Debate does little to sway students

By Patrick Condon

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Alex Rolsmeyer was undecided in her choice for president before watching the first debate between President Bush and Democratic candidate John Kerry.

After Thursday night's debate, the 19-year-old University of Minnesota student still had no idea who she prefers.

"I don't think I was swayed in either direction," said Rolsmeyer, of Pewaukee, Wis. "There's still a lot I want to hear from both candidates …; I like some things they both said, and I didn't like others."


Rolsmeyer was one of about 600 students who gathered at the University of Minnesota to watch Bush and Kerry square off in their first of three presidential debates. The debate-watching event, hosted by the university's Parliamentary Debate Society, drew a boisterous crowd -- many wearing campaign T-shirts, signs and buttons in support of their favorite candidates.

Rolsmeyer said she leans Democratic, but felt that Bush came across a little better in the debate. She agreed with one of Bush's main contentions -- that Kerry tries to have it both ways on every issue.

"I agree that Kerry flip flops on issues ,and I feel like I saw that tonight," she said.

Rolsmeyer said she won't decide who she'll vote for until after all three debates. She still wants to hear the candidates talk about domestic issues, and, as a child psychology major, she wants to hear about children's issues.

"I want to know what they'll do to help the kids in this nation," she said.

The crowd Thursday night seemed to have a few more Kerry supporters, as the Massachusetts senator got applause for his comments and Bush received a few boos. Some of the students laughed when Bush tripped up on his words, and, at the end, someone stuck a laser pointer on the president's face up on the screen.

What To Read Next
Get Local