Candidates to meet in second debate

David Frost

Round two of the presidential debates begins tonight at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., where a more informal format could bring about far different results than the first debate.

Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore will be take part in the 90-minute debate starting at 8 p.m.

This debate will be less formal than the first debate because both candidates will be sitting at a table instead of a podium, which may change the content and tone of the debates, said Robert Lowry, associate professor of political science. “I think the change in format will matter if the candidates can ask each other questions, due to the fact they are at a round table,” he said.

During the last debate, political analysts said Gore exaggerated the numbers he used to illustrate his points, while Bush’s numbers were inconsistent.

“In their campaigns, they have both been becoming more negative,” Lowry said. “Gore has been attacked for his exaggeration, and Bush has been hit with the fact that he has problems with numbers. I’m not sure if this will carry over to the debate.”

On Oct. 5 in Kentucky, Republican vice-presidential candidate Dick Cheney and Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman discussed the issues in an unusually professional manner, said Aaron Fister, president and producer of Politics Unlimited.

“It was a very good debate. The debate reinforced the goodness in politics; it made me feel good to be an American,” said Fister, junior in management information systems.

Lowry said it is hard to predict the tone the second presidential debates will take.

“It is really hard to say if there will be a change from the last debate, or if they will try to be like the vice-presidential candidates,” he said. “Both candidates want to have it both ways, to take the high road and get their shots in.”

The vice-presidential candidates did a better job of explaining the issues than the presidential candidates did in the first debate, Fister said. “It should be interesting to see the next presidential debate and how Bush and Gore respond,” he said.

Fister said he was impressed with the vice-presidential candidates. “After watching the VP debate, I believe the perfect political ticket would be Lieberman, president, and Cheney, vice president,” he said. “They really worked well together.”