Students of all political stripes gathered in dormitory rooms, apartments and classrooms to watch the first presidential debate of this election. And although there was one debate last night, students came away from the hour and a half debate with many different impressions about how the candidates had fared. About 50 students gathered in the Houston Hall Bowl Room last night to paint signs and cheer on Democratic Presidential candidate Bill Clinton during the first of three presidential debates. The students from Vote For A Change and Penn Pro-Choice spent the half-hour before the debate relaxing, chatting and coloring posters. But once the debate began, attention shifted to the room's large-screen television. For the next hour and a half students watched Clinton, President George Bush, and independent candidate Ross Perot deliver their visions for the future of America and occasionally spar amongst themselves. According to College senior Marcia Zabusky, co-chairperson of the Vote For A Change campus group, "We're here to show our support for Bill Clinton." She added that the students had also gathered to "prepare our efforts for Tuesday's rally," which she expects will draw at least 2000 people. Tuesday's rally, sponsored by both Vote for a Change and Penn Pro-Choice and funded by Hollywood Women's Political Committee and the College Democrats of America, will feature television stars Rhea Perlman of Cheers and University alumnus Ken Olin and Patricia Wettig, both of thirtysomething. As student prepared signs which read "Even Wharton is for Clinton" and "Read My Lips 'Bill Clinton,' " they cheered after many of Bill Clinton's answers and laughed at Ross Perot. "I think Clinton did a great job," College freshman Seth Rosenberg said after one exchange. "He confronted the issues." College junior Scott Sher, president of College Democrats, said the turnout for last night's viewing of the debate proves that "the general Penn populace supports Clinton." While most, if not all, of the students gathered in Houston Hall supported Clinton, across campus in the Annenberg School for Communications, a politically-mixed group of students watched the debate. The hundred-strong group of students, many of whom are in Annenberg Dean Kathleen Jamieson's Communications 326 class, watched the debate in three different classrooms and filled out pre-test and post-test forms to determine how the debate affected their opinion of the candidates. And in Perot supporter and Wharton senior Aron Schwartz's off-campus apartment, about 20 students watched the debate. After the program, Schwartz said, "While the other two candidates proved that they were out of touch with the American people . . . Ross Perot has proven that he is a viable candidate." "People recognize that ideology should not be running this country, pragmatism should," Schwartz added. (CUT LINE) Please see DEBATES, page 5 DEBATES, from page 1 'I think Clinton did a great job. He confronted the issues.' Seth Rosenberg College freshmanComments powered by Disqus
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