Dianne Bystrom, Catt Center, (515) 294-3181
Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720


AMES, Iowa -- The responses of Iowa State University students to the presidential debates will be part of DebateWatch, a program of the national Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD).

Iowa State's Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics is organizing three DebateWatch groups on Oct. 3, 11 and 17. One of the goals of DebateWatch is to record responses to the debates before the political spin starts, said Dianne Bystrom, Catt Center director and DebateWatch facilitator.

Student members of the Center's two leadership development programs, the Legacy of Heroines scholars and Catt Associates, and others will be invited to three DebateWatches. On Oct. 3, freshman students in the Center's Legacy of Heroines program and members of the Ames League of Women Voters will watch the presidential debate in the Sloss Women's Center. Students in the Catt Associates and Legacy of Heroines programs will watch the debates in 302 Catt Hall on Oct. 11 and 17. There is limited space for other citizens to join in the Catt Center DebateWatches by calling (515) 294-3181.

"DebateWatch brings small groups of citizens together to watch the televised debates; talk about what they learned, or didn't learn, from the candidates; and provide their input to the CPD," said Bystrom. "This process encourages citizens to talk with each other about the presidential candidates, issues and important electoral decision they will make in November."

The responses of the ISU groups will be provided to the CPD, which will include them in summary reports released the morning after each debate. The summaries also will be posted on the CPD Web site, http://www.debates.org. Bystrom said she plans to use the discussions from the ISU Debate Watch groups for a book she is co-editing on the 2000 presidential election.


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