Irish debate champions defend Obama in contest with UM team

On Thursday night in front of a crowd of about 20 people, the University of Miami debate team slammed President Barack Obama in a competitive debate about Obama’s first 100 days in office. Their opponents for the contest, which was held in the School of Communication, were three Irish debate champions.

“I like Barack Obama, but he is not leading effectively; that is an unfortunate truth,” said Bill Gutek, a senior and member of the UM Debate team.

The UM team, represented by Gutek, junior Jonathan Raof and junior Caitlin Augustin, debated against an Irish team comprising Andrea Mulligan, David Hopkins and Jeremy Kinsella, who are on a national debate tour after winning the annual Irish Times Debate sponsored by the Irish Times newspaper of Dublin, Ireland.

Gutek discussed Obama’s “unrealistic projections for the economy.” He argued that Obama has contradicted himself, adding that Obama had “laudable goals,” but that the deficit cannot be reduced with Obama’s rate of spending.

Mulligan praised Obama’s ability to “bring politics to the people.”

“No one has been able to do this before and he should be commended,” Mulligan said.

While Irish debater Hopkins contested that the role of “perception” is very important for a president, UM debater Raof said that Obama’s domestic and international perception is “irrelevant” and that he has propagated a “campaign of rhetoric,” adding that Obama’s foreign policy has been “a real failure.”

The public voted the Irish team as the debate winners, while UM’s Jonathan Roaf was named the best debater.

April 5, 2009


Claire Arritola

Contributing News Writer

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