Students give analysis of GOP gubernatorial debate

    Immediately following the Feb. 13 California Republican gubernatorial debate held at California State University Long Beach, UCSD and UC Irvine students went live on UCTV to give their analyses of the debate.

    The group analysis, titled “”UC Students React,”” was hosted by Cynthia Gorney of UC Berkeley’s graduate school of journalism and was broadcasted from UCTV’s studio at UCSD. The panel featured students from various majors, representatives of the A.S. Councils at UCSD and UCI, representatives from speech and debate teams, the UCSD Chancellor’s Organization of Allied Students and The UCSD Guardian.

    The Republican gubernatorial primary debate featured businessman Bill Simon, California Secretary of State Bill Jones and former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan. The three men are competing for the republican candidacy in the fall elections.

    “”UC Students React”” presented responses to the candidates’ performances, as well as views on issues important to the next election.

    Democratic, Republican, independent, liberal, moderate and conservative views were expressed. Heated topics included abortion, education, the economy, the budget, the energy crisis and the way the candidates presented themselves.

    After watching the gubernatorial debate as a group, most of the student panel agreed that the debate was more of an assault on each candidate’s character than a debate addressing the topics important to voters and to the state of California.

    “”I was a little disappointed at the first part of the debate,”” said Steve Platt, A.S. president at UC Irvine. “”It seemed as though they were just attacking each other instead of the issues.””

    Fellow panelist Jason Fellner of UCSD agreed.

    “”Some major issues are immigration and campaign finance reform,”” Fellner said, “”neither of which was mentioned.””

    Riordan’s moderate views, which present him as more of a democrat that a republican, gave him an advantage over the other candidates, according to some panelists.

    “”Riordan’s got some more moderate values that are going to help him get elected,”” said UCSD student Amy Kolombatovic. “”Too much GOP conservatism won’t win the electorate in California.””

    This was the first time that such a program was produced by UCSD TV.

    Producers of the program hope that the pilot succeeds and there will be more demand for future political forums. If all goes well, future shows will include other high-profile elections such as the 2004 presidential election.

    “”We’d like to do it again at UCSD,”” said UCSD TV Public Affairs Producer Shannon Bradley, “”and invite more students from other UC colleges. Hopefully, this pilot will arouse systemwide interest.””

    The intent of “”UC Students React”” was to present the panelists with intelligent questions directed in a fair manner, and to allow the students to respond to the issues that viewers should concentrate on in the fall gubernatorial elections, according to Bradley.

    “”I was very impressed by the caliber of questions and answers given by the host and by the students,”” Bradley said. “”We wanted a nonbiased host, and, being a journalist, Gorney was perfect.””

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