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Crowd Packs Iona College For Final Romney, Obama Debate

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – More than 200 students and New Rochelle residents turned out to watch the third presidential debate Monday night between President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney at Iona College. And many were leaning toward Obama as the victor.

“I thought Obama did really well during the debate,” said Kyle Byrne, a sophomore journalism major from Connecticut. “I felt that he kept his cool, and I think that he was very confident in what he had to say.”

However, his friend Stephanie Stein said there was no winner or loser in the debate, which was focused on foreign policy and dealt with issues in the Middle East and China plus the U.S. role in the world.

“I don’t like to say that because I think it should be just about the issues, not about who won, and I think they both did OK,” said the premed freshmen from Woodbury. “I prefer Obama because I like what he has to say, but it’s a lot of finger-pointing, and I think it shouldn't be about that.”

Both agreed with Romney’s assertion that “Washington is broken,” including Stein, who said there should be congressional term limits and all incumbents in Congress should be voted out.

“It’s got to change,” said Byrne. “There’s got to be more bipartisan support. It has to. If it doesn’t, then this country probably won’t get on the right track.”

Obama won the debate, said sophomore Republican Carl "C.J." Funaro, a finance major and economics minor from Medford.

“Maybe an Obama win,” he said. “President Obama was sharp on his arguments and sharp on his critique of the economy, but I would say Romney held his water fairly well. He did get a lot of substance out of this, especially with relations with our allies, Iran, Israel and empowering again America here at home to strengthen us abroad.”

Bipartisanship in Washington is at its “lowest levels probably since Vietnam,” he said, placing the blame for that on Obama.

Romney could work better with Democrats and Republicans to come up with “a more comprehensible and a more strong resolution in the end,” Funaro said.

When it comes to watching the presidential debates and voting, Iona political science department chair Tricia Mulligan said it is very important to be an active participant in democracy.

“The best part, for me as a professor, is to see how engaged students are,” said Mulligan, who helped organize the event. “For a lot of them, it’s their first election and to see them energized and wanting to seek additional knowledge and be informed and vote, actually care, is great. I think that’s the most important thing for something like this. I think your choice is a personal one, but you need to know where their positions are on the issues, and vote according to what you’re passionate about.”

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