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St. Scholastica's young Dems make a party of the debate

U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken drew an opinionated gallery of student supporters to watch Tuesday night's presidential debate at the College of St. Scholastica.

Al Franken meets and greets at CSS
DFL candidate for U.S. Senate Al Franken (right) greets Jen Horner on Tuesday during a presidential debate party on the St. Scholastica campus. [DEREK MONTGOMERY / NEWS TRIBUNE]

U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken drew an opinionated gallery of student supporters to watch Tuesday night's presidential debate at the College of St. Scholastica.

Unlike at the debate in Nashville, the group didn't need to muffle their responses to Barack Obama's and John McCain's answers -- and the more than 100-member audience took full advantage.

The left-leaning crowd gave rousing approval to Obama's views and dismissive jeers to McCain's during a viewing of the 90-minute debate at Burns Wellness Commons.

If you're wondering how a room full of young Democrats reacts to the issues of the day, here's a list of how the students responded (from most supportive to least):

r Loud applause/ a few shouts: Obama's comment about the U.S. invading Iraq while it had no ties to Sept. 11, 2001.

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r Applause/a few shouts: Obama's statement on health care: "Well, I think it should be a right for every American."

r Applause: Obama: "I'm interested in doubling the Peace Corps."

r Smattering applause: Obama: "But we can't change it unless we fundamentally change Sen. McCain's and George Bush's foreign policy. It has not worked for America."

r Laughter: On Obama's quizzical look toward McCain after he said Obama will raise taxes for most Americans.

r Groans: McCain: "If you're a small business person and you don't insure your employees, Sen. Obama will fine you."

r Sighs/groans: McCain on Obama's request for a $3 million overhead projector for a Chicago planetarium: "I believe that we have to eliminate the earmarks. And sometimes those projects, not -- not the overhead projector that Sen. Obama asked for, but some of them that are really good projects, will have -- will have to be eliminated, as well."

r Sighs: McCain's statement on bipartisanship: "I saw it done with our -- our wonderful Ronald Reagan, a conservative from California, and the liberal Democrat Tip O'Neill from Massachusetts. That's what we need more of, and that's what I've done in Washington."

r Disinterested squirming: After an hour of debate coverage, the students anxiously moved in their chairs as their attention span briefly faded while the candidate's opined on health care.

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