Penn State Students Disappointed with First Presidential Debate

Story posted October 4, 2020 in CommRadio, News by Andre Magaro

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State students were shocked by the events that unfolded before them throughout the first presidential debate of 2020, which took place Tuesday night in Cleveland, Ohio.

President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden faced off for the first time to preface the upcoming November election. What ensued on the stage was viewed by many as disarray and informal behavior to say the least.

Senior Jacob Klipstein was one of several students who was open in voicing his displeasures about the event.

“There were a lot of uncomfortable moments,” Klipstein said. “Historian Jon Meacham said it was ‘one of the lowest moments, if not the lowest moment, in the history of the American presidency.’ I think I have to agree with him.”

Freshman Alaina Burns was another student left unimpressed with what she saw Tuesday night. She was looking for a bit more from each of the candidates.

“We didn’t really get a good sense of either one of their policies because they were just talking over each other and yelling the whole time,” Burns said.

Both Klipstein and Burns did note that a moment that stood out to them in the midst of all the interruptions wasn’t even a topic that was presented by the debate’s moderator, Chris Wallace from Fox News. It was the mentioning of Joe Biden’s sons.

Klipstein noted that topic remained on his mind all week. Burns noted the shift in Biden’s attitude and appearance immediately upon their mention.

“Personally, I don’t really think it was something that should’ve been brought up,” Burns said. “You could really see [Biden] was not comfortable with that.”

Freshman Michael Lemieus also agreed the candidates’ interruptions put a damper on the proceedings. He felt there was only so much Wallace could do as a moderator to limit the candidates from raising their voices over the opposition.

“[Trump and Biden] were talking over each other to the point where the moderator was almost useless,” Lemieus said. “Both parties just seemed like they were listening to each other and they were just not focused on the talking points.

The second presidential debate is currently scheduled to take place on Oct. 15 at 9 p.m. EST in Miami. However, its status may be subject to change due to the recent COVID-19 diagnosis for President Trump.

Regardless, the Penn State student body will certainly be looking for a more organized, structured debate the second time around, as Election Day draws closer.


Andre Magaro is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email

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Andre Magaro

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Andre Magaro is a senior from Enola, Pennsylvania majoring in broadcast journalism. He is one of CommRadio’s two student general managers. It’s there that Andre does play-by-play broadcasting of Penn State sporting events, and helps with the everyday operation of Penn State’s student-run radio station Andre is also a sports anchor and reporter for the Centre County Report, in addition to doing play-by-play for B1G+ as well. In the past, he has completed a broadcast internship in the Northwoods League for the Kalamazoo Growlers, provided feature articles and game day social media coverage of Penn State Men’s Soccer for Penn State Athletics, and produced articles on Penn State sports for Armchair Media. He can be contacted via email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and on Twitter @andre_magaro.