Carlson v. Cherny election debate draws hundreds
Students armed with noisemakers and pompoms cheered and booed as Tucker Carlson and Andrei Cherny debated the 2004 election Thursday night.
Carlson represents the “right side of politics” on CNN’s “Crossfire” political discussion show. Cherny represented the left, having been the youngest White House speechwriter ever at the age of 21 under the Clinton administration.
More than 350 people crowded into the University Club in Mary Graydon Center to watch Carlson and Cherny debate how the candidates and political parties were handling issues like prescription drug benefits and the war in Iraq.
Carlson is a conservative Republican but does not support President Bush, so he agreed with Cherny on many of the questions.
Professor James B. Thurber moderated the debate, which was not without banter and insults. At one point, Carlson singled out and criticized a speech Cherny had written for Sen. John Kerry.
Sophomore Lauren Zoebelein thought that Carlson was rude to Cherny.
“He kept cutting in and insulting him indiscreetly,” she said.
Zoebelein said she was also shocked when Carlson said he wasn’t going to vote in this election. Some audience members who were also surprised even booed Carlson.
Carlson explained that he didn’t like either candidate and so was abstaining from voting. He said people shouldn’t adopt a “lesser-of-two-evils attitude” and shouldn’t vote if a candidate doesn’t represent them fully.
Cherny, however, encouraged audience members to vote, saying this election would shape the future profoundly. He reminded the audience that the next president might choose four Supreme Court justices and that social security is nearing a major crisis.
Kennedy Political Union Director Emily Fuller said that she was nervous about the event because it was KPU’s first debate of the year. She had begun initial planning for the event over the summer.
“I thought it went really well,” Fuller said. “It was interesting and informative.”