On Wednesday evening, October 3rd, two hours before the first Presidential debate of the 2012 campaign, the St. Mark’s history department sponsored a mock debate in the Putnam Family Arts Center’s Blackbox Theater. Governor Romney was represented by Hayden McCall ’14, while President Obama’s St. Mark’s surrogate was Rohit Bhatia ’13. McCall and Bhatia are leaders of the SM Young Republicans and Young Democrats clubs respectively.
The guidelines for the debate were spelled out ahead of time. The Moderator asked a question, then each candidate had 2 minutes to respond, the order alternating with each question. There was then an opportunity for follow up, with the candidate who first answered getting to ask a question on this topic to other candidate, with a one minute response, then vice-versa.
Head of School John C. Warren ’74 acted as Moderator for the debate. “Hayden and Rohit did an impressive job mastering complex details and explaining the positions of their respective candidates in an articulate fashion.” said Mr. Warren. “Hayden and Rohit also asked excellent questions of each other, prompting a deeper exploration of important topics.”
Foremost among the questions were those touching on topics such as gun control, education, unemployment, the environment, and health care. When asked who won the SM mock debate, Mr. Warren stated that “the winner of the debate was whichever candidate a person walked into the room supporting because Hayden and Rohit did such a strong job conveying the respective positions.”
The audience seats in the Blackbox Theater were filled. “The large number of students who attended the mock debate during their free evening time speaks volumes about the intellectual energy at St. Mark’s,” noted Mr. Warren.