Where do the presidential candidates stand?

When the interviews for this article n the presidential race started, it was obvious to assume there would be a lot of people who favored Barack Obama. After all, he seems to appeal to many young people and Vermonters. But while he certainly had his support, what wasn’t anticipated was how little students knew about him and fellow presidential hopeful John McCain.

Some of the answers from the dozen students interviewed included “I’m very ill informed about both,” and “I like Obama, because he believes in change,” and “I like McCain because he is the best of the worst,” and even “It won’t change my every day life, so I don’t care.”

When professors were interviewed, however, many, like Spanish professor Ana Maria Alfaro-Alexander, were able to give examples of what they liked.

She said she likes that Obama plans on giving a tax break to the middle class and that he wants to be independent of foreign oil by 2010.

Science professor Peter Kimmel favors Obama’s timetable for withdrawing from Iraq and fellow science professor Brad Coupe feels that Obama is the better choice as he doesn’t like McCain’s “drill here, drill now approach.”

However, even some faculty and staff members admitted to not being as informed about our country’s presidential candidates as they’d like.

Because The Spartan feels it’s important for potential voters to make an informed decision this November, here are some key points the candidates have talked about.


According to his Web site, to make college more affordable Obama plans on creating a tax credit that will make “the first $4,000 of a college education completely free for most Americans, and will cover two-thirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or university and make community college tuition completely free for most students.”

He also plans on simplifying the application process and creating a community college partnership program. He wants to “help schools determine what skills and technical education are needed to help local industry; expand new degrees for emerging fields and reward schools that graduate more students.”

McCain hopes to create a student loan continuity plan for college students.


Many topics were talked about involving women and their bodies including stem cell research, abortion, domestic violence and equal pay. As for stem cell research, Obama is for it where as McCain is not, including using human cells developed in animals.

The candidates also differ on whether or not abortion should be legal, with Obama believing it should and McCain saying it shouldn’t. Obama also co-sponsored the Prevention First Act that helps prevent unwanted pregnancies.

McCain did not seem to mention domestic violence or equal pay, however Obama did. He co-sponsored a bill that helps combat domestic violence and he also plans on getting equal pay for women.


McCain’s plan is to cut back on the price of gas and food. He wants to “institute a summer gas tax holiday which would suspend the 18.4 cent federal gas tax and the 24.4 cent diesel tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day.” He also plans on rolling back corn-based ethanol mandates, which he feels are the cause of the rising food cost.

Obama plans on raising minimum wage each year he is in office, creating five million green jobs and providing tax cuts for the middle class. He also wants to end tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas and reward the companies that support American workers.

Energy Resources

When it comes to energy resources, both candidates seemed interested in becoming less dependent on foreign oil. Obama wants to see the use of hybrid cars grow, provide short-term relief for families who can’t swing the high price of gas, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and get more electricity from renewable resources.

McCain also wants to use renewable resources, and along with that use nuclear power, coal and he wants to start drilling for oil in the United States.


When it comes to Iraq, McCain has no intention of pulling out any time soon. He says it is “strategically and morally essential for the United States to support the government of Iraq to become capable of governing itself and safeguarding its people.” He doesn’t want to pull out before that has happened and before Al Qaeda is defeated.

Obama wants to end the war and have a “responsible and phased removal of our troops” He hopes to have one to two brigades a month be removed and he feels it would take until 2010. To ensure long-term stability, Obama plans on leaving what he calls a residual force, that won’t be permanent, that will “conduct counter-terrorism missions against Al Qaeda and continue to train and support Iraqi security forces.

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