This time, candidates behave
Along with Tuesday night's unexpected middleman came unexpected politeness. "The addition of the Independence candidate brought a different dynamic to the debate," said Max Richardson, chairman of Concordia's political science dep...
Along with Tuesday night's unexpected middleman came unexpected politeness.
"The addition of the Independence candidate brought a different dynamic to the debate," said Max Richardson, chairman of Concordia's political science department.
"On Friday, Wellstone and Coleman went at each other. It was like a fight," he said.
In front of a full Concordia auditorium -- as well as an entourage of national and regional media -- the three candidates did not raise their voices nor directly address their opponents.
Instead, U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone and his Republican challenger Norm Coleman reiterated previously expressed views, allowing for Independence candidate Jim Moore to throw in his 90- or 60-second bit.
While Wellstone and Coleman sporadically acknowledged Moore's presence, they referred to one another as "my opponent."
When asked about the verity of their opponents' negative campaigning, both Wellstone and Coleman responded with cordial rebuttals.
Few in attendance were surprised by what they heard.
"It's about what I expected," said Moorhead resident Rex Howitson. "A question was asked and it was used to launch an opinion statement."
People garbed in white-and-blue Norm Coleman T-shirts berated Wellstone for dodging a question on Social Security. Those wearing Wellstone paraphernalia claimed Coleman distorted the facts.
Merlyn Valan from south of Moorhead was surprised to see Wellstone personally take credit for passing certain bills.
"It takes 100 people to pass a bill," he said. "To say I, I, I, that really disturbed me."
Sara Ruch, a Concordia junior, said she was taken aback by Coleman's negative attacks early in the debate.
"I figured it wouldn't start out that way," she said. "Coleman seemed kind of vicious."
Concordia freshman Amber Buysman said, "It made me favor the Independence Party more than before."
Phyllis Onsgard of Moorhead said she enjoyed having the opportunity to evaluate the candidates in person.
While she thought Moore did well, she said, "I believe in the two-party system where candidates run on a platform."
Overall, Concordia's Richardson said, "It wasn't much new information."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Lisa Schneider at (701) 241-5529