OGDEN -- Political opinions were never more apparent than they were Wednesday when at least 120 Weber State University students attended a public showing of the presidential debate in the ballroom of the Shepherd Union Building.
Those in attendance cheered when their candidate made particular points.
They also had the chance to post their opinions live on a Twitter feed that was displayed on a large screen right next to a screen showing the debate.
Among the tweets posted were: "People need to keep in mind that there are two other branches of government besides the president"; "Harry Potter for president. Make Hogwarts the new White House"; and "Gov. Romney sounds more and more like Obama."
The reaction of the crowd seemed to indicate a fairly even split among students in support of the two candidates, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Bountiful resident Bailey Claeys, who plans to start school next semester, said she enjoyed the atmosphere.
"People are more comfortable saying what's on their mind rather than hiding away and not saying anything at all," she said.
Claeys believed that being largely anonymous because people didn't know one another's Twitter names helped them express their opinions more openly.
"It's hard to find people these days who are actually interested in politics," she said. "It's cool. People who came here are generally curious about what's going on."
Mandie Barnes, WSU's student body vice president of leadership who sponsored the event, said she was excited to see the number of students who attended, as well as their enthusiasm.
"I've had a lot of students come up and say they liked being a part of the conversation," said Barnes, a senior studying communications with public relations and advertising.
Barnes said she believed the debate itself went well.
"It's going to be a tough fight for both of them," she said of the candidates.
Dalia Grano, a junior obtaining a bachelor of integrated studies degree that she said will help her pursue health care reform, said she enjoyed the environment of the event.
"I'm of the minority party here in Utah," she said. "It's kind of hard. I don't get to feel the energy of the shared view."
Turner Bitton, a sophomore studying political science teaching, said he enjoyed watching with the group but was generally unhappy with the debate.
"They are so scripted. It's a very limited debate."
He said he would like to see a more intellectual discussion with all the candidates and to have the moderator check the "facts" being presented by the candidates.
Raymond Espino, a senior studying athletic therapy, said it was refreshing to see students expressing their opinions.
Originally from Oregon, Espino said he found it difficult when he moved to Utah to get people to express their views.
But Espino and others said they were disappointed with debate moderator Jim Lehrer.
"I felt like he got truck-rolled," Espino said.
There also were several tweets about Lehrer.
"No question the loser of this debate is the moderator. He is being walked over," was one tweet.
"What two minute rule?" was another.
Other tweets expressed concern over both candidates' violation of a two-minute limitation on speaking.
Students were encouraged to register to vote, and the paperwork to do so was available at the event.
There also was free popcorn for those in attendance.
Some students took couches from various locations throughout the Stewart Union Building and brought them to the ballroom where the event was held.
They said it wouldn't be the same watching a debate without a couch.