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Campaign barrage brings students into political circle

Students have complained in the past that the political system is very disengaging to young voters, but with the Bay Area developing into a political hot spot in the run up to the election, this cannot be said anymore.

This week alone sees three presidential candidates coming to the region. Independent candidate Ralph Nader spoke in Tampa on Wednesday, Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry will speak at the USF Sun Dome on Friday, and President George W. Bush is making an appearance in St. Petersburg the same day.

Due to the fallout of the race, campaign exposure has been almost inescapable: A few weeks ago, the children of Kerry and vice presidential candidate John Edwards made an on-campus appearance; Tuesday, actor Michael J. Fox lobbied for the Kerry-Edwards ticket at the Sun Dome to further stem cell research; Filmmaker Michael Moore is scheduled to make an appearance at the Sun Dome on Sunday.

The recent surge in political visitors is nothing new, however. Four years ago, Democratic candidate Al Gore made a visit to the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center on Election Day, and then-candidate George W. Bush came to Tampa the day prior.

This time around, however, the race is much more intense and it is virtually impossible for students to claim they feel disengaged when they cannot walk across campus without bumping into a member of one of the campaigns.

Florida residents can register to vote in the presidential election until Monday. To register visit this Web site: