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Students At Stamford's Westhill HS Get Animated In Mock Presidential Debate

Nicholas Smeriglio portrayed Donald Trump at Westhill High School's Mock Presidential Debate in Stamford Photo Credit: Sandra Diamond Fox
Rebecca Siegal portrayted Hilary Clinton at Westhill High School's Mock Presidential Debate in Stamford Photo Credit: Sandra Diamond Fox
Moderators were Rachel Fein and Tyler Lasicki Photo Credit: Sandra Diamond Fox
Many of the people who were involved in the Westhill High School Mock Presidential Debate, along with Stamford Mayor David Martin Photo Credit: Sandra Diamond Fox
Over 100 people attended the Westhill HS Mock Presidential Debate Photo Credit: Sandra Diamond Fox

STAMFORD, Conn. -- Will it be Clinton? Or Trump?

More than 100 people tried to decide who was the better candidate Friday afternoon at the Mock Presidential Debate at Westhill High School in Stamford.

The debate was hosted by the Advanced Placement Government Class under the direction of Sheryl Berkley, the teacher.

It was modeled after an actual presidential debate and included students who portrayed each of the candidates -- Rebecca Siegal was Hillary Clinton and Nicholas Smeriglio was Donald Trump.

Student moderators asked the questions, and all answers were timed. The campaign staff for each candidate was made up of over two dozen students.

The topic of the debate was Domestic and Foreign Policy. Multiple civics classes at the high school provided questions for the candidates and/or their policies running for office.

Stamford Mayor David Martin attended the event.

As the candidates answered each question, they got animated at times and mimicked the personalities of the people they were portraying.

In response to the question, “How will your economic policies and tax plans help to alleviate the growing wealth and inequality in America?” Smeriglio said, "My administration will lower taxes for all Americans."

He then got up and pointed to random members of the audience:

“You in the front -- Tax break.

“You, over there -- Tax break.

“In the back? Everyone gets a tax break. I feel like Oprah,” he remarked, which received many chuckles from the audience.

When the subject turned to the TPP (the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a free trade agreement designed to make trade easier between the United States and other foreign countries by removing taxes on foreign goods), Smeriglio attacked Siegal.

“The United States has to get out of the TPP because it will only kill more American jobs,” he said. “We need to renegotiate NAFTA, the worst trade deal ever, which Hillary calls the Gold Standard.

"We are going to be tough on trade and ensure that all trade deals benefit Americans, not Hillary Clinton’s foreign interests.”

Siegal then interrupted Smeriglio and said, “Says the man who has regular conversations with President Putin.”

This comment stirred up the audience and lots of laughter could be heard.

The moderators had to interject and redirect Smeriglio to finish his statement, to which he remarked, “I am the master of the art of the deal."

Siegal said, “Before instituting any trade policy, I will test if it creates jobs, raises income, and furthers our national security. It is the test I’ve used for every deal. The TPP does not meet this criteria.”

Smeriglio interrupted Siegal here and remarked, “That’s not what you said in 2012, you called it the Gold Standard.”

In response to this, the entire audience clapped loudly until the moderators asked everyone to hold their comments.

Throughout the rest of the debate, the two candidates continued to cut each other off, with Smeriglio referring to Siegal as “Crooked Hilary” and shouting out “Wrong” to many of her responses.

On the topic of ISIS and international security, Smeriglio said he is the only candidate who has what it takes to keep the country safe.

“I’m not going to outline my specific plan to defeat ISIS because I wisely don’t plan on telling the enemy how I’m going to defeat them, to which Siegal interrupted, “At least I have a plan.”

“Crooked Hilary apparently wants ISIS to know her plan because she has it right on her website,” Smeriglio smirked.

“ISIS has the Internet, Secretary Clinton. Let me make that clear. They have an Internet Explorer.”

On more than one occasion, Siegal remarked that anyone who has no political experience should not be president, to which Smeriglio would immediately respond that he founded a billion dollar corporation.

Said Berkley, “This debate reflected the energy, effort and hard work by the students in the AP Government class.”

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