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Students Watch the First Presidential Debate in Suzie’s

Eager Mills students filed into Suzie’s Lounge last Thursday
night as Senator John Kerry and President George Bush made their
way to the podium for the highly anticipated televised presidential
debate, yet it seems that America is still divided.

The debate marked a critical point in both candidates’
campaigns. There was pressure on Kerry to unfold his plan for
America and for Bush to defend his plan and persuade voters to
re-elect him on Nov. 2.

“The debate didn’t really help me to decide for Kerry, but I am
still opposed to Bush,” said senior Veronica Williams.

The debate, which was the first of three, focused on homeland
security and the war in Iraq. Kerry made it clear he believes “the
President made a mistake” in going to war.

Bush, noting that Kerry had approved his decision in Sept. 2000,
maintained that the war was necessary and that a “free Iraq will
help the war on terror.”

Up until this point Kerry had not specifically laid out his plan
on foreign policy, however, Thursday night he pointed out his
four-part plan.

“Kerry did a better job articulating his plan for the first time
in this debate; [Thursday night] was a low point for Bush,” said
junior Jen Garvey.

Kerry asserted that Bush had misled the people of America when
he went to war with Iraq and that he will “bring the allies back to
the table and do what’s necessary to make it so America isn’t doing
this alone.”

Bush focused on what he viewed as Kerry’s inconsistency and said
“[It] is not a message a commander-in-chief gives.”

Some students felt that the issues weren’t clearly expressed and
that a decisive winner never surfaced.

“Neither of them did a better job,” said senior Maliheh Nakhai.
“Kerry didn’t make it any clearer for me but, I’m a Kerry
supporter, cause he’s not Bush.”

Students, as well as the rest of America, were focused on
presentation and the effect on undecided voters.

“I believe that Kerry gave good facts, had a good presence,”
said Garvey. “He responded to problems and it looked like he was
confident in his plan.”

Sophomore Donelle Nubia felt that Bush stayed steady and

“[It] will keep the people who already decided to vote for him
there, but I’m not so sure that he appealed to the swing

“It seems like this debate was not a clear victory for either
candidate; it only strengthened the support from people who are
already on their side,” Nubia said.

The next debate will take place on Friday, Oct. 8 and will focus
on domestic issues.