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Crowds Gather for the USF Republican Debate

Supporters and protesters alike are gathered on the University of South Florida campus for tonight's debate.

As the four Republican candidates took to the stage for , supporters and protestors alike gathered on the University of South Florida campus to share their opinions.

"I wanted people to know that (Ron Paul's) supporters don't just represent fringe folks," said William Mahmet, 30, of St. Petersburg. "We are regular folks, too."

Northwest Tampa resident Terry Wickman turned out to show his support for former House speaker Newt Gingrich.

"If you watch the debates, he has the best answers ... there's nothing canned about it. You need a leader in this country — not someone who just reads a teleprompter."

USF students were also out in force, with some protesting the Republican platform.

"We are protesting the issues we have with the GOP's issues," said a student named Hunter who wouldn't give his last name. "We are here to show we are the people."

He says the Republican party is discriminatory to groups including the lesbian, gay and transgendered community.

Stay with Patch for more updates about the debate.

Alexander Smith January 24, 2012 at 05:02 AM
please tell the truth......over 95% of the crowd there was for Ron Paul. There were more democrats there than Newt< Romney ans Santorum supporters. It looked like a Ron Paul event, for crying out loud. The photos are not truly representative samples of the crowd.
bobthe January 24, 2012 at 06:01 AM
i always laugh when i see students at a university supporting ron paul. i wonder how many of them filled out the FAFSA. probably all of them, as most all college students do. i wonder what they will do to replace pell grants and stafford loans if paul was ever elected.
Michael Stoyer January 24, 2012 at 06:20 AM
On picture #2 the caption reads "Ron Paul supporters turn out for the debate." There are a couple on the sides, but all the red signs with capital letters (and the OBAMA IS A MOSLEM sign) are Terry Jones supporters. That could be misleading. http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/400360_10150638440506929_776716928_11155994_2102344374_n.jpg @bobthe the grants essentially amount to the government subsidizing college degrees. If they stopped we'd probably see prices go down (many people in my parents' generation have bragged that they "paid for their first two years of college working summers at mcdonalds") and the number of people getting college degrees go down as well. Considering how many hospitality, art history and literature majors I saw in school, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
bobthe January 24, 2012 at 06:43 AM
Michael, while i agree with you with regards to art history degrees, college wont get cheaper just because there will be less money to pay for it. SOME schools who are conservative with their endowment might be able to loosen the spigots a bit, but when it comes to state schools it's likely either make the state pay or make the students pay. given how POed the university of california students are that the state has the nerve to ask them to pick up 35% of the cost of their education, i dont expect to see students footing the bill any time soon.

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