UVM students gather for debates

UVM students gathered to watch the second presidential debate between candidates Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain at various locations around campus on Tuesday, Nov. 7.Dozens of students showed up at Brennan’s, the ALANA center and residence halls around campus to watch the debate. Senior Chris May said that he felt health care was the most important issue affecting all voters: “there are just way too many people going into the hospital that can’t afford it.”Samantha Garcia said she felt the same way, and that the current health care plan currently hurts families, “my health care is from Massachusetts, and if I break a bone in Vermont, I have to go to Massachusetts to get it fixed.” However, sophomore Lindsey Thompson said she believes the environment is most important for young voters. “We need to do a lot – it’s up to us,” she said.Sophomore Jerry Gately felt the economy had a big impact on all voters, “it’s important to everyone,” she said. Freshmen Rachel Trotter and Lori Murray feel the most pertinent issue for young voters in the 2008 election is actually going to the polls. “Everyone always says ‘oh, we’re going to do it’ and then just doesn’t,” Trotter said. Murray, who is still too young to vote in this election, said that the most important thing for young voters is to actually listen to what the issues are rather than voting for someone because their friends are. The last presidential debate will take place Oct. 15 at 9 p.m. John McCainEconomy-Blames lobbyists for financial crisis- Favors a new federal authority- Wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent and eliminate alternative minimum taxEducation-Has a shorter list of initiatives compared with his rival-Believes that the federal government should play a limited role in public education.Climate Change -Supports a mandatory cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissionsConservationEnergy Conservation-Supports gas tax holiday -Opposes taxing windfall profits-Opposes drilling in the Arctic; supports offshore drilling-Opposes ethanol subsidies-Supports expanding nuclear powerHealth Care-For free-market, consumer-based system-Has pledged affordable health care for every American without a mandate-Says universal health care is possible without a tax increase.HousingInitially opposed large-scale federal assistance, but more recently called for the government to help qualified homeowners with subprime mortgages refinance and get federally guaranteed 30-year mortgages-Opposes lower down payment on F.H.A. mortgages-Justice Department should investigate lenders.Immigration-Supports a path to legalization for illegal immigrants that includes learning English and paying fines-Voted for fence along Mexican border.Iraq-Voted in 2002 to authorize invasion and is still supportive-Favored troop increase-Argues that security allowed political headway-Against a timetable for withdrawal, but projected most forces home by 2013.Economy-Blames deregulation for financial crisis-Favors a new federal authority-Wants to repeal the Bush tax cuts for households earning more than $250,000Education-Proposes $18 billion a year in new federal spending on early childhood classes, teacher recruitment, performance pay and other initiatives.Climate Change -Supports a mandatory cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050Energy Conservation-Opposes gas tax holiday-Supports taxing windfall profits-Opposes drilling in the Arctic and offshore-Supports ethanol subsidies-Not a “proponent” of expanding nuclear power.Health Care-Require that all children have health insurance-Pay for insurance by rolling back President Bush’s tax cuts for households earning over $250,000-Aims for universal coverage.Housing-Create new F.H.A. program to make it easier to convert subprime loans to fixed-rate, 30-year loans-Create a fund to help people avoid foreclosures-Require better disclosure from lenders.Immigration-Supports a path to legalization for illegal immigrants that includes learning English and paying fines-Toughen penalties for hiring illegal immigrants-Voted for fence along Mexican border.Iraq–Opposed invasion from the beginning-Opposed troop increase-Wants to withdraw one or two brigades a month to finish within 16 months and spur the Iraqis to reconcile their differences.