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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 October, 2004, 13:50 GMT 14:50 UK
Voters' views: Gary Webb
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 second presidential debate between George W Bush and his Democrat challenger, John Kerry.

Rhonda Buie:
San Diego, California

Nancy Pew:
Seattle, Washington

Jim Hill:
Sudbury, Mass.
Jorge Caspary:
Tallahassee, Florida

Gary Webb
Gary Webb:
Sacramento, C'fornia

Neil Sherman:
Germantown, Tenn.

Gary Webb

As much as I'd dreaded it, I'm glad I watched the debate.

MEET THE PANEL
Gary Webb
Name: Gary Webb
Age: 48
Lives: Sacramento, California
Works: Writer
Current voting intention: Non-voter
In 10 words or less:
"Author and responsible anarchist"
Except on the abortion issue, this debate didn't bring me any new political insights, but it certainly hammered home the difference between the intellects of the candidates.

Bush was better this time but so was Kerry. Kerry was articulate, direct and, for the first time, actually seemed to be speaking with some passion.

By comparison, Bush seemed shallow and off-target.

I don't know what he was getting at when he brought up the Dred Scott decision.

He won't appoint pro-slavery justices to the Supreme Court? Thank God for small favours.

What bothered me most about Bush were his snide remarks about European public opinion - how he didn't care if he was unpopular in "certain European capitals".

This "screw-the-world" attitude is exactly why we're in such a fix in Iraq.

If we'd listened to the French and Germans, odds are no one would be dying in Iraq right now.

Maybe Bush can't admit that for political reasons but, at the very least, he can quit bashing the Europeans for having been right.

I can live with a president who makes a mistake now and then.

But a president who doesn't learn from them is a very dangerous person.


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

Your comments:

You are right on about Bush's "screw-the-world" attitude. I don't understand why so many Americans view this as being 'presidential'. The President of the United States is supposed to be the leader of the free world. President Bush has not been acting like the leader of the free world and his statements clearly reflect this. Bush was better this time. I just don't believe we should view that as a great accomplishment. After all, he's been president for over three years now and we should be disappointed if he can't even hold his own defending his administration.
Carl, Oxford, MI, USA

There is no European public opinion! Certainly the French opinion is not it. Britain, Italy, The Netherlands and all of Eastern Europe disagree with the French and support the US. The main reason Chirac and Schroeder wanted Saddam to stay in power was because of the billions they had lent him. With Saddam gone, they will not be repaid. It should be perfectly clear that President Bush spoke about certain, not all European capitals, and certainly not most Europeans. There are more opinions here than a dog has flees!
G Reinis, Riga, Latvia

Gary has hit the nail on the head for me. In my opinion, Bush's greatest failing was deciding to invade Iraq without greater international support. Now, Americans are footing a vast majority of the bill for something that we never had a say in. Had Bush asked me, I would have told him exactly where he could shove his "pre-emptive strike" policy. Saddam Hussein was the world's problem, not just the USA's problem.
Tim Goergen, Lincoln, USA

"If we'd listened to the French and Germans, odds are no one would be dying in Iraq right now." Tell that to the Iraqis who were dying there under Saddam. Tell that to the thousands of others who die waiting for the more compassionate Europeans to act. You have got to be kidding!
Phillip Gasior, Lawrenceville, USA

Gary: Please vote. Even if you don't think Kerry is truly "a man of the people" - the disregard for the international community of the Bush administration must not be validated by his re-election. A non-vote to me is an expression that you don't really care - and from your commentary, and your "10 words or less", it shows that you do.
Linda Richardson, East Hartford, USA

Excellent analysis of the debate. Like Gary, I was totally put off by the snide remarks about European public opinion. The US doesn't exist in a vacuum, and like it or not, we live in a global society, where our actions and words have far reaching consequences. Everyone makes mistakes, but a leader who refuses to even admit he makes them, let alone acknowledge that some changes are needed, is, in my opinion, a threat to international security.
Lydia Selwood, Virginia, USA

In response to Gary Webb: "If we'd listened to the French and Germans, odds are no one would be dying in Iraq right now." I would be willing to bet every dollar I own on those odds. The mass graves in Iraq are proof that large numbers of innocent people would still be dying in Iraq right now if the Coalition had not acted to remove the killer Saddam Hussein. I have Republican friends and Democrat friends, and I have not heard anything quite as foolish during this entire election campaign. With such reasoning, I hope Mr Webb does this country the small favour of remaining a non-voter.
Sean Heilman, Erie, Pennsylvania, USA

You seem to have made some pretty sound judgements there. Living in Europe, I know just what you're talking about.
Anne, La Rochelle, France

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