The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Tate preps students for elections

Former VP Al Gore and Sen. Bob Dole discuss national issues
Tate preps students for elections

Tate preps students for elections

Former Vice President Al Gore and Sen. Bob Dole discussed theupcoming election and other political matters last night at theLinda and Mitch Hart Lecture installment for the 2004 William M.Tate Distinguished Lecture series in McFarlin auditorium.

David Gergen, who serves as editor-at-large for U.S. News andWorld Report, moderated the debate and characterized it as one ofthe best to date.

“Each year, the Harts and I think that it’s the bestever,” Gergen said. “But I can’t believewe’ve been able to make it better.”

Although both panelists parted on many issues, they respectedeach other’s opinion and kept much of the discussionlight-hearted and friendly, especially in their respective openingremarks.

“I used to be the next president of the UnitedStates,” said Gore, after being introduced. “When youask me how I feel — well put yourself in my position. I flewon Air Force Two for eight years and now I have to take my shoesoff to get on an airplane.”

Dole, however, kept his simpler, by mocking his own politicaltelevision ads.

“I’m Bob Dole, and I approve all themessages,” he said.

Gergen began the debate by asking the panelists if Bush’srecent favoring in the polls is evident that he has the election onlockdown.

According to Dole, although the polls show Bush in the lead,they will tend to emphasize the upcoming presidential debates nextweek, and therefore Bush shouldn’t become overly confidentbecause they’re not the deciding factor.

“Bush needs to be very prepared,” Dole said.

“John Kerry is a bright guy, and Bush has to be himselfand needs to stay on the message.

“Also, something could always happen at the lastminute.

Some big story could happen in Iraq the weekend before the pollsopen causing many people to vote a different way.”

As the only politician who has debated President Bush to date,Gore countered Dole by offering Sen. Kerry some advice of hisown.

“He should be prepared to debate,” said Gore.”He should prepare for the toughest debate of his career.President Bush really connects with his audience.”

In response to the political polls, Gore said he believes thatpolls overly influence the perception of the race.

“We allow polling to have way too much influence onpolitics,” Gore said. “It’s not only an influenceon the way people view the race, but also on the media. It’scorrosive to democracy.”

Gore also added that he believes polls have waned since theinflux of cell phones and decreasing numbers of landlines, whichcauses major problems for the polling companies’ traditionalscreening practices.

Both panelists hypothesized the three most important andimmediate threats that may face America’s next president.

According to Gore, the next president must focus on theproliferation of access to weapons of mass destruction; counter therise of terrorism by looking at the causes; and most importantly,prepare for the “the toughest crisis we will face thiscentury: Global warming.”

Dole agreed with Gore’s assertions, but added the need fora more unified, bipartisan country, referring to the state ofAmerica at home during WWII.

“Whoever’s elected needs to reach out withinAmerica,” said Dole. “This country is divided, andwithin the first 100 days, the president must bring the peopletogether. We were sometimes wary during the Second World War, butthe American people stuck together.”

When asked about actions that need to be taken to improve thecurrent situation in Iraq, however, both panelists speculated butwere unable to provide a direct solution to the conflict.

According to Gore, America must ask itself a tough question.

“Our nation must ask: Is the presence of our troops inIraq a magnet for more violence and chaos than if theyweren’t there?” he said.

Dole, however, cited patience as the key tactic for soothingAmerican’s immediate worries.

“We must be patient if we don’t succeed atfirst,” said Dole. “This is a very strong country. [TheUnited States] is the leader of the free world. We’ve madesome progress. Just recently [Iraqi interim Prime Minister] AyadAllawi was here praising Americans for their sacrifice.”

According to Whitney Mears, a junior student majoring in financewith a minor in corporate communications and public affairs, thedebate turned out as well as he anticipated, especially since Doleand Gore agreed to disagree.

“I thought it was a good debate,” Mears said.”I liked how they respected each other and didn’t playdirty.”

In regards to the War in Iraq, Mears added that since he is aRepublican he would have to agree with Dole.

“It took us a while to get America right — even nowwe’re still working on it. So it will definitely take a whileto get Iraq right.”

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