VP face-off covered education issues well, students at Debate Watch say

By Amy C. Schweigert
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 10, 1996

The Associated Press
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Vice President Al Gore, right, and Republican vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp meet at center stage after the vice presidential debate at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, Fla. last night.


Students watching last night's vice presidential debate in the Arizona Stadium Skybox said the candidates did a good job of covering education but avoided immigration issues.

Sponsored by the Arizona Students' Association, the Debate Watch, which about 30 people attended, gave students a chance to view the verbal face off between Democratic Vice President Al Gore and Republican nominee Jack Kemp. Following the televised debate , about 20 students remained to discuss it.

The few students who participated in the discussion noted Gore's specific examples and did not appear to favor Kemp's positions.

Gore, citing the Clinton administration's plan to offer a $1,500 tax credit and a $10,000 tax deduction for those attending college, told Americans, "We have a plan to expand access to education."

Kemp said education needs to be reformed.

"Teachers are overworked ... and under paid," he said. "Education is not up to standards."

Although Kemp talked of improving education by making higher education more accessible everyone, he did not address concrete plans.

During the discussion following the debate, Jeff Lemberger, sociology and political science freshman, said Dole and Kemp's position would hurt his chances of continuing college.

"Republicans dug another hole for themselves," Lemberger said about the debate overall.

Gore, pointing out examples of the current administration's successes, did a good job of exposing Kemp's hypocrisy early on in the debate, said Rachel Grana, undeclared sophomore.

"Kemp had a hard time punching holes in Gore's examples," she said.

Julie Lewis, sociology senior, said Kemp's changing stance is a problem and weakens the Republican ticket."It's hard for him and it shows," she said.

"I'm glad they steered clear (of immigration issues)," Lewis said, "because it would have led to name calling."

But immigration did lead to mudslinging during the discussion, when one student was called a racist.Several students said if the Mexican/American border is closed, all borders into the United States need to be closed.

Jeff Schrade, moderator of the discussion and a political science and economics junior, intervened and asked students to concentrate on their reactions to the debate.

Last night's debate was "a lot more mature" and more "on task," than Sunday's presidential debate, Schrade said."This one seemed a lot less confusing than the presidential debate," he said.

Another Debate Watch is scheduled for the final presidential debate Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Presidential Skybox.