Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) and Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) brought the presidential race to Gaston Hall last night as they debated issues from the campaign trail and discussed student political concerns as representatives of the campaigns of Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain.

oderated by Scott Fleming, assistant vice president for federal relations, the Young Voters Forum attracted a nearly capacity crowd of Democratic, Republican and independent students still shopping for their candidate. For the first half of the event, Georgetown welcomed two alumni, Chris Cillizza (COL ’98), author of a Washington Post political blog “The Fix,” and James Kotecki (SFS ’07) of The Politico, as well as Jerry Zremski of The Buffalo News, to present questions submitted by students to the campaign representatives. During the second half of the forum, three undecided students, Peter Grace (COL ’10), Taylor Johnston (COL ’10) and Brett Davis (MSB ’11) replaced the panel of journalists and presented the representatives with a series of questions focused on social issues.

In light of the recent financial meltdown on Wall Street, the initial focus of the forum fell on the fiscal future of the country. Wilson said it is McCain who recognizes the shortcomings of raising taxes and the importance of economic preparedness.

“We need to be proactive, not reactive,” she said.

Davis countered that Obama is the candidate who is acknowledging the difficult economic decisions that need to be made in upcoming years.

“Your generation is going to have to make some hard decisions,” Davis said.

Both representatives said throughout the course of the forum that their respective candidates are advocating the moderate courses of action on issues including oil drilling, gay marriage and the genocide in Darfur.

“We can’t drill our way out of this, and we can’t conserve our way out of this,” Wilson said.

In response, Davis said that Democrats are not completely opposed to the option of offshore drilling and that Obama would support drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge if the measure was “part of a comprehensive solution.”

According to Davis, the administration and McCain’s support of the war in Iraq has left the United States in a weaker position to conduct effective diplomacy in the Middle East.

“Iraq has been a distraction from building a better future in the Middle East,” he said.

Wilson then criticized Obama’s claim that he would meet with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president, asserting that it would give Ahmadinejad “tremendous visibility and credibility.”

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