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Three leaning toward Bush-Cheney ticket

A town hall-style format in Friday's matchup between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry suited Brynn Bohlman more than the first debate. "I liked this one much better," she said.

A town hall-style format in Friday's matchup between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry suited Brynn Bohlman more than the first debate.

"I liked this one much better," she said. "Both candidates were a little looser and a little less stiff."

Bohlman, of Fargo, also preferred the varied questions asked by a select group of uncommitted voters.

By the end of the 90-minute debate, Bohlman found herself leaning toward President Bush.

"I thought Bush did a good job," she said.

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As part of a project by The Forum and WDAY-TV, Bohlman and three other undecided voters agreed to watch three presidential debates and share how the matches influence their voting decisions.

Bohlman and two other voters in the group now favor President Bush. The fourth voter, Jim Hewitt of Moorhead, could not attend Friday's debate.

"I like (Bush's) answers," Bohlman said. "He's not being vague, (saying) 'Oh, I have a plan.' "

While Bohlman has said she has misgivings about the war in Iraq, she also complained that Kerry doesn't give enough information about his plans for Iraq, health care and other issues during the debates.

She also wants to know how he proposes cutting the deficit while maintaining tax cuts for the majority of Americans. She's also skeptical of his plan to close some tax loopholes.

"Are you going to rewrite the entire tax code?" she said.

Chad Derby, a hospital security guard from Fargo, said Bush was more straightforward than Kerry.

Bush and Kerry argued over the war in Iraq, jobs, health care and drug costs, abortion, stem cell research and the environment.

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"I think Bush answered the questions with more clarity," Derby said.

Derby believed Bush was clearer than Kerry when said he was a "good steward of the land," and said that the air was cleaner and land had been restored during his presidency.

Kerry countered that Bush's environmental record is "one of the worst administrations in modern history."

When asked whether he would allow federal money to be spent on abortions, Kerry explained that he had been raised Roman Catholic but could not make decisions for everyone based on his faith.

Bush said, "My answer is, we're not going to spend taxpayers' money on abortion."

Cherie Elliott was leaning toward the Bush-Cheney ticket by the end of the vice presidential debate on Tuesday.

Her view hadn't changed by the end of the second presidential debate, though she wasn't more supportive, either.

Like the others, Elliott liked the town hall-style format.

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"I liked that we got away from all the normal questions we've had," she said.

The third and final debate is Wednesday at 8 p.m. It will focus on domestic issues.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Andrea Domaskin at (701) 241-5556

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