The great debaters - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

The great debaters


by John Wilmer

CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -- The skills that it takes to become a great debater are not all in your genes, but learned in the classroom.

It is the room where preparation takes place. A room on the second floor of Lang Hall is where the students at UNI prepare to do battle, but not in an arena, instead in an auditorium.

Michael Pham has debated at UNI for four years.

"Trying to preempt what your opponents are going to say what your arguments are and how your going to answer them so you just have to have an open mind and a lot of research," said Pham.

Doctor Katherine Lavelle is the Director of Forensics at UNI and teaches students how to debate. She says to win you have to have a solid presentation and it also doesn't hurt to a have few one liners.

"If you're talking V-P debates you will look at the Quail debate in 1988 when Lloyd Benson told him he is no JFK and that what we remember from the debate and not what did they talk about solving the economy or how to end the cold war," said Lavelle.

As for the debate between Biden and Palin, Lavelle says both must stick to the issues and avoid showing too much of their personalities.

"I think people should be looking for someone who is speaking in specifics and about issues they are about because for somebody and a lot of people the economy is an important issue so I think people should focus on the issues they are about and will help them make a decision," said Lavelle.

"I don't think they're going to take a firm stance on anything they might just try to reiterate their views of their own party and mobilize their own base," said Pham.

The presidential election will also play apart in an upcoming debate on campus. UNI forensics will host a debate which will look into domestic and foreign policies of both John McCain and Barack Obama.

Online Reporter:  John Wilmer

Powered by Frankly