DES MOINES, Iowa -- The students at Drake University that gathered to watch the debate said they were not impressed with the way the moderators conducted themselves. The students said the moderators seemed flustered and didn't do a good job of fact checking. The students that attended the watch party in the Courtside Club of the Shivers Basketball Practice Facility were doing their own fact checking as the debate was going on. Using their laptops and smart phones, the students fact checked what was being said by the candidates and also monitored political commentary by using Twitter and the app Sidewire, a news analysis platform.
Democrats, Independents, and Republicans all had their own takeaways from the debate. “If you watch the Democratic debate, all of the questions were about policy," said Madeline Meyer, a senior student who is an Independent. "They were not about voting record, they were not about things other than, I think the one question was emails and they stood together on that question, so I think the moderating is a little different for both debates. At the same time, I think it’s really hard with the Republicans because there’s way too many candidates there, and I think that Marco Rubio is one person who has stood out,” said Meyer. "With the Democrats, it seems like they (the moderators) focus a lot more on policy and the questions are a lot more policy related," said Meyer. "With the Republicans, it seems like the questions are a lot more related to the record, the voting record or Carly Fiorina's tenure as CEO, things that we`ve heard about multiple times, but for some reasons the moderators choose to go back to those subjects versus asking Fiorina more about what she plans on doing as president," said Meyer.
"As a Democrat, the economic policies of GOP candidates was something I was not quite as well versed on, and so the parts where they weren`t calling each other out for saying this is true, this is not true, was really the information that I gained from there and really the parts that stuck out to me," said Olivia O'Hea, a senior student who is a Democrat. "I`ve really enjoyed John Kasich. I think that he`s a great candidate. I`m not sure that he can get elected though. I think maybe Vice President," said Hope Waggoner, a senior student who is a Republican. "I think Marco Rubio has really come as a standout this debate. Jeb Bush, I`m not super impressed with. I think tonight he needed to show himself and he didn`t," said Waggoner.
The bipartisan debate watch party was sponsored by Sidewire app. This is the third presidential debate during which Drake students from both political parties gathered together together to watch.