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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 August, 2004, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK
Voters' views: Chase Erwin
In the run up to the American presidential elections we will be asking a panel of BBC News Online users to share their views. Here, we asked them for their thoughts on the row over negative campaign ads and John Kerry's war record.

Linda Alston
Linda Alston:
Madison, Wisconsin

Neil Sherman
Neil Sherman:
Germantown, Tenn.

Jorge Caspary
Jorge Caspary:
Tallahassee, Florida
Chase Erwin
Chase Erwin:
Austin, Texas

Jim Hill
Jim Hill:
Sudbury, Mass.

Rhonda Buie
Rhonda Buie:
San Diego, California

Chase Erwin

Name: Chase Erwin
Age: 19
Lives: Austin, Texas
Works: Unemployed college student
Current voting intention: Undecided
In 10 words or less:
"Idealistic, opinionated, careful to weigh options before making decisions"

I very strongly disapprove of the use of negative ads, especially on trivial matters such as careers, before a candidate ever approached a podium.

It turns my stomach, because these ads give me not one iota of information on the important matters that I can use to make my decision on who to vote for.

It's frustrating when the candidates themselves sling mud in advertisements, but it achieves even less when third party groups or organisations throw their two cents in to stir up controversy.

Our panel: Where they live

As a voter, I couldn't care less what either Bush or Kerry did during the wars of the past.

I am more interested to know what they would do with the war we have now, in the present.

I think that Bush did the noble thing by denouncing the SBVT ad and upholding his opponent's war record.

I hold it as an acknowledgement of truth and an acceptance of facts - nothing more, nothing less.

I choose to ignore the ads altogether if they mention one thing about the opposing candidate, regardless if they are paid for by the candidates themselves, or by independently funded groups.

Since my vote is a vote of faith for the future, I don't care what they did or did not do in the past.

The proof of their valour as a leader will come in the job they do and the campaign promises they keep.

Send us your comments on Chase's views using the form below.

Your comments:

The SBVT ad is yet another example of what the Bush camp has been doing to denigrate veterans who oppose George Bush - like Senator McCain for instance. I do not believe there is anything 'noble' about a President, who avoided fighting in Vietnam, 'denouncing' the ads after the damage is already done.
S Jayawardena, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Bush did a "noble thing"? Bush did not denounce the SBVT ad. He skirted that issue by denouncing all 527 ads. Funny how all the Republicans are howling about the 527s, but don't have a lot to say about the unfairness of Bush's campaign chest advantage, which will only grow with the extra fundraising time he has over Kerry. I personally, don't have a problem with the 527s or negative ads in general, as long as they are truthful and raise legitimate questions. I don't think the SBVT ad qualifies.
Tom Horton, Columbus, Ohio, USA

Well said. Many people get so sidetracked by the small details of our presidential candidates' lives that they don't see the important issues.
Elizabeth CC, Muncie, IN, USA

Well said Chase! I think you speak for the silent majority of Americans who are sick and tired of mudslinging ads and timid journalism. Both candidates need to focus on the current issues and give the voters tangible information on what they would do if we elect them. Soundbytes and slogans are nothing more than a waste of campaign money and air time, and come off as nothing more than ear candy and fodder for the opposition.
Mike Rossi, Edison, NJ USA

Chase has an interesting view, but only one candidate will be elected and be able to prove that he can keep his campaign promises. We must know our history and look to it to make predictions of our future. As for ads, they should all be immediately discarded as useless. They contain very little useful information, and the information they do contain is usually out of context or skewed. To make a wise decision, you must do your own homework and investigate the issues that are important to you. It would be unwise to take the recommendations of an obviously biased source.
Gene, Rockville, MD, USA

Chase says his is a vote of faith for the future, and that he does not care what the candidates did or did not do in the past. Yet I believe that if one understands how a person has behaved in the past, it should be easier to predict how that person might behave in the future, which is what we're voting on.
Francesco, Baltimore, MD, USA

Oh to be 19 again! I do share your approach to this: I ignore these ads. I wish more people would too. Unfortunately negative campaigning has a track record for being effective. Until we all adopt your philosophy, this kind of negative campaigning will continue to be employed.
Lynnette, Baltimore, MD, USA

It seems that Chase is one of the few Americans who is willing to listen to both sides of the political argument before making a choice. If all voters scrutinised the media available to them in such a manner, maybe we would see a fair and balanced election instead of the right vs. left, good vs evil arguments everyone seems to be spouting.
Richard, Loughboro, UK


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