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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 July, 2004, 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK
Voters' views: Chase Erwin
In the run up to the American presidential elections we will be asking a panel of voters - selected from as wide a cross-section of people as possible across the US - to share their views on the key issues.

Linda Alston
Linda Alston:
Madison, Wisconsin

Jim Hill
Jim Hill:
Sudbury, Mass.

Neil Sherman
Neil Sherman:
Germantown, Tenn
Chase Erwin
Chase Erwin:
Austin, Texas

Nancy O'Leary Pew
Nancy Pew:
Seattle, Washington

Laura Stietz
Laura Stietz:
Sidney, New York

Chase Erwin

MEET THE PANEL
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"

Although I am undecided as to who to vote for, the new Kerry-Edwards ticket sounds more pleasing to me.

John Edwards' youth is a selling point. He more closely understands the plight people of my age are facing financially and the challenges we face in continuing our education.

In this sense, the generation gap between the two men is an asset, rather than a drawback.

I think that if more voters my age see things the same way, the Bush-Cheney campaign is in for a good fight.

Bush and Cheney's website, for example, is directed more towards middle-aged voters and though they have a university student-oriented website, they rarely mention financial relief for current college students, only future students.

Our panel: Where they live

And the civil rights of lesbian gay, bisexual, and transgender people are not even mentioned.

I have yet to hear proper debate about the two issues most important to me: paying for higher education and healthcare coverage.

I am in debt almost $10,000 because of lack of medical insurance and problems with my school scholarships.

But my vote is starting to swing, and it's because of the combination of youth and experience that the newly formed Kerry-Edwards campaign carries.


Your comments:

Bush and Cheney are both super rich white guys that are far right of the general population. I think the right term here is "lesser of two evils", which is Kerry and Edwards.
Gutter, Boone, NC, US

Bush/Cheney have completely disenfranchised the youth. With soaring education costs, and no plan to relieve it from the right, our only hope is to have Kerry implement the excellent plan that Edwards put together to make higher education accessible to middle and lower income families, a demographic Bush/Cheney have clearly left behind. It doesn't bother me that either Kerry or Edwards are rich... Bush and Cheney are too. Unfortunately today you almost have to be filthy rich to be in US politics.
Aaron, Chicago, IL

Kerry's campaign definitely seems more in touch with the younger voters
Brian, Tampa, Florida
I agree with Chase completely, especially as a fellow young person. Kerry's campaign definitely seems more in touch with the younger voters; from their campaign website, to their message of hope for the future on things like the war in Iraq, the environment, health care, and creating jobs and opportunity. These are issues that really hit home.
Brian, Tampa, Florida USA

I think Chase is way off base on the new Kerry/Edwards team. Kerry/Edwards are two of the most liberal senators in the US Congress to date. What does Chase want, universal health care? Peter (below) mentions that Chase may be drafted if he were to vote for Bush/Cheney. I'm a little confused. Since when does one man, the President, decide whether our nation goes to war? He can certainly influence where the United States gets involved and where we don't, but the ultimate Defence Budget/Policy is approved by Congress. Although I'm 20, one year older than Chase, I certainly do not see it his way. If he's having difficulty paying for higher education and health care maybe he should join the military. Chase should be thankful he even has the opportunity to go to college in a peaceful nation, not to mention the fact he can take out "student loans" and get federal aid to go to school.
Patrick, Beaufort, South Carolina, USA

I agree with Chase too. I believe, Edwards is a plus to Kerry. Kerry suffers from the similar drawback that Al Gore had four years ago. They both have less interesting demeanour. So having a young energetic partner on your side is always a plus. Talking about experience or lack thereof - what has the vast experience of people in the White House (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, etc¿.) brought us?
Lilay, Virginia, USA

As for Edwards' youthfulness, voting for that would be falling into Kerry's trap
Tim, Bethesda, MD, USA
Experience? Edwards has had only one term as a North Carolina Senator. As for his youthfulness, voting for that would be falling into Kerry's trap. Do you think youthfulness guarantees national security or a strong economy? Do you think terrorists are less likely to strike the US because we have a handsome VP? Don't be fooled, re-elect Bush.
Tim, Bethesda, MD, USA

Kerry should have picked someone that covers his weaknesses. When George W Bush picked Dick Cheney he picked someone with experience in world affairs and it was a brilliant move, it added to his nomination. Adding John Edwards will not add experience to Kerry's platform and as for adding excitement to Kerry's campaign, we will have to wait and see.
Raj, Sacramento, CA, USA

I agree with Chase, having just graduated college and being two months away from losing my health insurance - even though I have a chronic illness. It's funny, however, that he doesn't even mention the fact that he could be drafted or sent off to war if Bush/Cheney are re-elected. I also suppose that he's only 19, and has yet to look for a job after college. I've just graduated and there is not much out there - some of my friends who graduated early in December have yet to find any sort of work. Kerry/Edwards certainly get my vote.
Peter, New York, USA

I think it is odd that Chase thinks Edwards' youth somehow allows him to relate to our generation. I mean sure he is 10 years younger than Kerry but he is still over 50 years old. I'm sorry but 50 year olds have no more relation to my generation than a 60 year old. Also, to Peter in New York, where do you get your claim that we will be drafted if Bush is re-elected? To my understanding a few legislators have called for a draft on a theoretical level but Bush has not. Read up on your politics pal.
David, Seattle, WA, USA

The reason Bush and Cheney focus more on the middle-aged segment of the population is because college students don't vote
Christopher, Austin, Texas, USA
Chase, the reason Bush and Cheney focus more on the middle-aged segment of the population, and not our age group (I am also a college student), is because we don't vote. All the Rock the Votes in the world won't change that. Second, for Peter in New York, I am willing to put money down that I will not be drafted if Bush and Cheney are re-elected. It's over-zealous rhetoric like that that impedes on productive political discussion.
Christopher, Austin, Texas, USA

A trial lawyer on the one hand, the head of a multibillion-dollar international firm on the other - it seems to me that Edwards' income is quite a bit closer to the average American's.
James, Arlington, VA, USA

Congratulations to you for paying attention. Of course you know the reason the Bush/Cheney website doesn't mention civil rights for gays or transgenders. They don't believe they deserve to have them. Try Kerry's website, where you will find very specific info about college tuition, jobs and healthcare, among many other issues. I'm not sure why people want to point to Kerry/Edwards and say they are rich. Are Republicans the only ones who are allowed to be wealthy? Bush/Cheney are both millionaires and have become quite a bit richer in the past few years thanks to the policies they created. Fortunately, Kerry and Edwards both believe that empowering all people makes for a healthier and more prosperous society.
Eileen Hamilton, Scarborough, Maine, USA

They're super rich white guys who are right of the general population
Philip Levis, United States
Do you question whether the middle class will be fooled into thinking that Cheney and Bush represent their best interests? They're super rich white guys who are right of the general population. One winning point is that, although we may not like big medical malpractice lawsuits, Edward's wealth came from his own work, not daddy.
Philip Levis, United States

Ed, you're oversimplifying things. Most voting Americans are well aware that politicians tend to be rich. Many of them have been business people (Bush/Cheney), doctors (Sen Maj. Ldr Frist/Howard Dean), lawyers (Edwards/Ashcroft). If all you (and the conservative establishment)can come up with is "liberal, flip-flopping lawyer", I think all Bush has is a chance. But to win he'll need something he's much more familiar with: prayer.
Maggies, USA

I think having a trial lawyer on the ticket is great, I also have looked into the cases Mr Edwards handled, they were not frivolous cases, but cases where he really stood up for the little guy, like us.
Kim , Mericen, Connecticut, USA

I still won't vote for Kerry because I don't see that he has a firm plan for the war on terror
Jenna, Harrisburg, IL USA
Very good insight, Chase, I hope that the Bush-Cheney team sees your comments and takes them to heart. I agree that the Republican message is aimed at the older generations. There isn't much to appeal to younger voters. I'm in my 30s, and usually vote Republican, but they don't even appeal much to me anymore. Unfortunately, neither do the Democrats, and I still won't vote for Kerry because I don't see that he has a firm plan for the war on terror. I don't always agree with Bush's, but at least I know where he stands.
Jenna, Harrisburg, IL USA

I think it's important to remember with Edwards is that he also made his wealth from very little. His father was a mill worker and he never had a lot of money. In some ways Edwards has achieved the "American Dream". I think he could be an inspiration for the American people.
Adam, Boston, USA

The difference between Bush and Edwards couldn't be more striking... I wish the nation's Democrats had gone with Edwards in the primary. Kerry, however, tries hard to draw a distinction between himself and Bush, and often the differences are just dismissed as "Liberal" or "Conservative". Edwards is a Southern moderate who speaks powerfully and he adds a lot of credibility to the ticket. Edwards, unlike Bush, earned his millions.
Adam, Milwaukee, Wi USA

John Edwards couldn't win the primary in his home state of North Carolina. That should tell the American people something about Mr. Edwards.
Tony, Swindon, UK

Tony, in Swindon, should pay more attention to the politics he's trying to use as a point. Edwards dropped out of the race on 3 March, but the North Carolina Caucuses weren't until 17 April. Of course he didn't win, he wasn't on the ticket! That should tell us something about the validity of Tony's criticism.
Karrie Hunter, North Carolina, USA

Kudos to Edwards' hard work
Nazim Haqqani, Charleston, West Virginia, USA
The point is not that Kerry and Edwards are rich but that they started out poor and through hard work and toil reached success. It is the true American dream that a mill worker's son through education rose to the highest office in the land. Kudos to Edwards' hard work.
Nazim Haqqani, Charleston, West Virginia, USA

Seems that everyone here in the US is concerned with one or two issues that just affect them. What about larger economic or foreign policies? America is at a critical time as we, as citizens, need to take a long view to ensure the survival of our way of life.
Dave, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

I believe Edwards is a plus to Kerry. Kerry suffers from the similar drawback that Al Gore had four years ago. They both have less interesting demeanour. So, having a young energetic partner on your side is always a plus. Talking about experience or lack thereof, what have the vastly experienced people in the white house (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, etc) brought us?
Lilay, Virginia, USA

Kerry's campaign definitely seems more in touch with the younger voters
Brian, Tampa, Florida, US
I agree with Chase completely, especially as a fellow young person. Kerry's campaign definitely seems more in touch with the younger voters; from their campaign website, to their message of hope for the future on things like the war in Iraq, the environment, health care, and creating jobs and opportunity. These are issues that really hit home.
Brian, Tampa, Florida, USA

I really don't see how adding a trial lawyer to the ticket will help. Both Kerry and Edwards are super rich white guys who are left of the general population. I question whether the middle class will be fooled into thinking that these limousine-liberals represent their best interests. I think the Democrats have actually chosen two weak candidates that Bush has a chance against. How is that possible?
Ed, Austin, Texas USA





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