Area voters voice views on debate

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 4, 2000

&uot;I didn’t see it.&uot; &uot;I was busy last night.&uot; &uot;I wanted to watch it, but I didn’t get home in time.&uot; Those were common responses from Miss-Lou voters when asked if they tuned in to the first presidential debate of the 2000 campaign Tuesday night.

But, those who did watch — or at least caught the highlights on morning newscasts — had strong opinions about the candidates’ performances.

&uot;I’m a Bush man, so I thought Bush did a very good job,&uot; Stanley Novak of Natchez said. &uot;We need a leader (in the presidency).&uot;

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Jaye Lee, also of Natchez, said she watched excerpts from the debate on later broadcasts, but came away with a distinctly different reaction.

&uot;I think Bush is a fool,&uot; Lee said. &uot;I don’t think he knows anything about foreign policy or what’s going on in his own country. Gore won, hands down.&uot;

William Browning also had strong feelings about the debate, which he summed up using technical jargon from the Internet — an entity Al Gore once claimed to have invented.

&uot;www.lies,lies,,&uot; Browning said with a half-smile.

When asked which candidate he was referring to, Browning responded: &uot;Both, but more Gore than Bush.&uot;

Eyeing the debate headlines in a nearby newspaper rack, Jack Hyatt nodded at Browning’s words.

&uot;I thought Bush won,&uot; Hyatt said. &uot;Gore appeared kind of jittery, worried, nervous. He just didn’t convey a feeling of confidence.&uot;

Hyatt said he noticed the same of Bush, but that did little to change his mind about the candidate he says he will choose next month.

&uot;No way could I vote for bigger government or more taxes,&uot; he said.

Like Hyatt, most of those polled said they had already picked their candidate and the debate did little to change their minds.

&uot;I watched it just to see how they would do and what the news media would say about it,&uot; Hyatt said.

Darryl Grennell, Adams County supervisor and Democratic party activist, watched for the same reason.

&uot;I wanted to see what the responses would be on those issues,&uot; Grennell said of what he believes to be the campaign’s top concerns: Social Security, taxes and prescription drug benefits for the elderly.

Admitting his bias as a Democrat, Grennell said he still believed Gore won the debate.

&uot;Gore did an excellent job,&uot; he said. &uot;I truly believe Gore won the debate.&uot;

Mona Ross, Republican committee chairperson for Concordia Parish, doesn’t agree, saying she was &uot;impressed&uot; by Bush’s performance.

&uot;I didn’t listen to the (political analysts, but I thought Bush won,&uot; Ross said.

Joel Parker, a retiree from Vidalia, La., said he thought both candidates presented themselves well, but he was also impressed by Bush.

&uot;A lot of people expected him not to do real well, but I thought he did a good job,&uot; Parker said.

Though he has already made his choice for president, Parker said he watched the debate to see what issues the candidates chose to tackle.

&uot;Everything they talked about they’ve said before,&uot; he said.