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Wednesday October 4, 2000

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UA College Republicans say Bush held his own

By Blake Smith

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Texas Gov. needs to be "more forceful" in next debate,

As strong winds and lightning raged in Tucson last night, a different kind of storm was taking place in Boston - in the form of the first debate of the 2000 presidential election.

About five University of Arizona College Republicans and about 50 Tucson residents gathered at Arizona's Bush and Cheney Headquarters, 5036 E. Broadway Blvd., to watch Gov. George Bush, R-Texas, and Vice President Al Gore debate election issues.

The two candidates met at the University of Massachusetts at Boston for a 90-minute exchange of ideas. Both men tried to spell out the differences between each other in an attempt to capture votes.

While many people expected Gore to win because of his strong debating skills, UA communication junior and College Republicans member Jessica Bortolini said Bush did better than she expected.

"I was really glad to see that he held his own," Bortolini said.

UA College Republicans president and political science junior Manuel Espinoza agreed that Bush performed well during his first presidential debate.

"I was definitely impressed," Espinoza said. "He told us exactly what he is going to do."

Bush pointed out issues during the debate that could have a substantial effect on college students - such as saving Social Security and retaining control of people's own money, Espinoza added.

"He really kept hammering the issues," said Seth Frantzman, political science senior and College Republicans member. "If he keeps this up, he'll do fine."

But Bortolini thought Bush could do things to help him in the next debate.

"He almost needs to be more forceful," she said.

While Espinoza said he thinks Bush performed well, he added that the Texas governor should attack Gore's credibility in the next debate.

"Bush did a good job and just needs to keep driving home that Gore is not a person that can be trusted," Espinoza said.

The UA College Republicans plan to set up a tent on the UA Mall next week to inform students about Bush and his stances on issues. They will also make a push to register voters and go door-to-door to campaign for U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe's re-election effort.

The next debate is scheduled for Oct. 11 at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.