Gore speaks at Howard University

About 100 GW College Democrats visited Howard University to listen to Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore address a packed auditorium Friday. The event wrapped up Gore’s weeklong campaign trip promoting his education platform.

Students said they enjoyed Gore’s uncharacteristically energetic and humorous speech, which followed his guest appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman the night before.

Gore doesn’t deserve the criticism that he is an uncharismatic and unpersuasive speaker, freshman CD Alan Martinez said.

The vice president spoke mostly about reforming America’s school system and stressed the importance of higher education.

It’s no accident that I’m here, Gore said. This university is an amazing institution in this country. Imagine what our nation would be like without graduates from Howard.

The Democratic nominee’s speech struck home with the crowd, which was filled with students.

One of the greatest resources in the land is the idealism of college graduates, Gore said. They give of their hearts to their beloved community.

Gore stressed the importance of procuring more federal money for students to pay for school, including more Stafford Loans, Pell Grants and work-study awards.

Gore addressed his education priorities, including revolutionary advances and improvement in education, treating teachers like the professionals that they are, reducing class size, modernizing schools (and) having universal pre-school for every child, in every family.

Gore sparked the most favorable reaction of the night among students when he announced his wish to make most college tuition tax deductible, so families can afford to send all students who want to go to college to college.

The candidate also touched on environmental protection, the economic boom, health care and campaign finance reform.

He attributed college students’ low voter turnout to disillusionment with the political process.

Cynicism, disaffection and lethargy are the enemies of progress, he said. Believe, without reservation, that we in the U.S. of A. can do the right thing.

The vice president also said he supports giving D.C. a vote in Congress. Before she introduced Gore, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), received overwhelming crowd support when she referred to the half million D.C. residents who have no vote with Congress.

Gore and vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman are the original co-sponsors of the D.C. Statehood Act in Congress.

In his speech Gore spoke about the death of Prince Jones, a Howard University student who was shot five times by a Prince George’s County police officer Sept. 2. Gore’s comments, which brought the crowd to its feet, addressed racial profiling, an issue that is deep-seated with many Howard students.

Jones was an outstanding young man, Gore said after calling for a moment of silence in Jones’ honor. Racial profiling has to come to an end.

Gore received another standing ovation when he spoke about his support for the National Hate Crimes Law.

Before Gore entered the auditorium, many supporters who had been handed African-Americans for Gore/Lieberman signs removed the word African to express unity among the mixed crowd.

(That) was the coolest thing, CD Martinez said.

Sophomore Dave Kay, a CD board member, said Gore’s trip to Howard was appropriate.

Howard is a premier black education institution in America; the population is a very important constituency to the Democrats, he said.

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