DENVER — When President Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney step on the stage at Magness Arena on the campus of the University of Denver tonight (October 3) for their first presidential debate , a select group of DU students will be on hand to witness history.
But for those who weren’t lucky enough to land the precious tickets to the 90-minute face-off, questions still linger about how both men will help solve some of the most important issues of our time. (Wednesday night’s focus is domestic policy.)
So in the lead-up to the main event, MTV News has fanned out across the emerald green lawns and ivy-covered buildings of the DU campus to ask students this simple question: What would you ask the presidential candidates if you had the chance?
For Maggy Hade, 22, a graduate student in library and information sciences at DU, that was an easy task. She said she’d ask President Obama about the further evolution of his view on gay marriage. “President Obama, there has been a lot of publicity and movement towards equal rights for the LGBT community,” she said of the president’s evolving viewpoint and support for gay marriage. “Will you finally support equal rights and civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people if you are elected for this new term?”
Her friend and fellow library sciences grad student, Andrew Wade, 22, also had a very simple question for the president: “What happened to closing Guantanamo Bay?” he said, referring to the Cuba-based detention facility holding terror suspects that Obama said he would shutter in 2009. “Because that was kind of an issue that you ran on in 2008 … so can we look forward to that happening?”
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native and DU freshman Grace Druml, 18, said if she could ask Romney anything, it would be if all of his sons are married. “Because I would want to date one!” she laughed. “Because they’re really hot!” (Sorry, Grace, all five are married.)
Jackelyn Nguyen, 22, a recent DU graduate who now works as a social media coordinator for the university, said she wanted to know what the candidates were going to do about the spiraling costs of student loans. “I was able to go to college through scholarships, but I know a lot of my friends had to go through student loans and it’s getting kind of ridiculous for them and it’s hard,” she said. “It’s a big burden and I’d like to know what’s going to happen with that.”
Minnesota’s Lani Pickard, 26, was excited because she had just received her absentee ballot on Monday and the social work graduate student said she’d ask both men about student loans as well. It’s a conversation she has regularly with her colleagues, often ending with the unanswerable question, “Are we ever going to be able to get past the loans that we have to pay off for seemingly the rest of our lives?”
Business school grad student Alexa Cain, 22 is worried about another issue that is on the minds of everyone from college students to their grandparents: “I would ask how health care reform is going to impact the younger generation and how we can better educate [them] on what is actually going on with health care.”
Check back for coverage of Wednesday’s presidential debate and stick with MTV’s Power of 12 throughout the 2012 election season.