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Commentators tackle presidential issues

Political commentators Bay Buchanan and Donna Brazile, regulars on CNN’s Inside Politics, participated in a debate to help undecided voters make a choice in the upcoming presidential election.

The two women debated issues discussed during the presidential debates, but both speakers had a new perspective to bring to the table. The debate was more lighthearted as the two friends teased each other on political subjects.

The debate began with an opening statement from each of the commentators, who then took questions directly from students.

Buchanan, a George W. Bush supporter, went first. In her opening statement she talked about national security, the election in general and touched briefly on a few other key issues. She said national security was the key issue in the election. She talked about the most recent polls, which shifted in Bush’s favor, and she mentioned that various historically Democratic states are now in question.

Buchanan talked about the war, which she was against before it started, but now believes that Bush went about it the right way, using information he believed to be true and seeking approval from Congress. She talked about John Kerry’s stance on the war, and said he based his decision only on polls because he knew he would be running for president and he didn’t ask the tough questions he should have.

“He voted ‘yes’ to give the president of the United States the authority to go to war. Then a few months later he decided to go with the polls that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea,” Buchanan said. “That’s not a leader. Somebody who wants to have a vote that makes good for them politically doesn’t send young people in harm’s way just because it might look good for them.”

Brazile opened by talking about her Florida memories, which focused around the 2000 election when she managed Al Gore’s presidential campaign.

“The lesson I learned four years ago is a lesson that I hope we don’t repeat in 15 days, and that is clearly every citizen in this country deserves an opportunity to have their votes counted … every citizen of this great nation deserves an opportunity to ensure that their voice is heard on election day,” Brazile said. “I hope that you all will follow through if you have made a commitment … to vote.”

She went on to say Bush has not been a uniter as he said he would be. She said she believes Kerry would keep America safe and create jobs. She also talked about the extreme closeness of the race.

Brazile went on to say “this Republican Congress” needs to go.

“I’m sick of this rubber-stamp Congress that can’t seem to do anything right,” she said.

Brazile also said the minimum wage, not Congress’s pay, needs to be raised.

She closed by saying “This is one election where you can actually control the outcome.”

The women made it clear before that keeping an open mind is important during a debate, and people need to be ready to listen to other ideas.

“You can be the best of friends and disagree, that’s what America is about and that’s what is healthy,” Buchanan said. “If you all do that, that is what will change Congress because Congress does not do that.”

The two speakers then took questions directly from the students, and the media has raised many of those questions already.

“We didn’t really ask any new questions,” senior Michael Bonden said after the debate.

The most talked-about topics were the war on terror and the economy.

After the debate, both speakers stayed in the Special Events Center and spoke candidly with students about many topics, ranging from Hillary Clinton’s political future to Dick Cheney’s daughter to the importance of the black voter turnout.