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Know your RUSA candidates

In the presidential election of 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., received 273 endorsements from publications across the nation, including The New York Times. Sen.-John McCain, R-Ariz., received 172. In the 2004 presidential election, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., received 213 publication endorsements to former President George W. Bush's 205.

I am somewhat puzzled that newspaper publications choose sides during elections. I say this because journalists are trained to provide objective and balanced information to the best of their abilities, for their readers. Although I assume that reporters for The New York Times and other newspaper outlets were objective in their reporting and coverage of the previous presidential elections, I believe that a publisher such as The New York Times endorsing a particular candidate does not necessarily serve the public good.

The issue of newspaper endorsements is one that I thought extensively about throughout the 2008 presidential elections, and I continue to debate it to this day. This topic was recently reignited in my mind, as one of my closest friends is running for president in the Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) elections.

While I feel that a direct endorsement from me as a writer for The Daily Targum would not benefit the student body, I do think that describing his personal, non-political side as a friend could give you a better understanding of him as a person overall. I hope that someone close to presidential candidate Matthew Cordeiro writes to The Daily Targum about his personal character as I write about Ross Kleiman's.

I first met Ross through the "Achievement in Math and Sciences" living-learning community. We were both selected as peer mentors for the program and would serve as academic leaders for the community. I still laugh at the thought of my initial encounter with him. He wore a maroon polo, had a tall frame and walked goofily over to me with his right hand extended. I still joke about how silly he looked in that polo when we first met, and he stubbornly vows he will continue to wear it.

There was a spark of hope that we would get along during that initial meeting when we realized we were both fans of TED videos. After, we would constantly debate a wide array of topics, some of which related to the videos and many others that did not. We discussed the accuracy of evolution and the significance of religion. We refuted each other's arguments on policies we would implement if we were to become U.S. Senators. This was how our friendship began, both of us trying to adamantly prove the other wrong.

Soon, Ross, his roommate and I would hangout often and go almost everywhere together. We would eat lunch with each other, wrestle in the snow and make crappy music using empty water bottles and beatboxing. It amazed me how fast the three of us became so close in such a short amount of time.

There were plenty of qualities I shared with Ross and many lessons I've learned from him. What I liked most about Ross was that he was open to trying anything I threw at him and usually adapted very quickly. Sometimes I would take him with me when I went shopping, so he could tell me how much an item on sale would be with the listed discount.

Overall, I think we complement one another very well by being so different from another. Ross decided to major in biomedical engineering and writes down physics equations and mathematical theorems during his free time. I decided to pursue journalism and political science and think of what article topic would have the most impact on my readers during my free time. He wants to attend medical school, while I aim for law school.  I truly believe that our differences allowed us to learn extensively from one another.

Many people told me they truly enjoyed their college experience because of the various life lessons they learned and the great people that they meet. I couldn't agree more. I'm truly thankful for having such a caring friend like Ross to share my college experience with.

Voting begins today and continues through tomorrow. You can find more information on how to vote by visiting the official RUSA website at ruassembly.com. The RUSA presidential debate can also be found on the RU-TV Network online by going to rutv.rutgers.edu. I encourage you to learn more about both candidates' issues and goals for the University and casting your vote for whomever you find most fit. You can learn more by visiting rutgersunited.com for Cordeiro and scarlet2011.com for Kleiman.

Amit Jani is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in journalism and media studies and political science. His column, "The Fourth Estate," runs on alternate Wednesdays.

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