CNN contributor, former Clinton adviser Paul Begala pushes voting to CMU students


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CNN contributor and Democratic strategist Paul Begala used humor and inside stories to inform students of their importance in the upcoming election.

Begala, a former adviser in the Bill Clinton administration, was brought to campus by the political science department to discuss the issues of the 2012 election and the changes they would bring.

He said students are not only powerful with their vote, but are also powerful with their influence.

"Your fresh eyes on the issues in the election can change the views of us old people," Begala said. "You guys can run the government, but people who are older than you don't always let you in on that."

Begala's message to young people was simple: they need to vote in the upcoming election, or they are letting their country be run by someone else.

"I think it's un-American to not vote. Our country was founded because we didn't want someone else running it," he said. "Show up, vote and you're doing your part in running the biggest superpower in the world."

Begala used an analogy to explain the importance of voting to students. He talked about how people years ago put money toward the university so students today could have a better education. In Begala's eyes, when people go vote, they are making the nation better for the people who will follow them in the future.

Begala also used the stark differences in the 2008 and 2010 elections to show the power of young voters.

"Because your age group decided to vote, Barak Obama is president," he said. "The Republicans won 63 seats in 2010. That happened because six out of 10 young people in 2008 decided not to vote in 2010."

Along with addressing the need for young voters, he spoke about many other issues surrounding the election.

Begala stressed the issue of compromise among opposing parties.

"If you can't say that you love and respect someone with opposing views than you, then self-governance is not for you," he said.

He also explained the intricacies in successes by both presidential candidates.

Along with his views of the election, Begala also shared stories of his interactions with President Clinton and President George W. Bush.

He ended his talk with a question and answer session with the crowd of more than 200 people in Anspach Hall.

Orlando Perez, political science chairman, was pleased with Begala's presentation.

"I thought it was very successful. I thought Begala's talk was entertaining, informative and it was very lively," Perez said. "The whole thing was wonderful."

Perez hoped the talk made students aware of their importance in the election.

"I hope that they listened and realized how important of a part they play in this election," he said.

Begala echoed the hopes of Perez.

"I hope students will get on Facebook and talk to their friends so they can get people involved with politics," he said. "I'd much rather someone vote than sitting around watching TV. Voting is the most important thing you can be doing with your time"


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