Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce’s Downtown Council hosted the mock presidential debate. Communications Department Fellow in Residence and former CNN White House Correspondent Dan Lothian provided critiques and insights to the students turned presidential hopefuls after their public performance.
The audience broke out in laughter when Political Science major Seth Harrell (Donald Trump) began his spiel on healthcare reform, “I’ve got to say, Hillary, I’m surprised you’re so supportive of Obamacare despite the fact you’re extremely jealous people don’t call it ‘Hillarycare.’”
Blake Kitterman, Political Science major, represented Hillary Clinton for the debate. His response to foreign policy reform concluded with an inspiring quote, “It is important to remember what Jimmy Carter said about us, ‘Human rights is the soul of our foreign policy, because human rights is the very soul of our sense of nationhood.’”
Humanities major Nathaniel Brown (Jeb Bush), Political Science major Tim Roberts (Ted Cruz), and International Studies/Environmental Science double major Kathleen Clifford (Chris Christie) all provided well-researched responses to the questions posed. Equally impressive to their research abilities, was the five students’ portrayals of their respective candidates.
When Lothian took over the mic, he emphasized the importance of resonating with voters/audiences and explained how humor, soundbyte lines, emotion, and stories were effective tools for the goal.
“Use stories to talk about what your policy issues are, because during the debate there’s a lot of information that is thrown out there; and it’s hard sometimes when people are watching either in the audience or at home to process it all. What they do remember is when you tell the story,” Lothian said.
Lothian also provided insight on the current presidential race,
“A lot of politics is fairly predictable. You know what will happen, establishment gets behind someone and that’s who typically rises to the top, number one. Number two is, most candidates don’t say what’s on their mind. So this is an unusual campaign where people say anything and that makes it quite interesting,” he added with a chuckle.