The Issues Stand Out in Final Debate
Final Debate a Big Draw at SF State
October 18, 2004 1:15 AM
Stephanie Gonzalez, 21, already knows who she’s voting for on Nov. 2, but she couldn’t help but watch a bit of the third presidential debate as she passed through the Cesar Chavez student center.
“It doesn’t matter because I already know I’m voting for Kerry,” Gonzalez said. “It’s relevant, but it’s not at the same time.”
For many SF State students like Gonzalez, the final debate between President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry was more of a platform for issues important to them – affirmative action, higher-education costs, same-sex marriage, the draft – than a contest for their vote.
In the humanities building auditorium, Kathryn Johnson’s presidential election class watched a twenty-foot projection of the event.
Students were engaged in the debate for over an hour, clapping and laughing at times. They listened intently as both candidates talked about the rising costs of college.
“Bush said he helped more students get Pell grants,” said Jared Lee, a 20-year-old cinema major. “And I liked how Kerry explained that was because so many people fell below the poverty level during his presidency.”
Lee also said the way both candidates talked about religion troubled him. “In a time when we’re fighting Islam, it’s not the best idea to bring up religious ideology.”
There was little support for Bush in the classroom, but not everyone was voting for Kerry. Some said they were voting for Ralph Nader and others were undecided.
James Ramirez, an ROTC student, said he would have voted for John Edwards if he had the chance.
“As of right now, I’m just going to be voting on propositions. I’m not going to be picking the next president,” Ramirez said.
In the student center, many watched the debate in a less academic setting.
One group sat at sticky tables outside The Pub and watched Kerry and Bush trade jabs with the aroma of beer in the air. With the lights turned out and the debate projected on a pull-down screen, politics was the only topic of drunken conversation.
“I’m having a hard time hearing because of the jerks behind me,” said Emily Cochran, 23, gesturing toward hree men behind her engaging in their own debate.
Inside The Pub, sports fans tuned out the elections and watched the Yankees beat the Red Sox.
A crowd of about fifty followed the debate in the lower conference level of the Cesar Chavez student center. Students sat close to each other and those without a seat sat on the ground with backpacks at their feet.
“Kerry is winning this one,” Nwadigo said. “Bush does not make any sense. He does not talk like a president.”
Sounds of the debate were heard in stereo from the windows of faculty and staff housing. Outside the Humanities building, Ciara Bella, 25, listened to the broadcast in a Dodge Caravan with the window down.
“I really wish I could see it on TV so I could watch their faces,” said Bella, an independent BECA major. “Bush seems like he’s more on the defensive this time… but I’m hearing the same thing from the first two debates. It’s like, answer the damn question.”
Professors across campus cancelled classes or rolled TVs into their rooms.
Back in the humanities building, everyone in the presidential election class perked up as the moderator said the debate was about to end.
Both candidates had the chance to send a final message to SF State students and the rest of the world.
The incumbent president urged Americans to elect a leader with “firm resolve and clear purpose.”
“We must never waver,” Bush said.
Kerry’s last thoughts pointed to a change in policy, “we can reach higher. I believe we can do better.”
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University