Hours before the Democratic presidential debate began at Dartmouth University last night, students gathered on the campus common in droves. Campaigns signs for the candidates were plastered on lawns, buildings, children, bicycles and fences.
Before the 9 p.m. debate began, students chanted for Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, while a crowd of Tufts University students walked through cheering for New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.
Chants of “When I say ‘O’, you say ‘Bama'” competed with shouts of “HIL-A-RY, HIL-A-RY!”
The two-hour event saw eight top presidential hopefuls touching on a wide range of issues, with the war in Iraq and same-sex marriage drawing particularly heated discussions. Tim Russert, host of Meet the Press and frequent debate moderator, kept the candidates on track.
A question on immigration reform led to a discussion of “sanctuary cities,” which do not enforce all aspects of immigration laws. Most candidates agreed that federal immigration laws need to be changed before the question of sanctuary cities can be appropriately addressed.
Senator Joseph Biden, Jr. took the topic as an opportunity to jab Republican candidate Rudy Giuliani, former governor of New York City, which is a prominent sanctuary city.
“And last point I’ll make is, Rudy Giuliani doesn’t know what the heck he’s talking about,” Biden said. “He’s the most uninformed person in American foreign policy and now running for president, number one.”
The debate was the third sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee. The next debate will be held on Oct. 20, in Philadelphia, Penn.