HANOVER, N.H. — Students at Dartmouth College — the Ivy League school set to host Tuesday night’s GOP presidential debate — are an opinionated bunch. A late night stroll around the campus and an hour in the library revealed short fuses, long memories and loud voices. One student stood on a ledge in front of the debate venue, screaming at the top of her lungs in the direction of congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s empty bus, parked nearby.
“When I’m not in control of my own reproductive rights, that is not America!” Samantha Reckford, a junior, yelled. “So you can take your Nazi tour bus and go back where you came from, you patriarchy-appeasing c*nt! Go home, Michele Bachmann! You’re not welcome at Dartmouth!”
“When I can marry my girlfriend in any state of this country, you know, then she can come back,” Reckford told The Daily Caller. “I’m not even a Democrat. I’m a libertarian. And I’m just tired of this bullshit.”
Reckford’s girlfriend, a junior named Cally! Womick — she insisted on the exclamation point — stood next to Reckford in silence.
While other students weren’t nearly as vocal, they wasted no time in telling TheDC about the candidates they love to hate.
“Who I don’t care for the most is Mitt Romney,” said senior Jessica Drazenovich, referring to the former Massachusetts governor. “He makes no attempts to hide the fact that he supports promoting corporations and getting tax breaks for them and everything like that … He’s made his money and wealth off of corporations.”
Sophomore Lindsay Haut had strong words for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s pro-life position. “I find the idea of anyone making a choice for a woman, who isn’t that woman, to be pretty irrational.”
Eva Petzinger, a freshman and Pennsylvania native, agreed. “Rick Santorum — not a huge fan,” she said. “And I’m from Pittsburgh.”
But Bachmann, the most popular student answer, was at the top of Haut’s list. “The thought of her running the country is pretty scary,” she told TheDC.
Juan Morales, a senior, piled on the congresswoman too. “Bachmann doesn’t seem like she’s qualified in any way,” he said. “It’s the same thing people said about Obama. They might have been right.”
Responses ranged from the angry to the comical, with Andrew Lohse — a senior who says he voted for Bob Barr in 2008 — cracking wise about the only non-politician in the race. “Herman Cain is just a total clown,” Lohse said. “The 9-9-9 plan? It’s like a pizza delivery plan. That’s not presidential!”
Lohse expanded his analysis in an email, complaining about a debate that he says will be “clownish tragicomic political theater, featuring that crazy lady from Minnesota, The Grinch, Rick The Racist Perry, and some former pizza executive buffoon in a double breasted suit. None of these men and women can address America’s woes; I doubt the president can either.”
Other objections to Cain were more thoughtful. Chris Clark, a sophomore, explained his dislike of the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO. “I actually heard him say that he would not put a Muslim person in his cabinet,” Clark said, shaking his head. “He also said that it’s okay for communities to be able to ban mosques.” Clark, who is black, added that he’s not a Muslim.
Rick Perry attracted a few jabs. Junior Pat Healy said the Texas governor is “just too radical for me in a lot of his positions … In order to beat Obama, you have to be more of a moderate.”
A senior from Colorado named Aaron — he asked TheDC not to publish his last name — piled on Perry as well. “I’m concerned about how much religion informs his policy. I’m a Christian, but I think there’s a line you have to draw … And Perry was talking in a speech about how U.S. support of Israel had its foundations in some sort of religious affinity [with Christianity]. That’s scary, if you’re at all tempted to make political decisions based on [that].”
TheDC talked to several self-described independents, a group that the campus paper reported on Friday makes up one-third of the student body. Junior Olivia Scott is one of them
“I don’t really dislike any of them,” Scott said. “But I’m not in favor of any of them. I would vote for Ron Paul. I’m only joking.”
UPDATE: This article was updated after publication to reflect that Ms. Reckford’s first name is Samantha, not Sam, and to avoid confusion with similarly named members of her family.
David is The Daily Caller’s executive editor and a Dartmouth alumnus. Follow him on Twitter