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Wednesday October 4, 2000

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Gore strong in presidential debate, Young Democrats say

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Members of the UA Young Democrats gather last night at president Melinda Mills' house to watch the presidential debate. The club has set up a booth on the UA Mall in hopes that students will register to vote for the upcoming election.

By Shana Heiser

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Students would like to see Gore force issues on Bush at

The Young Democrats applauded and yelled after Gore's performance in last night's presidential debate.

"There was only one president on that stage," said Scott Blough, a political science and history senior.

After watching the hour-and-a-half debate at 1010 E. Elm St., about 15 University of Arizona Young Democrats responded with enthusiasm to Vice President Al Gore's performance while booing Texas Governor George Bush.

"Bush was negative and snappy," said Melinda Mills, Young Democrats president and a political science junior. "He was attacking when there wasn't a good time to attack."

Before the debate began, members were nervous about how Gore would perform in the event. Mills said people were calling this the "biggest debate since Nixon vs. Kennedy."

"I would like to see Gore really get into the issues because that is one of Bush's weaknesses," she said. "If you can point out someone's weaknesses and their frustrations, then you've won the headlines. It's all about what the public is going to say."

When Bush and Gore shook hands, the Young Democrats applauded Gore and booed Bush, saying "Go tall boy!"

As the debate progressed, the Young Democrats were reassured that Gore would not falter, and they were not disappointed in his performance.

"Gore is staking his ground a lot better than Bush," said Kylee Jackson, a physiology junior. "I think Bush is very frustrated. He's stumbling over the same points."

Bush's arguments didn't hold up in the eyes of the University of Arizona's Young Democrats.

"Bush keeps attacking, like 'You invented the Internet' and 'You have phony numbers,' and Gore didn't attack," said Kelly Ward, a political science junior.

When Gore said, "I will never let you down," near the end of the debate, the room burst into applause as Gore said he and Bush should discuss the issues instead of attacking each other.

Gore's most convincing discussion points came on the topic of tax cuts, Ward said.

"He keeps repeating how Bush is cutting taxes for the top one percent," she said. "Bush is aiding the small handful and Gore is aiding everyone."

Ward said even those who may have been undecided or leaning toward candidates other than Gore or Bush will favor Gore after tonight,.

"He's appealing to the people who are going to Nader," she said. "He keeps making more liberal remarks that will potentially appeal to the people who are in between Democrats and Republicans."

The Young Democrats were satisfied with Gore's debating because Bush wouldn't answer some of Gore's questions, said Blough.

"If the debate was a reflection of who would be best in Washington, it's Al Gore," he said.