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
Name: Neil Sherman
Lives: Germantown, Tennessee
Works: Retired naval officer, Presbyterian minister
Current voting intention: Undecided
In 10 words or less:
"Husband, father of six, grandfather of 17, soccer fan"
This is the most undecided I have ever been for a presidential election.
Both candidates presented themselves well. They were less strident than the last debate.
However both resorted to standard stump rhetoric when they couldn't answer the questions asked.
I was also put off by all of the data and statistics. Who knows who is telling the truth?
Kerry wants to do just about everything different while Bush seems to want more ownership in our society.
I thought it interesting that Kerry mentioned Senator John McCain several times and Bush mentioned Senator Ted Kennedy once.
Both had good closing statements. Kerry still looked the most relaxed throughout.
Their responses to the question on their own faith were interesting and sincere.
I prefer Kerry's pro-choice stance on abortion. While I am opposed to abortion on moral grounds I strongly feel that this is an issue between the mother and her faith.
I respect the president's position, but just do not agree with it. I prefer his stance on assault weapons.
I also think Kerry's position on social security is the better option. We must not privatise this important retirement benefit. Leave it as it is and fund it properly.
President Bush's response to the border and immigration issue also appealed to me. I agree with him that we have better border security now.
Both candidates dodged the minimum wage issue artfully.
Overall, I am happy the debates are over. This debate was one too many. I still have a lot of thinking to do on this matter.
Our polls open this Saturday in Tennessee, as early voting is allowed in this state, but I am not ready to cast my ballot.
Regarding the minimum wage, Kerry articulated his plan to raise it from $5.15 where it has been for seven years, to $7. He made clear his wish to do what is possible to raise the standard of living for the lowest paid wage earners in our society. President Bush, on the other hand, is quite content to continue lowering taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Quite a contrast, I'd say.
Donald Broder, Studio City, USA
Neil: I cannot imagine what you're undecided about. You are right to point out how skilfully and selectively both candidates dodge many questions, but the bottom line which cannot be argued is this: President Bush has utterly failed by any way in which you can measure a leader. Our economy, our environment, our health care, our jobs are all worse off after four long years of his "leadership". Not to mention a completely unnecessary war that has isolated us and spawned only more hatred against the West. If President Bush were the CEO of a corporation, he would have been fired long ago.
Ken Miller, San Francisco, CA, USA
Both candidates dodged the minimum wage issue artfully? Did Neil even watch the debate? Kerry said he'd put the minimum wage up because it was shamefully low. Bush told people to go back to school. How is that a case of both candidates dodging it? It's Kerry giving an answer and Bush dodging it.
Alan Fairfax, UK
I am a pro-choice young woman from Austin, Texas and I think that most women that have to get an abortion are not thinking it is a faith-based decision. It is a decision based on economics, lifestyle, fear, lack of social support, or any number of reasons. No one should make that decision for her.
Andrea Christine Powell, Austin, Texas, USA
How did you reach the conclusion that both candidates dodged the minimum wage issue? I agree that Bush did, but Kerry said straight out that a raising of the minimum wage was long overdue and that he would raise it to seven dollars.
Ryan Albert, Austin, Texas, USA