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Town meeting finds Gore-Bush encounter inconclusive

TAMPA, Florida (CNN) -- Undecided voters participating in a CNN/Time "town meeting" in the battleground state of Florida seemed to consider Tuesday's presidential debate between Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush a draw.

Wolf Blitzer and undecided voters
Many undecided voters offered mixed reactions to the first presidential debate between Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush when speaking with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, left, at the University of Tampa in Tampa, Florida  

The panel gathered at the University of Tampa to discuss the debate after the encounter between Gore, the Democratic candidate for president, and Bush, the Republican contender. A significant number of people considered the event a draw, though more of those who did see a winner in Tuesday's face-off scored the event for Gore over Bush.

Only two appeared to have been convinced to vote for one candidate or another -- one for Bush, one for Gore. Despite several substantive exchanges on key issues between the two major-party candidates, many of the voters at the Tampa forum said they wanted to hear more detail before pulling the lever in November.

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"I didn't really hear anything that I wanted to," said Travis Abercrombie, an education student at the university.

An 18-year-old preparing to vote for the first time, Abercrombie said many of his fellow students tuned out Tuesday night.

"I'd be surprised if any of them were watching this right now," he said. "No one really cares about the presidential election until they get older. For me to be here right now is kind of weird."

Among other issues the group at the university wanted to hear more about were gun control, retaining teachers in public schools and the U.S. role in the Middle East.

Yolanda Clifton said Gore appeared more studied than Bush on the issues, particularly on international policy questions.

"Bush seemed to stumble a lot on those issues," she said, but Bush's appeal for a new civility and bipartisan tone in Washington intrigued her. "I'm still not convinced."

One of those on the Tampa panel who was convinced was Valerie Powell, who said she would vote for Gore.

"I've been voting Republican for all my voting life, and I've decided to change parties," she said. The vice president "managed to say what I needed to hear," she said. "I was confident in his speech, his tone. He was professional, he wasn't derogatory."

 
EUROPE'S VIEW
Where do Bush and Gore stand on issues of importance to Europe? Launch our Interactive Guide.

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WHAT'S AT STAKE

VIDEO
Watch selected policy speeches and campaign commercials from the major presidential candidates.

WHERE THEY STAND
See where George W. Bush and Al Gore stand on the major issues.

THE STATES
Who are your elected officials? What is the past presidential vote and number of electoral votes in your state? What are the presidential primary results and exit polls? Find out with these state political and election facts.

ELECTION GUIDE
Get Election 2000 zip code searchable candidate biographies and other material for races for governor, Senate and House in our Election Guide.

FOLLOW THE MONEY
How much money have the candidates raised? Here are their quarterly reports to the Federal Election Commission.

RACES
If you need to know who's up in 2000 and what seats are open, launch this quick guide.

WEB WHITE AND BLUE
Allpolitics.com is a partner in the Web White and Blue rolling cyber-debate, a daily online exchange among the major presidential candidates. Look for twice-daily updates Sunday through Friday until election day.


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Tuesday, October 3, 2000


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