Jerry Springer: ‘This election has resonance’

Jenna Staul

Jerry Springer responds to a question about his views on health care yesterday afternoon in the Kiva. DANIEL OWEN | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

Kent State students saw a decidedly different side of controversial talk show host Jerry Springer when he spoke to students about the importance of the 2008 presidential election yesterday in the Kiva.

Springer, who was brought to Kent State by the College Democrats and Portage County Democrats, discussed issues at the heart of the race including health care, rising college education costs and the war in Iraq.

“Most of us here are Democrats,” Springer said during his speech. “I’m asking you to get tough on our party. Whoever we elect, we must look them in the eye and say, ‘You must deliver.'”

Springer, a former mayor of Cincinnati, said he first got involved in politics during the Vietnam War and hopes to see college-age students vote in large numbers in the 2008 race.

“There’s no question you are a factor,” said Springer of the youth vote. “But the point I’m trying to make is I led the campaign for the voting age to be lowered to 18. But once we got it to 18, no one voted.”

The television personality did not endorse a specific Democratic candidate during his speech, saying “whoever we get, we’ll be in great shape.”

Joe Amato, senior political science major, said it was important for Springer to promote unity amongst the Democratic party, which is largely divided between it’s two front-runners.

“I’m glad he didn’t discuss who he’s supporting,” said Amato, a member of Students for Barack Obama. “Because in the end it’s about the general election.”

College Democrats President Patrick Burke said he was pleased with the event, despite a relatively low turnout that left many seats in the theater empty.

“I thought it went really well,” Burke said, adding the event took place on short notice. “I think it’ll help get people at the meetings and it will also help our (Students for Clinton and Students for Obama) groups.”

Springer, who regularly speaks at colleges and universities, took several questions following his speech and was swarmed by audience members shortly after exiting the stage. He took time to sign autographs and take pictures. Still, he said he hopes his message resonates with young voters both in March and November.

“This election has resonance,” Springer said. “We have a black man and a woman on the ticket for the first time. A lot of people will vote because they are dissatisfied with the war. But most of all, I think a lot of students are scared.”

Contact student politics reporter Jenna Staul at [email protected].