Lynn’s Obama, Romney, Schieffer preparing for mock debateby Andrew Abramson | October 20th, 2012
BOCA RATON — No, these students are not Barack Obama, Bob Schieffer or Mitt Romney. But tomorrow morning, they will transform into the presidential candidates and moderator and play a key role in preparing for Monday’s presidential debate.
Eric Gooden (Obama), A.J. Mercincavage (Romney) and Andrew Lippi (Schieffer) were selected among Lynn’s student body because of similarities in height and build to the person they are playing in the mock debate.
It’s import for the Commission on Presidential Debates to choose a student who has a similar build so they can prepare the lighting and cameras. While the real Romney, Obama and Schieffer will do individual test runs before Monday’s debate, they will not appear together on stage until Monday at 9 p.m.
Gooden is Vice President of the College Democrats at Lynn, so playing Obama comes naturally to him.
“It’s an honor,” Gooden said. “Not many students get this opportunity to sit in the seat that the president of the United States is going to be sitting in.”
Mercincavage said that students already joked that Gooden looks like Obama.
“There was actually a picture of him recently in the Obama rally with him and Obama face to face. It was like a mirror image almost,” Mercincavage said. “He looks like Obama so that was kind of a no-brainer.”
It might be more of a stretch for Mercincavage both in looks and politics. Mercincavage comes from a Democratic New Jersey family, but said that he has been researching Romney’s views on foreign policy and national security, which is the focus of Monday’s debate.
“We joke about it and we think it’s kind of funny,” Mercincavage said. “I think it’s going to be fun and I want to do right by him. I took the time to research off his site, what he said in past debates, his points on different topics. Honestly, foreign policy is probably the least partisan of all the issues. I see a lot of stuff I agree with on his points as well.”
Lippi said he looks like the 75-year-old Schieffer “maybe in his younger days.”
Lippi is the student government representative on religious life.
“It’s really cool,” Lippi said. “I’m interested in politics, I’m in our student government, I’m really involved on campus. I’ve been following the debate, following the elections and I’m really excited for everything.”
So what advice would the students give the candidates and moderator?
Gooden on Obama: “Be aggressive.”
Mercincavage on Romney: “Look presidential.”
Lippi on Schieffer: “Keep it less tense than the last debates.”