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: Laura Stietz
Lives: Sidney, New York
Works: Law student
Current voting intention: Republican
In 10 words or less:
"Definite Republican, mother, George Bush supporter, politics and law enthusiast"
This debate was a clear win for President Bush.
Americans can clearly see who is the best candidate to run this country. President Bush is compassionate, he clearly has the best interests of this country at heart, and his priority is to keep us safe.
He will capture Osama Bin Laden and he said in this debate that we have many troops trying to find and capture this man.
People have to remember there are terrorists everywhere. The president took us to war to keep us safe and to fight the terrorists overseas, not here at home.
It is obvious now that Senator Kerry has no plan.
Every time he was asked a question in each debate his answer was always to attack the president. We know the president's plans but what about Kerry's plan?
And when he does have a plan it sure sounds like the Bush Cheney plan!
Kerry kept talking about the 1% of the wealthy getting a tax break. That is not true.
I am a single mother and under President Bush's tax plans I received more back in taxes then I have ever received before.
The tax plan under President Bush will be undone under Kerry.
He says he will not raise taxes. If you look at his Senate record, he has voted every time to raise taxes and he also wants to raise gas prices. How much more do we have to pay?
If you want a puppet on strings then vote for Kerry.
If you want a kind compassionate man who really cares about us, the American people, and can fight the war against terror, then the choice is clearly President Bush! He will keep integrity in the White House.
I cannot believe Laura Stietz's comments, wake up! How can you say Kerry is a puppet? If you watched the debate you could see that Bush constantly resorted to pre-scripted answers that often didn't even address the issue at hand. I guess we're finally seeing the end result of the Republican educational system.
Doug Weight, Toronto, Canada
I agree with Doug. Bush has repeated the same lines over and over with no definite plans. The Republicans are trying to make a case that Kerry was in the Senate for 20 years and didn't do much. We all know that it's not as easy as proposing a bill and having it passed automatically. Bush has been the President for almost four years, with all the power that entails, and still has not accomplished much.
Carol, Newtown, CT, USA
Bush certainly has a plan. It's called educating our youth for the new world economy. Democrats must tune out when they hear something they don't like. To the rest of us, Bush's comments made perfect sense (even if we don't agree with him 100% of the time). He answered directly, unlike Kerry, who first had to go through a string of criticisms, often related to the previous question, before he mentioned his "plan" and then ran out of time.
Andrea, NY, USA
Has anyone ever wondered why conservatives feel the need to call their president a "compassionate conservative"? I would never say "I'm a compassionate liberal". It is redundant. There is something very insincere or forced about the connection of "compassionate" to conservative.
Gina Broze, Seattle, WA, USA
Laura says Bush won the debate, but on what basis? She doesn't form any fact-based opinions at all in her diatribe against Kerry. "He will capture Bin Laden and he said that he has soldiers looking for him." What? He said? That's good, because what if he said we didn't have troops looking for him? Laura should look at the facts: there were more police in New York City for the Republican National Convention than there are troops in Afghanistan looking for Bin Laden.
Ben, South Hadley, USA
"Americans can clearly see who is the best candidate to run this country." Laura, I'm sure I agree with this statement, but it is definitely not Bush. The gap between the rich and poor continues to widen. The tax cut did not benefit the poor. I am a single mom, and I derived absolutely no additional return from the tax cut, but then again, I earn around $20,000 per year, not $200,000 plus!
Lydia Selwood, Virginia, USA
Not only did Kerry answer the questions he was posed, but he showed rationale behind his answers. Bush, on the other hand, kept repeating the same things, and avoided clear answers. The question on whether they thought people chose to be "homosexuals" is a clear example. Bush said "I don't know", while Kerry said "I believe that they feel what they feel, it is not a choice".
Carlos Ochoa, Sterling, Virginia
Fortunately, Laura is in New York, which has little chance of returning Bush, so her vote counts for less than nothing. Sometimes the electoral college system isn't so bad, you know!
John, New York City, NY, USA
Ms Stietz's comments are disheartening. How can she deny the truth of Bush's tax cuts because she saw a few dollars more in her tax return? I got $100. Ask George Bush or Dick Cheney or even John Kerry how much they got back. Then ask yourself: what changed in your tax circumstances besides these illusory cuts? Kerry's Senate record is not a litany of tax increases, and he passed many more than the five bills Bush claimed.
Greg Altreuter, Sydney, Australia
Laura, if Bush is so compassionate, why did he cut veterans' benefits? Why did he reduce combat pay for the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq? Why did he allow the assault rifle ban to expire?
Bill Burton, Vancouver, WA
After watching all the three debates, I have come to the conclusion that Mr Bush has no plans at all worth naming it. All he has is rhetoric on winning the war on terror which obviously he is losing. He cannot see the reality of the situation. In the last debate he avoided answers to the questions on increasing the minimum wage and not renewing ban on assault weapons. It seems obvious to me that he was ill prepared for such debates on the major issues affecting the people of America. Now is the time this country should wake up and show him where he belongs.
Kirti Shah, Las Vegas, USA
Laura's comments are dead on. Kerry attacked Bush instead of answering questions. I wanted to hear Kerry's plans, give the Senator a chance to prove himself. I think he did prove himself. He proved that he has no plan and like Laura said, is a puppet on a string. He is influenced by whomever he thinks is going to give him the most votes.
Kevin, Watson, LA, USA
Laura, Bush is the one who did not talk about any plan. What debate were you watching? In the third debate I saw Kerry spend all the time that he had talking about his plans while Bush on many questions could not even fill the time allotted with his answers and could not come up with a convincing argument of his own. I respect your support for Bush but by supporting him with a blank check, you are on the wrong side of most of the issues that Americans care about.
Tetsuyo, Los Angeles, USA