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Bush, Gore debate gains more student interest

Oct. 12, 2000

By NORA FROST

Reporter

Vice President Al Gore and Gov. George W. Bush faced off for the second time Wednesday night. Jim Lehrer moderated the round table debate held at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Baylor students were asked earlier this week about the issues covered by the presidential candidates in the first debate and said they would like to hear more about campaign reform, environmental laws, gun control, U.S. foreign policy, clarification on education and the abortion pill RU-486.

Foreign policy, education (which sneaked in during a racial profiling question), gun control, and the environment were all mentioned Wednesday.

When Lehrer turned the debate to the candidate's views on racial profiling, Gore promised that a law against racial profiling would be the 'first civil rights act of the 21st century.'

Bush turned the issue toward education when he quoted a friend and said, 'reading is the new civil right.'

Jake May, a Dallas law student, said the question on hate crime was a 'softball question.'

'It's currently a hot topic, but I don't think anyone is in disagreement.

'And if they were, they would not admit it,' May said.

Gun control was not mentioned in the first debate, but made its way into the second discussion.

'I was glad to see that they addressed the gun control issue,' Leah Ballard, a Uvalde law student, said. 'That's an important issue to me.'

Both candidates said gun laws need to be enforced.

'There are too many guns getting into the hands of children and criminals,' Gore said.

He added that he would like to mandate a license for citizens to purchase handguns.

'There is a larger law,' Bush countered with, 'Love your neighbor like you would like to love everyone else.'

He added he would like to raise the minimum age for purchasing a handgun from 18 to 21.

Both candidates said global warming should be taken seriously.

'We ought to recognize the value of preserving the environment for [our children and grandchildren],' Gore said.

Bush countered by saying the local government should handle environmental concerns.

'I'm not going to let the U.S. carry the burden for cleaning up the world's mess,' Bush said.

The students said the second debate was more issue-oriented than the first and therefore did a better job of holding their interest.

The final debate is scheduled for 8 p.m. Tuesday in St. Louis, Mo, on the campus of Washington University.