U students clap, laugh at candidates

Approximately 200 people were on hand at Coffman Union to view the third debate.

Lacey Crisp

The third and final presidential debate is over, and undecided voters have less than three weeks to decide who their choice for president is.

Approximately 200 people gathered at Coffman Union on Wednesday night to watch the debate.

There were laughs from the crowd as President George W. Bush spoke, and a few claps when Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry answered questions.

Wesley Molstad, a first-year student, said Kerry “definitely” won all of the debates.

“I was laughing when Bush said Kerry was exaggerating about what he said concerning Osama bin Laden,” Molstad said.

He said the differences between the two candidates were “obvious” during the last debate.

“Bush has been saying funny stuff, not humorous, but funny stuff tonight,” Molstad said. “Bush was too angry during the second debate, but he is doing better tonight.”

Molstad said he plans on voting for Kerry for president.

“I’m a third-party person, but I’m going to support Kerry, and go for Greens in the state and local elections,” he said.

Freda Stavrou also watched the debate at Coffman, with her husband, a University professor.

“I don’t think the debates help me decide who I’m voting for,” Stavrou said. “They both tell half-truths.”

She said she thought Bush lost the first debate and Kerry won again last night.

“I keep hoping that I’ll hear something that will give me better direction as to who I should vote for,” Stavrou said. “I’m torn.”

Stavrou said she was glad to hear the candidates discuss abortion.

“I’m pro-life, and that is one of my conflicts with John Kerry, but I think he values life,” she said.

Ryan Wuertz, a University sophomore, said he likes the format of the debates.

Although he doesn’t know whom he’ll be voting for on Nov. 2, he watched the debates to get a better idea of which candidate seemed more prepared, he said.

Wuertz said he was glad the candidates discussed health care, tuition and Pell Grants.

“I’m more impressed with George Bush tonight, but Kerry’s a better candidate,” Wuertz said.

The College Republicans gathered to watch the debate at Stub & Herbs bar in Stadium Village.

Freshman Karl Kerr said he was glad he watched it with a group.

“It’s better to watch these debates with other people, even if it is a mixed crowd,” Kerr said.

But the crowd at Stub & Herbs was anything but mixed. Bush-Cheney ’04 signs were strewn throughout the room.

“I think Bush won this one,” Kerr said. “He had a much stronger showing than before.”

Kerr said Kerry won the second debate, but “Cheney killed Edwards.”

Kerr said he was glad to hear the candidates discuss their positions on immigration.

“I hope Bush swayed votes,” Kerr said. “He is always sincere, but he was more eloquent tonight.”

Tony Richter, vice chairman of the College Republicans, said Bush did a better job at exposing Kerry’s “hypocrisy.”

“… Kerry doesn’t offer the same principled leadership that George Bush does,” Richter said.