First Senate debate between Cruz, O’Rourke touches on immigration, other issues


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Cruz and O’Rourke will have three debates leading up to the November 8 election.

Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Beto O’Rourke faced off at Southern Methodist University in the first of three scheduled debates on Friday. The format of the debate was standard with each candidate having 90 seconds for each question directed toward them, 60 seconds for their opponent’s rebuttal and 30 seconds to respond to that rebuttal.

The debate covered a variety of topics including: immigration, police brutality, public welfare and more.

The candidates weren’t afraid to exchange attacks. Cruz continually asserted that O’Rourke is out of touch with the values of Texas while O’Rourke suggested that Cruz spends too much time in D.C. and hasn’t taken the time to listen directly to the people throughout Texas’ 254 counties.

One of the more heated issues discussed was the Second Amendment. Cruz argued that O’Rourke doesn’t believe in protecting the amendment. O’Rourke responded by explaining that he is a gun owner and understands the importance of protecting that right, but he contended that assault rifles like the AR-15 are designed to kill people. He believes that those weapons need to stay on the battlefield.

Cruz disagreed with that solution, arguing that guns aren’t the issue. Instead he believes that the core causes of these attacks are “removing God from the public square,” and “losing the moral foundation of much of our society.” He ended his remarks on the issue by stating that the best solution is not to take away people’s guns, but to increase the number of armed police officers in our schools.

“While I was personally cheering for Beto to win, I honestly think that Ted Cruz had the more well rounded performance. I don’t agree with how he won, but I think overall he did the better job,” senior Lucas Julian said.

The debate ended on a lighthearted question: each candidate was asked to say something admirable about their opponent. O’Rourke answered first and acknowledged that while he may have different opinions on politics than Cruz, he knows that his opponent wants to do good things for America. O’Rourke finished his remarks by mentioning that Cruz, “does so at great sacrifice to his family and to his kids, so I thank you Senator Cruz for your public service.”

Cruz began his own response to the question by agreeing with those sentiments and extending them right back to O’Rourke. He went on to speak directly to O’Rourke saying, “I think you are absolutely sincere like Bernie, that you believe in expanding government and higher taxes, and I commend you for fighting for what you believe in.” Cruz went on to say that he respects O’Rourke’s sincerity in fighting for those ideas.

After Cruz finished his response, O’Rourke chimed in declaring the senator’s remarks were “True to form.”

“I didn’t like that Ted Cruz was linking Beto to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders to pump up his fanbase to vote republican purely because they hate democrats,”  junior Claudio Mendoza said.

Two more debates are scheduled to be held in Houston on Sunday, Sept. 30 and in San Antonio on Tuesday, Oct. 16. The Dallas debate is available on YouTube for those who missed it on Friday.