TRANSCRIPT: STUDENT JEREMY EPSTEIN, THE FIRST UNDECIDED VOTER TO POSE A QUESTION TO THE CANDIDATES AT LAST NIGHT’S DEBATE, DISCUSSES HIS EXPERIENCE ON MSNBC’S “THE DAILY RUNDOWN”
NEW YORK, NY—October 17, 2012—Jeremy Epstein, student at Adelphi University and the first undecided voter to pose a question to President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney in last night’s debate at Hofstra University, stopped by MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown” this morning to share his thoughts on the experience with Chuck Todd. Epstein said that he was taken by surprise when asked to pose the first question, but felt that both candidates were sincere in their responses.
Transcript is below – if used, please give credit to MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown.”
Chuck Todd, host: The 82 undecided voters gathered at Hofstra University all submitted questions to moderator Candy Crowley, who had hoped to hone it down to around 15; in fact, she got to just 11 questions. Four dealt with the economy, three gave the candidates an opportunity to clarify or defend positions. Rounding out the list were questions on immigration, Libya, gun control and education. The very first question came from 20-year-old college student Jeremy Epstein, and he joins me now. Jeremy, it’s nice to meet you, thank you for coming in.
Jeremy Epstein, student: It’s nice to meet you too, thank you for having me.
Todd: Alright, tell me quickly a little about yourself. Where do you go to school, and what’s your major?
Epstein: I’m a student at Adelphi University and I’m studying exercise science, which will hopefully lead to a career in being a physical therapist, and I’m also interested in the field of communications.
Todd: Your question last night had to do with essentially the topic #1, which is, am I going to get a job when I’m out of school? You heard both answers, they looked you in the eye, what did you make of their answers?
Epstein: Well, Mitt Romney’s first answer – I felt like he was staring into my soul, just right through me, when he was asking me the question. I felt like, you know he offered me a job five minutes into the debate, I felt like his answer was sincere. And then when the President came up, I felt like he, you know he started up by saying my future’s bright – I feel like they were both sincere. They talked very well, eloquently, and I felt they both gave good answers.
Todd: You walked into this, you said you were an undecided voter. Take me behind the scenes – yesterday, for instance, when did you find out you were going to ask a question, let alone the first question?
Epstein: Well, I didn’t find out I was going to ask a question until Candy called on me.
Todd: Right there, live? She did not give you a heads up that you were going to be first?
Epstein: During the rehearsals I was trying to like ask her, Candy if I’m asking a question, please let me know.
Todd: Right, you were, I would imagine, a little bit nervous.
Epstein: I had a feeling, because I was the first person to get their card back with the question, then I saw the question that they gave me and I was like ok, I’m probably going to have to ask this at some point.
Todd: Wait a minute, say that again – you said the question that they gave you. Explain.
Epstein: I mean the card that I wrote – we submitted four questions.
Todd: Ok, you submitted four questions. I see -
Epstein: And then the card that they gave me back –
Todd: Of the four that you had submitted, you thought, uh oh. Were you excited or were you nervous?
Epstein: At first, when people from the debate, the other people from the debate who were with me, were coming up to me saying “we all hear you’re going to ask the first question,” and I was like, “I don’t even know I’m going to ask it.” So, I was a little nervous. It took me – because we had a lot of down time – the rehearsal ended around five, so from five to 7:45 we just sat there, so I had plenty of time to think, ok don’t mess up, try to speak eloquently. Don’t seem nervous. Don’t embarrass the family.
Todd: I don’t think you embarrassed your family at all. I thought you were terrific, you generally came across as – you sounded like an undecided voter – you still sound like an undecided voter. Are you still undecided?
Epstein: No, I think I made a decision.
Todd: Do you want to share it with us, or not yet?
Epstein: I don’t know, I think I should wait until after Election Day.
Todd: Fair enough. Finally, after the debate, did you get a chance to interact with the two candidates?
Epstein: Yeah, I was talking to Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. I spoke to Mitt Romney briefly – said thank you for the question. I asked him if he’s gonna give me that job in two years and he said maybe. Then I was speaking with President Obama asking how his Chicago Bulls are gonna do, because they lost their MVP Derek Rose, and he said that I could not beat him in one-on-one, but I disagree with that.
Todd: Alright Jeremy Epstein, thanks for coming in this morning, I appreciate it. Good luck in finishing school and getting to that career you want.
Epstein: Thank you very much.
"The Daily Rundown" airs weekdays at 9am ET on MSNBC. Brooke Brower is Executive Producer.