Two Pepperdine University professors did their best impressions of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in a mock presidential debate Wednesday last week.

Approximately 150 people watched as Dr. Dan Caldwell and Dr. Robert G. Kaufman argued from the point of view of the president and his challenger, respectively.

The event was held jointly by the Malibu Bel-Air Republican Women Federated and the Malibu Democratic Club, with much of the credit due to organizer Mari Stanley.

After a brief introduction by Rabbi Levi Cunin of Chabad Malibu peppered with humorous anecdotes about the nature of partisanship, the two professors gave introductory speeches outlining why voters should pick them (or the candidate they were representing) in November.

Kaufman argued that Obama had failed during his first term by ineptly managing the economy and projecting American weakness in foreign policy. If given a second term, Kaufman said Obama would raise taxes, national debt would rise and the economy would stagnate.

“California and Greece are the ghosts of Christmas future and where the nation is headed if we do not reverse course and elect Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan,” Kaufman said.

Voters should pick Romney, Kaufman said, because he could unleash the enterprise of the American people through his economic policies.

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Caldwell argued Obama stabilized the economy after the 2008 financial crisis, and supported rights for women and gay people, among other actions.

“President Obama and Democrats believe that governmental regulation is important to prevent the abuses that contributed to the great recession,” said Caldwell. “Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan on the other hand favor less regulation.”

The professors then took questions from local journalists (including The Malibu Times) on foreign and domestic policy issues, as well as questions on policy from the crowd.

The two differed on several issues, including whether the U.S. should invade Iran should it get a nuclear weapon. Kaufman intimated that under Romney the U.S. would use force, while Caldwell said Obama had been correct so far to preserve all options short of an invasion.

BY Knowles Adkisson

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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