Debates shunned by seniors

Local party activists are a lot more interested in the recent presidential debates than some senior citizens who said they had heard enough.

Candidates Vice President Al Gore, Democrat, and Texas Governor George W.

Bush, Republican, are not setting television viewing records in Kingman.

"We checked on the debate during commercials and listened to the news afterwards," said Leona Harris, as she looked up from her quilting work at the Kathryn Heidenreich adult center.

"I just want them to keep their hands off social security.

The system has worked for a long time.

I just don't take any of them very seriously after all these years."

She blamed the drug companies for high (prescription drug) prices and wasn't sure the government would be the right answer.

She said she did not understand why drugs could be so much cheaper in Mexico than at the local drugstore.

The adult center regularly buses seniors to Mexico from Kingman to buy prescription drugs.

Marilyn Taraba was working on the same quilt.

"Congress has to pass the laws.

Neither candidate can get the job done without them.

All this debate is really kind of silly," she said.

Both women said they had made up their minds at least four months ago.

So they are focused on completing the quilt so it can be used as a drawing prize to raise funds for the adult center.

Floy Burrage, who is retired and volunteers at the senior center, said the debates were not much help.

"I think I know who I will vote for, but I could change before the election," she said.

Most of the seniors at the center on Thursday were more involved in another part of the health care issue.

Primier, a bankrupt insurance provider, was meeting with their former clients to instruct them on how to file claims.

In contrast to the seniors, local Republican and Democrat organization leaders were watching the debates with great interest.

Kingman Area Democratic Club Chairman Richard Glancy said both candidates looked reserved and wellprehearsed for the second debate.

"It was a scripted replay of the first debate with both candidates being careful not to make mistakes," he said.

Glancy said he expects the Gore campaign to attack Bush's record as governor in Texas.

"I think most partisan viewers of the debate thought their candidate won," Glancy said.

"You really had to know the details in each candidate's programs to tell the facts and the differences."

Sandi Reynolds, president of the Kingman Republican Women's Club, said Bush displayed a good knowledge of foreign policy.

"The information I get from the Republicans is that Bush gets the information when he needs it from a good team of advisors," she said.

"He surrounds himself with quality people and gets all the information when it is time to use it."

She felt that Bush defended his record in Texas effectively.

Her husband, Tom, was pleased the debate covered education and military issues plus the need to change the tax structure.

"Bush has a good handle on the military needs and will rebuild our forces and improve moral," he said.

Glancy said it was important for Gore to clearly state his stand on guns.

He (Gore) needs to let people know that gun ownership is OK but handguns and assault weapons need to be regulated," he said.

"It is the children and the schools that must be protected."

The final debate in the three-debate series will be held Tuesday in St.

Louis.