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ISSUE 118 VOL 7 PUBLISHED 11/5/2004

Bush wins re-election

By Jean Mullins
News Editor

Friday, November 5, 2004

Bush wins re-election By: Jean Mullins

President George W. Bush will remain in office for another four years after Democratic Party nominee Sen. John Kerry conceded Wednesday and Bush was declared the winner of the 2004 Election.

At time of press, Bush had won 279 electoral votes over Kerrys 252. Bush received 51 percent of the popular vote while Kerry received 48 percent.

Im glad its over, Karl Huemiller 07 said. It was stressful.

Despite nationwide apprehension as to the counting of ballots, the possible mechanical failures of voting machines and the overall closeness of the presidential race, Election Day occurred without any major problems as of our press date.

Some students expressed dissatisfaction with the outcome. I wish Kerry had held out longer to hear the vote count, Rebecca Lofft 05 said.

In the week before the election, some high profile personalities came to campus to promote their respective candidates, or, in the case of presidential candidate Ralph Nader, promote themselves.

On Tuesday, Oct. 27, Nader came to campus to promote his new party, A Better Life Party. Along with Nader came several Nader supporters, all promoting rallies and the Nader platform.

Nader started his speech with an attack on the current two-party political system.

"There is a difference between these two parties and the needs and dreams of the American people," Nader said.

He then spoke on the need for a living wage, not a minimum wage. He also spoke on the challenge for the average worker to find adequate healthcare insurance. As part of his platform, Nader is promoting a national system of universal healthcare. He pointed out that 18,000 people die annually from lack of adequate health care coverage, which Nader termed "genocide."

Nader made the case that a low minimum wage and poor health care insurance for workers are the result of corporate crime. He promised the audience that, if he were elected president, he would crack down on corporate crime, citing corporate scandals of the last few years as examples of corporate corruption.

Nader also addressed Iraq, noting that an exit strategy is needed, but claiming that neither candidate has one. Nader said of the situation, "Our country is full of problems we dont deserve and solutions we dont apply."

Nader also spoke on the budget, noting that the majority of government money goes to defense. As part of his platform, Nader would rather see budget money invested in schools, hospitals, roads and libraries. He also promised to make public university tuition free for all.

"It is pretty staggering to see what is ignored by our federal budget," Nader said.

Nader, even though he arrived an hour and 15 minutes late, stayed late into the evening answering audience questions.

Actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio also came to campus last week on Wednesday, Oct. 27, to speak to students on behalf of John Kerry. His speech focused on Bushs environmental policies and Kerrys proposed environmental policies.

Many students were amazed that a celebrity of such fame would come to St. Olaf. "You know you live in a swing state when Leonardo DiCaprio comes to St. Olaf," Katie Henly 07 said.

DiCaprio was preceded by speakers from the local Kerry campaign and St. Olaf. Heidi Romanish, the field organizer for the Kerry / Edwards Campaign, told students that they have an opportunity to make a difference in this election. Krista Siems 07 of the College Democrats also encouraged students to get involved on election day by volunteering for the "Get the Vote Out" effort.

Dana Burtness 07 spoke next, talking about St. Olafs efforts to make the campus greener. "We are well under way to becoming the greenest campus in the nation, Burtness said.

Among the efforts, Burtness mentioned St. Olafs purchase of an industrial composer, the wind turbine project, the chemistrys department efforts to run "green" reactions that produce less chemical waste and the use of biodiesel in St. Olaf utility vehicles.

"Sustainability is a long term goal at St. Olaf," Burtness said.

Next, Professor of political science and environmental studies Sherri Breen spoke about the importance of voting with an environmental conscience when living in Minnesota, a state rich in farm land, prairies, wetlands and forests. "We have a lot at stake in whos in Washington," she said.

Breen encouraged the crowd of students to seriously consider the environment when voting, saying that conservation policies must be continued and expanded. "Lets demand that citizenship take a distinctly green view," she said.

Finally, DiCaprio spoke to the mostly female crowd. He started off saying, "I got involved because I believe this is the most important election of our lifetime."

He said that his desire to get involved with the Kerry campaign was due to the "incredible erosion of environmental policies under President Bush."

DiCaprio told the crowd that Bush had consistently put the interests of big corporations ahead of the interests of the environment. He pointed out that Bush himself does not believe in global warming.

"We need someone in the White House who believes in science," DiCaprio said.

DiCaprio concluded his speech with a pitch for Kerry, restating some of the Kerrys campaign promises: Kerry had promised in his campaign to renew the Clean Air Act and reduce the United States dependence on Middle East oil.

DiCaprio spoke to an audience which was a mixture of Kerry supporters, fans of DiCaprio himself and people who were interested in seeing a famous face.

"My ultimate reason for coming to see Leonardo was not to actually see him per se. It was actually a ploy to somehow contact film composer John Williams. I was hoping to give Mr. DiCaprio a letter explaining my aspirations to become a film scorer and see if he could somehow relay a message to John Williams," said Jonathan Bartz 08, letter in hand.

Both speakers came to campus in the final week before the election, hoping to sway undecided voters.

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