Students take roles of candidates in debate rehearsal
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Students take roles of candidates in debate rehearsal

Before the Presidential candidates ever set foot in the debate hall, Belmont volunteers and the technical crew staged a rehearsal debate in preparation for Tuesday.

Students were asked to play the roles of Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. John McCain, NBC’s Tom Brokaw and even the audience members.

“I got called by Anne Edmonds in admissions and she said ‘I think that you would make a great Tom Brokaw,’” senior Chase Neely said in regard to how he became involved.

Sophomores Steven Martin and Brett Parker received phone calls and were tapped to play Obama and McCain, respectively.

“They just told us we’d be helping out with the debate, they didn’t say how,” Parker said. ”It’s definitely surpassed all my expectations.”

Neither Martin nor Parker are political junkies, but rather “casual follower[s],” as Parker put it.

“I put on my nice suit. That was pretty much it,” Martin said about preparing for the rehearsal, but later explained there was a certain level of common knowledge as well as the timeliness of discussions in his macroeconomics class that aided him.

Neely joked that he didn’t exactly review any Brokaw tapes.

Neely and the volunteers got to make up the questions they asked the faux candidates. Of course that meant Parker and Martin had to make up their answers.

“We didn’t know the answers we’d be getting asked so we just kind of had to answer on our feet,” Parker said.

There is another rehearsal scheduled for Tuesday, but beyond that nothing is certain.

“I think I will be watching [the debate] on my TV at home which is going to be a lot of fun. I can get out of this suit, relax a little bit,” Neely said about where he will be Tuesday night.

“It would be very nice if we could watch it in here,” Martin said. All three made it clear that they will definitely be watching the real version.

Neely commented on the experience saying that it was not only humbling but “it was just a lot of fun to be able to put on that hat and play that role for one day.”

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