Name and Faces in 2008 Race for Presidency

For what is supposed to be a four-year term as president of the U.S., 2008 election candidates have already started gearing up and campaigning for the job – over a year beforehand. As President Bush finishes his second term, he leaves the seat wide open for the 2008 election. So far seven Democratic politicians have filed their statements of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). They include; Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, Senator Hillary R. Clinton of New York, former Senator John Edwards of N. Carolina, Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, former Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico and former Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska, according to the FEC Web site. Vice President of the UVM College Democrats Eddy Foster said that as far as their club members go, “Everybody has diverse favorites right now. Some people like Edwards, some people like Obama. “I’m not certain if anyone actually likes Hillary Clinton, but it’s a possibility.” Barack Obama, a Senator from Illinois, has not yet filed a statement of candidacy with the FEC, but has formed an exploratory committee. If either Obama or Clinton is elected, he or she would be the first African-American or female President in history, respectively. “Race doesn’t matter to me,” UVM College Republicans President Heather Baldyga said. “Whoever the best candidate is should win … I think it’d be great for the diversity of the country, for sure.” As for the Republican Party, former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, former Governor Jim Gilmore of Virginia, former Governor Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin, Senator John McCain of Arizona and Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas have filed their statements of candidacy, according to the FEC Web site. Several others have formed exploratory committees. Foster does not think that Americans will elect another Republican president after eight “disastrous” years with Bush. Baldyga, who is “not too much of a fan at all” of President Bush, said that the association people make between Republicans and Bush will hurt the party’s candidates in this election. “A lot of people are just uninformed and they just think, ‘oh, the president is Republican so anyone else that’s Republican is like him,'” she said. “I feel like too many people are like that – I get a lot of stuff for being Republican.” Baldyga, a Massachusetts native, supports Romney although she said that McCain is the frontrunner for the party. “He did a good job in Massachusetts, so he’d be good for the country,” she said. Although not focused on one candidate or even one political party, Foster and Baldyga do have three things that they do agree on concerning the election, the three biggest issues candidates will be talking about. Both mentioned Iraq, health care and what President Bush recently called “global climate change,” in his seventh State of the Union address, as the biggest issues in this election, though Foster said that there is a small possibility that Iraq won’t be on the top of the list. “If we’re still in Iraq, Iraq is probably going to be one of the top issues,” he said, “If by some miracle of God we’re not in Iraq by then, which somehow I don’t think is going to happen, then it probably won’t be. It’ll still be an issue, it just might not be the biggest issue.” Baldyga mentioned another important issue-one that candidates won’t be arguing about. “There are a lot of young people out there that still aren’t voting,” she said. “They’ll complain about things but they don’t go out and vote.” Foster has his advice for college students who do make the trip to the polls on Election Day. “Look into who has your best interest at heart. As college students, you should be aware of the effect your loans are going to have on you, the way social policy is going to effect you in the future,” he said. “Republicans under the last congress raised the rates on student aid and all sorts of stuff that directly effects us, and as soon as the new Democratic congress convened they slashed college interest rates in half. So who’s looking out for the college student?”