Residents unchanged by first debate

By Laurie Stone

Local residents were asked before Thursday’s debate between President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry to answer basic questions afterwards:

Lela Jo Halliday, rancher, Democrat
Overall thoughts of debate: The debate as a whole was good. Bush would be better as President because Kerry is not strong enough or knowledgeable enough to take care of what’s going on over seas. Kerry would do well running America but not overseas.
Who benefited most? It was a draw. A lot of debates are one-sided. I felt both candidates stuck by the rules and ran debate like they were supposed to.
Did the debate change your opinion about either candidate? No, I’d already made up my mind. Bush is stronger overseas.

Oma Morgan, 85, retired school teacher, Democrat
Overall thoughts of debate: I thought each person was well prepared and I liked the respect they gave one another at the beginning and the end.
Who benefited the most? Kerry benefited the most because Bush has been higher in the poles.
Did it change your opinion about either candidate? No change in my opinion. Kerry did the best job.

Brandon Massey, 24, ethanol plant employee, Independent
Overall thoughts of debate: Its’ hard for me to say which way I’ll go, but I found it very enlightening.
Who benefited the most? Neither of them pulled forward more than the other. I felt they were both equal.
Did it change your opinion? No, not necessarily. This is the first time to watch anything on either candidate.

Todd Morris, 33, Valencia Elementary principal, Republican
Overall thoughts: I liked it. It was a good debate, but I don’t think it helped any undecided voters. In a debate you have to search for core values to fit the president you want and I don’t think the debate did that.
Who benefited most? Bush talked to the American people and Kerry lectured more about his hypothetical plans. Bush talked about practicality because he does it every day.
Did it change your opinion about either candidate? No, I listened to both candidates. Kerry did keep flip-flopping. Bush was strong, but had some weak areas.

Justin McClellans, 20, Eastern New Mexico University student, Republican
Overall thoughts: It reaffirms my belief that Kerry flip flops.
Who benefited most? Bush did because he delivered the points better.
Did it change your opinion about either candidate? No. Kerry had some good plans and theories, but they’re probably promises to get elected.

Jessie Luna, 51, Campus Bookstore Director at ENMU, Republican
Overall thoughts: Spent too much time on war issues. Would like to have heard them debate on domestic issues. They constantly repeated themselves.
Who benefited most? The voter benefited most. I think it was a draw because they both stood firm.
Did it change your opinion about either candidate? It didn’t change. Kerry was strong at the beginning, Bush peaked at the end. Both were worn out at the end on the same issue.