Students less interested in 2nd forum

by Omer Ismail | 10/29/99 5:00am

Most Dartmouth students appeared to follow Texas Governor George W. Bush's example last night by staying away from the town meeting which featured five candidates unlikely to secure the Republican presidential nomination.

After Wednesday night's Democratic forum drew hundreds of students to viewing areas across campus, interest in last night's town meeting was less pronounced, and even most who did watch complained the candidates -- with the exception of talk show host Alan Keyes -- chose to advocate vague positions on the issues.

"The candidates were roundabout," Adam Tapley '03 said. "They could've been more specific."

Although opinions on who came out on top last night were varied, a number of students felt Senator John McCain appeared comfortable and was engaging and intimate.

"People are afraid of his connection with the military but he presented a different perspective today," Dan Huddleston '00 said.

Many students felt Bush's absence will adversely affect his campaign, although they had varying opinions on the degree of its effect.

Several students said they think Steve Forbes and Gary Bauer's references to his absence will make New Hampshire voters think twice about Bush's commitment to the electorate.

"I think it made him look bad," Matthew DeLellis '02 said. "He has a lot of money and he wasn't able to defend that."

April Mohns '03, said although Bush's absence may have a noticeable effect, she thinks the Texas Governor will remain the dominant frontrunner in the national polls.

Several students said they though although Keyes' position appealed to a narrow audience, they admired his distinct and precise answers.

Students seemed to appreciate the fact that the candidates offered a strong cross-section of political ideology.

"These candidates were different on the flat-tax issue," April Mohns '03 said. "I thought Gore-Bradley were more similar."

Keyes criticized gay and lesbian relationships and unreservedly said the United States should not pay its United Nations dues which, he argued, only feed international bureaucrats.

"I admired his individuality," Alicia Willson '03 said.

The Dartmouth audience watching the debate felt a wide range of domestic policy questions were asked in the forum last night, with the candidates offering some insight into their policies.

Having had the opportunity of seeing five Presidential hopefuls up-close, many Dartmouth students attending the forum in Moore Theater said they felt the experience was very special.

"It was amazing. It didn't seem televised, instead very personal," Willson said.

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