In the run up to the American presidential elections we will be asking a panel of voters to share their views on the key issues. Here they give their opinion on the third and final presidential debate between US President George W Bush and his Democratic challenger John Kerry.
MEET THE PANEL
Equipment finance manager
Current voting intention:
In 10 words or less:
"Family man, business owner, community volunteer, gardener, fisherman, sports fan"
I felt this debate about jobs, healthcare and the budget was the most defining of the presidential debates.
Both candidates were prepared and the moderator's questions seemed well balanced.
President Bush spoke clearly about how he led changes to the many ineffective systems in place when he came to Washington.
He was clear on how he has worked with both parties to achieve fundamental improvements across many different areas.
He explained clearly that additional progress will be achieved by building on the strong foundation created in the face of a recession and an attack on our mainland. He had real style and substance tonight.
Senator Kerry gave many promises for the future. He claims to have all these new plans but shares few details with the electorate.
He showed command of facts and figures though no examples of his accomplishments in the legislature.
In his 20 years in Congress he has been part of the problems Bush inherited but rarely part of any solution, having had just five bills signed into law during those many years - a stunning failure for a career politician.
I thought his mention of Mary Cheney, when asked if homosexuality was a choice, was a cheap swipe, and it defined Kerry's lack of substance.
Bush was presidential. Kerry was far less than that.
You're right. Senator Kerry was a part of what Bush inherited: a surplus economy, which Bush squandered. The recession began in March 2001, Bush didn't inherit it, he created it. Votesmart.org has Kerry's voting record, really investigate how he voted. If you look at his record, you'll see the cuts he voted for were to balance the budget. He voted against a bill that gave military personnel a 2.4% pay raise. Do you know why? Because he was rallying for a bigger pay raise. The next budget, he voted yes to a 3.8% pay raise for military personnel. Don't take anyone's word for it, check the facts for yourself.
Carla, Texas, USA
I see it the exact same way. Wake up people. Bush is trying to help you too! Let's hear the real stories about how Bush's policy is directly affecting you. I only know from the small and medium sized business sector of the US that he has had a positive effect and there are percentage wise less small business failures today than there were in the height of the Tech-Booming Clinton years.
Why would Kerry's mentioning of Cheney's openly gay daughter be a swipe? Even Cheney has acknowledged her as gay and to his credit is her proud father. Being gay is not an insult, it is a fact of life. Kerry was sound, concise, and strongly on point.
Stephen Burt, Portland, USA
I think it is very clear this gentleman listened to what he wanted to hear, which was all Bush's evasions. I heard Bush completely not answer a question and just go on with his message. It is clear Jim is a hard line Republican. I heard Kerry lay out how he was going to do things. This gentleman only heard what he wanted to.
Jennifer, CT, USA
Bush didn't inherit the economic problems, he caused them. Tax cuts for the wealthy in wartime? Any economist can tell you that's not the best idea. How does he plan to solve the problems he's created? Make the tax cuts permanent, and the economy will eliminate the record deficit he's created. At least Kerry actually explains where some the money to pay for his ideas will come from. Bush promised three trillion in new spending and just says the economy will pay for it.
Stephen McNally, Dublin, Ireland
I was a Democrat who was gung-ho for Kerry down here in Florida. I even volunteered for his campaign. But the last few months - the war in Iraq, Kerry's horrific campaign, the terror attacks in Beslan and Taba - made me rethink. I went from Kerry to undecided. The third debate tipped me to Bush. And my friends, who watched the debate with me (10 in the room were pro-Kerry or leaning Kerry), came to believe that Kerry has "a plan" for everything. Kerry lost the third debate more than Bush won it. But Kerry is going to lose this election because he sounds like he is running for the US Senate from Massachusetts, rather than for President.
Ronald Emmis, Miami, Florida, USA
You mention that Kerry is "part of the problems that Bush inherited". By these problems you must mean a surplus budget, lower unemployment, lower medical insurance costs, higher taxes for the rich and affordable education. Fear not Jim, Bush took care of all these problems and more.
Charles, Los Angeles, CA
It is glaringly obvious that Jim is a hardline Republican. I am quite politically neutral, and feel that both candidates made good points in turn.
Nadir, Rochester, USA
Mr. Hill clearly does not know what he is talking about. Bush presidential? Based on one comment of Kerry's about Mary Cheney? Please. For months now the Bush surrogates have called Kerry's family every name under the sun, and when Kerry points out Miss Cheney's sexuality to make a point... remember, she was not brought up at the end of Mr. Cheney's speech at the RNC. That somehow makes Kerry lacking in substance? It seems that Mr. Hill is part of the problem inherited from the Republican Party. Attacks on someone's character or how someone acts in the world is more important than the facts.
Tanya Elder, New York, NY
I'm always amazed by how quickly Republicans will change their views when an issue actually affects their family. They'll decry homosexuality, abortions, assault-weapons bans, and those who aren't adequately patriotic. But when its a family member who's gay, they'll want gay rights; if their 14 year old daughter is date-raped by her boyfriend, they'll want access to abortions; if a student brings an assault weapon to their town's school, they'll want gun control; if their father is sent on three tours in Iraq as a Reservist, they might question the strategy of their government. Republicans seem to ignore the reality of citizens living in a messy, chaotic world, while Democrats try to help people, all people, get through it as best they can.
Megan Owen, Somerville, MA USA