.
College junior Stuart Cherry, the executive director of the College Republicans, said the event was a good way for students to learn more about the different campaign messages, especially for those still undecided.
"It is a great opportunity for us to talk to those people who have not decided Bush or Gore," Cherry said.
Natalie Jones, president of the Young Democrats, also thought the debate was beneficial in gaining party support.
"We want to show Emory students why the Democratic ticket is the best ticket to vote for this election," she said. "Young Democrats are here to put the party back in politics."
Before the debate began, Associate Professor of Political Science Courtney Brown spoke of tactics used during presidential debates. According to Brown, clothing color is very important in the debate strategy. For example, candidates often wear red ties to provide a subconscious level of sexual charm to the audience and then employ a blue background to balance the red.
"Although I thought the Republican and Democratic responses were predictable, I was excited about the Libertarian presence in the debate," said College freshman Jeff Jackson. "It was beneficial for the students here to be exposed to issues of which they were probably previously unaware."