Granted, they won't be going to the polls Nov. 6 to cast their votes in the presidential election, but 10 attendees at Wednesday night's free public debate showing at the Rosebud Cinema were every bit as engaged as the rest of the audience.
The Patch-sponsored event drew a nearly full house, including 10 East High students who went for a civics lesson and proved afterward that they can analyze political events with the best pundits.
All were from social studies teacher Ann Ward's AP Government class.
"She wanted us all to come out here," said Jacob Martin, "and she was here, too. She thought it would be a really good idea for us to take part in this and watch the debate as a group."
"I think the advantage here is the bipartisan atmosphere," said Gillian McBride. "There were obviously a few people who are undecided in the audience, there were Republicans – a few – there were a lot of Democrats. At home, you'd get pretty much the same opinions. You wouldn't consider the other party's viewpoint."
"I thought it was exceptionally friendly," said Ian Reid. "Going into it, you could have assumed that it was going to be a very angry debate, especially the way the campaigns have been going really negative. I could count the number of positive adds on, like, two fingers.
"So, going into it they were really friendly toward each other. They started interrupting each other a lot more as it went on, but that's bound to happen.
"I would definitely expect a little more intensity in the vice presidential debates, because it's a little more low-key, but there's still a lot of pressure on the candidates themselves."
"I don't think I changed my mind on the candidates – not that I'm old enough to vote anyway – but Romney was very impressive," said Jack Lockhart. "I think people went into it with the taste of recent Romney videos, or a negative Romney idea, were probably pretty impressed with the way he handled himself and by how cordial he was toward Obama, toward the moderator, and toward the American people as a whole.
"Both of them handled themselves well, which is impressive in the political climate that we see."