DENVER — Though the imposing security fencing and road blockages are bumming out some of the students at the picturesque University of Denver in this mellow mountain town, you could sense the excitement building on Monday night for the Wednesday's presidential debate. Even with the hassles, after months of vicious attack ads, students are honored to host the first face-to-face showdown between President Obama and his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
And with less than 48 hours to go before the gloves come off on all matters domestic policy-related, MTV News fanned out to the quad to see what topics DU students hope the candidates tackle.
"One topic in the debate that I'd love to see addressed is marijuana legalization," said Maggy Hade, 22, a first-year graduate student in library and information sciences. Hade, a New Jersey native who plans to vote absentee, said the topic is on her mind because Colorado voters will be casting ballots in November on an amendment that would legalize and regulate marijuana in the state. "I would really like to see that thoroughly discussed and not considered some stupid, hokey stoner's idea, which I don't think it is."
Voting in his first election, Breckenridge native Kyle Vanderkooi, 17, said he's eager to hear both men tackle the issues of immigration reform and their plans for fixing the still-slumping economy. Business major Vanderkooi, who considers himself an independent, is taking a race and politics class this semester and he's hoping that what he hears on Wednesday will help him decide which direction he's headed in. "I'd be really curious to hear them talk about gay and lesbian rights and reproductive rights," he said. "I'd be really curious to see where they stand [on those topics]."
For freshman Grace Druml, 18, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, having the first debate take place on her campus is a once-in-a-lifetime event that she's really looking forward to and she's already catching a sense of the buzz among her fellow students. "I really hope to hear them talk about abortion rights and hearing especially what Obama has to say about it and hearing Romney's side of it," said business major Druml, who plans to dress in her patriotic finest for the outdoor campus viewing party on Driscoll Lawn on Wednesday night.
The two topics that came up among a number of students who spoke to MTV News were immigration and student loans. Ultimate Frisbee players and social work graduate students Lani Pickard, 26 and Cassie Murray, 26, said they were both eager to hear how the candidates will deal with the millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States and how they plan to reform immigration policy.
"As a student, I'm really interested in paying for college," said Park City, Utah, native Sam Kern. "Any student, any parent is going to tell you that getting into college is only half the battle ... I've been hearing a lot of different things about how the government is going to help students and if I want to go to grad school, if I want to stay in school now I'm going to really need to start paying attention to aid."
Do you plan on watching Wednesday's presidential debate? What do you want to hear the candidates discuss? Let us know in comments below.