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Wednesday, October 18, 2000

Campaign 2000

Who won it
in Hawaii? Whose
side are you on?

By Mary Adamski

Small crowds at the two presidential candidates' campaign headquarters in Kakaako came to predictably partisan conclusions after the third debate.

"Bush is saying things the majority of people want to hear," said Paul Hooper, who watched yesterday's televised exchange with about 25 other people at Republican Party headquarters. "Very simply, the majority of Americans want smaller government."

Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono, surrounded by about 30 people at Gore headquarters, said: "I think Al Gore's message is that he cares about the working families. He did very well in highlighting the differences between the governor and himself. This is about the undecided vote, so why mush things up?" she said, in response to criticism of Gore's forceful style.

Republican state Rep. Barbara Marumoto, Bush campaign chairwoman, said: "Three strikes and Gore's out." She said Bush's "biggest applause here came when he said he will work to fight cynicism that plagues our youth, that they want someone in the White House who will tell the truth."

"The atmosphere here was exultant," said Chris Baron, Youth for Bush chairman.

Baron, a University of Hawaii graduate student, said: "I was happy to see young people asking questions. People say that Generation X is not engaged in the election. It's not the issues that turn young people off, it's the attitude that Gore was personifying, the bickering, snarling ... he seemed kind of desperate. Gen-Xers are good at seeing through these facades. As a political-science student, I can't understand why Gore took this tactic. It did not serve him well."

Baron said he heard "Bush personifying his record, bringing common-sense solutions. His tone was respectful, talking kindly and gently to the American people. Bush spoke for us."

A few blocks away in distance, and 180 degrees in perspective, 24-year-old Jill Tokuda said, "Gore has a better plan for the future."

The chairwoman of the Gore Net for young voters heard Bush being vague and supported Gore's aggressive style. "It is important for him to point out differences at the very beginning ... people's attention might waver.

"In terms of style, Bush didn't answer questions. When asked a direct question, he often answered in a canned response, it was very evident."

Bush supporter Hooper, chairman of the UH American studies department, said: "Most observers have said Al Gore is a better debater and I'm inclined to agree. But the other thing is personality and whether one agrees with Bush, he is a pleasant, likable guy.

Gore campaign director Alex Santiago said: "People have become spoiled, wanting an answer with one concise phrase. After being in office for 10 years, I know it is difficult to give them that. I think Al Gore did good job of simplifying issues but not making trivial cliches. I saw that occurring with Bush. He was obviously coached by advisers to continue his theme."

Santiago, who did not seek re-election to his House seat, said, "While style is important, my hope is that the voting populace has reached a level of sophistication that they can see past just style and that substance is important. After all, we are talking about the most important job in the world." Election Results
State Office of Elections

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