Boston Debate a Dud
By James K. Couture
BOSTON, MA-- After all of the hoopla over the first Presidential debate, the American people finally got there chance to see Al Gore and George W. Bush meet head to head on the same stage.
And what have the voters learned about the two candidates in the debate's aftermath?
The answer is quite simple: not very much.
We learned that George W. Bush isn't all that bad of a debater after all. Other than that the debate was a fairly levelheaded affair, lacking any memorable moments.
Even amongst a partisan crowd of debate watchers, the debate didn't live up to expectations. "There wasn't really a memorable moment in the whole thing," says Erin McGlinchey, a Bush supporter. McGlinchey continued, "We saw Al Gore pretending to be a Republican by 'bringing welfare remove to the next level' and saw Gore continue to distort Governor Bush's policy proposals. But, we already knew Al Gore has a problem telling the truth."
Debate watcher Joel Dusoe wasn't impressed with the performance of either candidate, "I think he [Bush] did better than expected and in that aspect he comes out on top- but objectively speaking I think overall the debate was disappointing from both sides and I wasn't too impressed."
However, Bush supporter Jason Camanetti disagrees, "I think George Bush wiped the walls with Al Gore. There is no doubt in my mind who the winner was… Bush's looks and gestures were priceless."
Gore's consistent use of class warfare rhetoric in attacking Bush's tax plan drew the ire of the Republican crowd watching the debate. The loudest ovations from the crowd were drawn when Governor Bush criticized Al Gore's credibility on the campaign finance issue.
Early poll results on the debates from ABC news indicate that the debate made little impact with the electorate as a whole, showing that the percentage supporting Bush and Gore remained virtually the same as before the debate, which doesn't seem surprising based on the lack of enthusiasm expressed by partisans on both sides.
The most interesting part of the debate may have come just moments after the debate ended when protest organizers ordered a final push to break through police barricades. The crowd Ralph Nader supporters chanting "Let Ralph debate!" broke through the temporary fencing and blocked the path of buses picking up people outside of the debates.
Protesters used the trampled fencing to ward off police officers in riot gear. After several anxious moments, over 150 police officers were able to subdue to the unruly crowd. At least a dozen protesters were arrested by police.
The run- in with police at the end of the debate came on the heels of several clashes between Gore and Nader supporters, which teetered on the edge of violence at times.
Conservative activists Jason Belich, National Vice President of Young Americans for Freedom, criticized the exclusion of both Nader and Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan, "The inclusion of third parties would bring a national shock on the scale of Atlas Shrugged, especially with the main parties' alter egos, Buchanan and Nader."
Legal attempts by Buchanan and Nader to gain access to the debates failed. A last ditch legal effort by the Libertarian Party filed Tuesday morning to gain debate access for its presidential candidate Harry Browne was denied late Tuesday afternoon in the Suffolk Superior Court.
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