Students Weigh in on Debate

September 27, 2008 12:13:15 AM PDT
About two dozen Fresno State students gathered at an on-campus bar and grill Friday night but they weren't there for the burgers or the beer. Instead, they listened as the two presidential candidates faced off for the first time."The main focus is to educate students on what they're going to be voting on and the issues," said Sarait Martinez, a coordinator for Associated Students, Inc.'s voter registration campaign, which sponsored the event.

While the party itself was non-partisan, supporters of both candidates attended and paid close attention as they addressed the country's economic crisis and foreign policy. "I tend to agree with more with Senator Obama. I think we have to focus on Afghanistan. I don't think enough of our resources went there and we're not focusing there enough," said Fresno State student Ashlin Mattos.

But McCain supporters say their candidate has the upper hand when it comes to foreign policy because of his experience. "McCain supports our ideas, and his experience. He's very experienced," said student Kennedy Vu.

Young voters are expected to have a huge impact in the upcoming presidential election. Friday night, they told Action News they're interested in the same issues as everyone else. "The security of our nation at this point, the energy crisis, that we're running now, the economic status... It's a big factor for young voters," said Vu.

"I think it's an incredibly interesting time even though it's a really tough time right now. It's incredibly interesting to see where my generation is going to be, the problems we're going to be dealing with in the next 10, 15, 25 years," said McCain supporter and Fresno State student Darrin Govan.

Though many said they weren't surprised with the way their candidates responded to the debate's questions, some said they did learn a lot about the issues. "I came in worried more about the finances, the financial crisis. But eventually, I became more interested in Russia and Pakistan, the crisis I wasn't even aware of, because it's not as publicized as it should be," said Obama supporter Rion Sp

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