The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday January 21st

UNC Young Democrats, College Republicans face off in debate

The Young Democrats and College Republicans faced off in a heated debate Monday night, which featured topics ranging from unemployment to the environment, but never strayed far from criticisms and defenses of President Barack Obama.

The debate was moderated by The Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies. Three members from each group responded to previously unknown questions.

The College Republicans were represented by Anthony Dent, Jason Sutton and Zach Dexter. Sam Hughes, Amit Rao and David Murray represented the Young Democrats.

On the agenda: social security, unemployment, taxes, health care reform, the environment, foreign policy, human rights and the situation in North Korea.

In an overflowing Dialectic Society chamber in New West Hall, an enthusiastic and left-leaning crowd supplemented a very spirited debate.

In fact, the crowd was often asked to rein in its cheers by the moderators, who were also kept busy reminding the debaters to keep their responses within the allotted time.

One comment that particularly riled the audience was Dent’s apparent criticism of Obama’s 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, after being asked about this year’s award to a Chinese dissident.

“I’m glad to see that someone who actually deserved the peace prize won it this year,” he said.

The rest of the debate didn’t stray far from the current president, as a major focus of the debate became how to view Obama’s actions in office as a result of the previous administration.

Sutton, the administrative vice chairman of the College Republicans, accused the Young Democrats of relying too much on the actions of the Bush administration to justify their arguments.

“Are you going to blame President Bush for the NCAA investigation, too?” he asked.

Rao, political co-director of the Young Democrats, responded to this criticism by saying that current problems didn’t suddenly appear.

“We aren’t pretending that the last two years have existed in some kind of vacuum,” he said.

Ben Dreyzen, a freshman who said he respects a good political argument from either party, said he wasn’t swayed by the speakers.

“The debate didn’t change my opinion on the politics, but it enlightened me on the tactics each party uses,” he said.

Sophomore Charlotte Smith came to the debate supporting the College Republicans, and found herself impressed with her side’s performance.

“I’m biased, but I thought we won,” she said. “The Young Democrats were kind of shouty, and I like how they got called out for blaming Bush.”

Contact the University Editor at udesk@unc.edu.

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