Last night, presidential hopefuls Al Gore and George W. Bush held their final debate at Washington University in St. Louis. Topics discussed in the “town meeting” format debate ranged from school vouchers and foreign policy in the Middle East to whether today’s politicians can be relied upon to fulfill their promises.
Each disputed the other’s position on such topics as federal spending, social security and health care. In addition to challenging each other, the candidates chided one another for using “high school debate tricks,” for making unrealistic promises and for skewing information.
Cornell Democrats in conjunction with Students for Gore hosted a screening of last night’s debate at Robert Purcell Community Center (RPCC), where they handed out flyers and bumper stickers for all of the Democratic candidates on federal, state and local levels.
Despite a turnout smaller than other two debates with roughly 75 RPCC attendees, Michael Moschella ’02, president of the Cornell Democrats, was happy with the overall result of the event and the general feeling that students have shown about the upcoming election. “It shows how students at Cornell are excited and motivated.”
Many students who had attended the debate had their minds made up about Gore and Bush, though some students who back Gore showed surprise when they learned that Gore supports the death penalty, an unusual position for a Democratic candidate to take.
“[This debate] definitely affirms my opinion that I’m voting for Gore,” said Pam Sporborg ’04, “I already knew where [the Democrats] stood on the issues, getting to know them before the debates. Watching tonight was for pure entertainment value.”
Jason Conn ’03, leader of Students for Gore and former White House intern, felt that this debate showed how personable Gore can be.
Bush supporter Tommy Mastrangelo ’04 offered another perspective on Gore. “I think Gore finally found a good debate strategy — talk like a Republican. The closer Gore gets in the polls, the more conservative he talks to get the swing vote,” he said.
He added that this race does hold importance for students at Cornell. “From the Students for Gore perspective, this is the fourth straight time the Republican candidate didn’t mention higher education, and that should be important to students.”
Archived article by Michael Kahn