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Midwest Express Airlines Workers Mull over Their Choice for President

Aired October 18, 2000 - 2:21 p.m. ET


LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: The presidential candidates are out on the stump again today. Following last night's final debate, Democrat Al Gore is in Des Moines, Iowa, talking about Social Security. We're awaiting his arrival. We will take some of that live when it happens. A campaign event originally set for Kansas City, Missouri was canceled, because, as you know, that state is mourning the death of its governor in a plane crash.

Republican George W. Bush is in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, one of those key battleground states. He's talking with workers there about his plan to rescue Social Security and to reform Medicare. Bush heads to Michigan next.

The candidates, of course, roamed the stage in St. Louis last night, aggressively staking out their territory on the red carpet and in the policy arena. Bush and Gore differed sharply on health care issues, specifically, a patients bill of rights and education, specifically, vouchers and tax cuts, specifically, how much of a tax cut should Americans get. Bush tried to cloak Gore as a big spending liberal. Gore painted Bush as friend of the rich.

A snap poll from CNN-"USA Today" and Gallup found folks split on who won the debate. Forty-six percent say Gore, 44 percent say Bush. Almost two-thirds of those surveys found Bush to be a more likable fellow. But a similar amount, 57 percent, think Gore did a better job of clearly expressing himself.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: And with one eye on politics, the other on their portfolios, perhaps, CNN's Jeff Flock is talking with some people in Wisconsin today about the debate and the economy.

Jeff, hello, where are you?

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm in unique spot as we always try to be. We're inside the maintenance facility at Midwest Express Airlines. This is Mitchell Field in Milwaukee. Perhaps you see the enormity of this place. And this is where they prepare these aircraft for air.

In our unending battle to try -- and an effort -- to try and bring you voters in their workplace, we're talking to people this morning, or this afternoon, I should say, about last night's debate and the roiling economy. Laurie Secora (ph) is here with us. And give me a sense for what you thought of last night and how it all played out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I watched the first and the third debate. I missed the second one, and I like last night's debate for the simple fact that the questions came from the audience. They couldn't be, you know, rehearsed. They were spontaneous. The candidates had to come up, you know, spontaneous answers.

FLOCK: You liked the format.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I liked the format much better than the first two.

FLOCK: Tim Beck (ph), maintenance engineer, mechanic, you work on those big jet engines. Have you worked out who you are going to vote for? and what did you think about last night?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I plan on voting for Governor Bush as the next president. I thought last night's debate allowed me to become very comfortable with what Governor Bush is going to represent. In the second debate I became comfortable with his issues, policies and agendas. And in the first debate, allowed me to be comfortable with how he's react with other administrations.

FLOCK: So, you feel comfortable about your choice. You made it.


FLOCK: Good deal.

Let's move on, if we can, as we take a look at this maintenance facility. As we said, this is Midwest Express Airlines. It's the place where they get their aircraft ready. And the other thing that's on their mind today, I know folks have been watching the stock market today. It's had a nasty day.

Do you have a sense for who the best president would be when it comes to economic issues?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel it would be president -- Bush. I feel like he has a vision for what's ahead. And is a little bit better in planning ahead and making sure there are systems in place that's going to help undergird the economy and help give some tax breaks where tax breaks are needed.

FLOCK: Are you worried about the economy at all?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, not really. I think it's going to level out eventually. I think we'll be OK. But I do think you have to be a wise investor and you have to watch your spending, make sure that you do it wisely, especially in view of increased gas prices and the things are happening, even affecting individual homes.

FLOCK: Good deal. Ask someone else if they had made their decision yet. You told me that you didn't watch the debate last night. Your a mom, you spend time getting your kids ready for school, going over their homework, but you feel like you have enough information independent of three debates.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's true. I typically lean towards the Republican Party and I do believe that George Bush's platform does satisfy my needs and my belief system much better than Gore's platform does.

FLOCK: Very good, we should, of course, point out if you haven't already gathered this that this panel is skewing a bit Republican. We had panel earlier on CNN today, that was largely Democratic. So, it's only fair that we try get both sides in there.

And as we talk about politics, we also talk about economics. It's been a rough day in the stock market.

Do you have a sense for who the best president would be from an economic, purely economic standpoint?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think from a pure economic standpoint, probably the Republican Party.

FLOCK: Over the last eight years, it looked pretty good on the Democratic side, if I can play devil's advocate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say that's exactly due to Republican control of Congress in the Senate over the last eight years, particularly from 1994 with emphasis on the budget problem in 1992, you know, brought up during the campaign.

FLOCK: Got you. Good. Mark. Thank you.

You feel the same way, yes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think so. I think that businesses are doing so well that it wouldn't really make a lot of difference which president is in.

FLOCK: Ten-four. I appreciate it very much gentlemen. Thank you. Appreciate the entree here at the maintenance facility here as we watch you work and make up your minds as the election nears.

I'm Jeff Flock, CNN, reporting live, from Milwaukee.

ALLEN: All right, Jeff, thanks, hopefully those people can get back to work now. Important work that they do on those planes.



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