As television viewers settled in to watch the second debate of this presidential campaign season featuring running mates Dick Cheney and Joseph Lieberman, the candidates sat down to a discussion of a different kind.
Rather than glaring across a stage at each other, held back by separate podiums as were Al Gore and George W. Bush on Tuesday, Cheney and Lieberman exchanged remarks while seated together behind a table.
“Both Lieberman and Cheney had much more respect for each other than Bush and Gore did,” said Joey Cronen, an Ithaca College student.
Still, “I was very unimpressed with both of them,” Cronen said.
Following a debate witnessed by just 46.6 million people, according to Nielsen Media Research, this debate may not go far to separate two presidential tickets that are considered to be running neck and neck.
“If you are undecided, then [the debates] would be the way to find out,” said Krisha Cerilli ’02, who said that she had already concluded for herself which ticket she would support in the election.
Nonetheless, Cerilli tuned in to the debate for a brief glimpse of yesterday’s contest. She determined after a short while that it was not much different than the sort of debate she is used to seeing — despite the innovative format.
“It seemed to me like a typical debate. They were just going back and forth saying their own policies,” she said.
Responding to many of the same questions asked of Gore and Bush on Tuesday, Cheney and Lieberman presented their approaches to policies ranging from taxes to foreign affairs.
Following a lengthy exchange over the nation’s posture toward Iraqi relations and the containment of Saddam Hussein, Cronen showed his disgust for a topic he considered of a lesser importance on the legislative agenda.
“I think it is a moot point right now,” he said.
Resigned to the secondary nature of these vice presidential debates, he added, “I really doubt that it will have much of an impact on the outcome of the election.”
Cronen will, however, reserved time to watch the upcoming debates prior to the November election.
Not all of the upcoming debates, which will transpire in the seated format of yesterday’s debate and then in a town-hall style, may be as tranquil as the VP debate, Cronen suggested.
“If they don’t like each other, a discussion like that has a tendency to turn nasty,” he warned.
Archived article by Matthew Hirsch