Debaters Bring Presidential Campaign To Local Level

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The Ohio Valley Summer Theatre used the upcoming presidential election as a way to raise money through a debate held Monday night.

The fundraising event held at the Market On State Street presented two opposing views of who should be the next US president.

WOUB's General Manager Tom Hodson moderated the event, which featured David Wihelm representing Democratic President Barack Obama and Richard Vedder representing Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Wilhelm has had a long political career, having worked on the Clinton and Biden campaigns, and Vedder is an author and economics professor at Ohio University.

Both defended their candidates on topics such as the economy and health care, explaining how national issues affected Athens residents on a local level.

Wilhelm and Vedder, who have debated against each other in these types of events before, had another motive for facing off. 

“It's all about turnout at this point. There are very, very few undecided people left. It's time to get your supporters to the polls,” said Wilhelm.

“The real goal is, as the moderator Tom Hodson said, to really make people more informed, make more intelligent choices, ones that are more consistent with their own values and beliefs,” agreed Vedder.

An interesting fact, Wilhelm and Vedder are actually close family friends.