Student VoicesBack to student voices archive September 3, 2012
Students Get New Perspective at RNC Breakfast
The PBS NewsHour hosted a newsmaker breakfast at the 2012 Republican National Convention that included a panel discussion with Republican leaders.
The event was moderated by the NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff and focused on youth engagement with party politics.
Alex, 17, SSN Multimedia Editor
The Republican National Convention has always been that giant off in the hillside. Months before it started I began to hear talk about the preparation, the security involved, the protesters, all on the news, never really near me. But the PBS breakfast we were invited to changed my view of the convention dramatically.
We arrived at the University of Tampa’s campus earlier than expected and instead of seeing the many screening stations and the security we heard so much about on the news – we just drove in. No questions asked. I assume our experience would have differed had we been nearer to the epicenter of activity in downtown, but I was still initially shocked at how lax the security appeared to be.
The event at UT’s historic Plant Hall started with a short introduction of the first guest, chairman of the College Republicans Alex Schriver. We had interviewed him before the broadcast, which unfortunately gave away most of the comments he made on stage. The next two guests were Ken Cuccinelli, attorney general of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Kerry Healey, former lieutenant governor of Massachusetts under Mitt Romney. And when the brief talk about the future of the Republican Party concluded – what seemed to be just a pitch for Paul Ryan – they opened the room up for questions.
Immediately, dozens of hands raised and dozens of questions were respectfully flung at the panel. Questions about social issues, economic issues, Obamacare, abortion, all were asked. And almost none was answered. It was astounding to see how the panel would completely avoid the question, instead pitching for Paul Ryan or blaming Obama. The moderator, Judy Woodruff, would push the three guests to answer the question, only to be dismissed. It was interesting that 20 minutes in, I felt like all I heard from the guests were the same three lines over and over no matter the situation.
This breakfast provided great insight into the Republican Party and politics in general for me. I now know I would never want to pursue a career in politics, and I commend all reporters who work endlessly to get the unbiased truth to the public. It’s difficult sometimes, but everyone deserves to hear the facts.
Chelsea, 17, SNN Opinions Editor
When I was asked to go to the PBS Newshour breakfast, I jumped at the opportunity. I am fond of politics and to be able to go to the Republican National Convention in any capacity is an awesome experience.
The young voters demographic seemed to be the main focus of the panel discussion at the University of Tampa. This is understandable because the main person that was speaking at this breakfast was Alex Schriver, chairman of the College Republicans. Other than that, the only thing that the speakers wanted to talk about was the economy and jobs and how Obama’s economic plan has not been helping America in the manner that they believe it should be. Every question asked would go back to that contention or would not be answered. They were experts at talking around a question.
My impression is that they find social issues to be highly insignificant. We were sitting next to Schriver’s communications manager and when an audience member asked a question about the pro-life versus pro-choice argument, she flipped her hair and rolled her eyes. This is a person that is supposed to be attracting young people to the Republican Party and she certainly wasn’t doing that by being condescending toward a pressing issue in America today.
By the end of it all, I felt I had gained a new perspective into politics, even if it wasn’t a positive one. It was definitely an experience that I will carry with me and learn from on my path to becoming a politician.
Symone, 16, SSN Managing Editor
Question dodging, conservatively-dressed Republicans compete with a mouth-watering yogurt parfait sprinkled with diced pineapple and strawberry chunks for my attention. Despite the delicious distraction sitting in front of me, I manage to keep my eyes and ears open at the PBS NewsHour Newsmaker Breakfast.
In the end, I’m glad I did.
Coming from a family of Barack Obama fanatics and living in a house decked out in Obama merchandise, from handmade Obama pillows to a three-foot poster of the Obamas’ first dance at the inauguration ball, I was raised to be a Democrat. However, I’m still open to hearing the opinions of the opposing political party.
After attending this event, many of my misconceptions about the Republican Party were cleared up. I used to view them as ultra-conservative rednecks or white-collar yuppies living in a bubble, completely oblivious to the real world and reality of the average Joe. But actually, they are regular people who happen to have different political views than I do.
I enjoyed listening to their logical stances about issues in the country – though I didn’t always agree.
Tooltip of related stories
Tooltip of more video block
Submit Your Student Voice
Tooltip of related content
Tooltip of RSS content 3
Young people do care about being part of the democratic process
On July 15, I joined hundreds of supporters, members of Congress and vice presidential nominee Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine to see Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton speak at a rally in Northern Virginia. Continue readingCivicsElection 2016Hillary ClintonPoliticsSocial StudiesStudent Voices
10 things to know about the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions
The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will not be the only exciting event to watch this summer — the Democratic and Republican National Conventions will also be televised.Democratic National ConventionElection 2016presidential nominationrepublican national convention
Calls for unity are met with protest on first day of Democratic National Convention
The Democratic National Convention began on Monday amid protests from supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders and calls for unity to back Hillary Clinton. Continue readingBernie SandersDebbie Wasserman ShultzDemocratic National ConventionDemocratic PartyDNC 2016Election 2016Hillary ClintonWikileaks
Hillary Clinton’s long time in the political spotlight
While Clinton has topped the annual Gallup poll of “most admired woman” each of the last 14 years, a CBS poll last month showed nearly two-thirds of Americans say they don’t think she is honest or trustworthy. Continue readingDemocratic PartyElection 2016feminismFirst LadyHillary ClintonSecretary of State
Donald Trump’s early years from trouble-making teen to military school star
Born and raised in Queens, New York, to a family of privilege, Donald Trump grew up in a 23-room house and was driven to private school by the family chauffeur. Continue readingbiographyDonald TrumpElection 2016presidential raceSocial Studies