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SDSU students discuss presidential candidates after third debate

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Trump takes a drink during the first 2016 presidential debate.

Trump takes a drink during the first 2016 presidential debate.

Jonathan Heisler/ FLICKR

Jonathan Heisler/ FLICKR

Trump takes a drink during the first 2016 presidential debate.

by Will Fritz, Senior Staff Writer

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Students at San Diego State are displaying mixed feelings towards the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, following the third presidential debate on Oct. 19

Immigration, Russia, the Supreme Court and abortion rights were all topics discussed during the third debate.

Clinton called Trump the “puppet” of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump responded by saying Putin had outsmarted her and President Obama during Clinton’s term as U.S. Secretary of State.

Clinton reaffirmed her support for abortion rights after Trump said she supported abortions during the final month of pregnancy.

Clinton said Trump was mischaracterizing her position. She said she believes the government has no right to interfere in what she called “the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make,” and that she thinks the health of the mother has to be a priority when considering abortion rights.

Trump also said he would not commit to accepting the results of the Nov. 8 election. In recent weeks, he has repeatedly said the election will be rigged.

Before the third debate, Trump made international headlines when he told Billy Bush, an Access Hollywood anchor at the time, how his star status allows him to grab women by their genitals without consent in a leaked audio recording from 2005.  He was also heard describing an attempt to have a romantic encounter with a married woman.

The leaked video was discussed in the second presidential debate on Oct. 9. During the debate Trump referred to what he said as “locker room talk.”

In the weeks that followed, numerous women stepped forward to say they were sexually assaulted by the Republican nominee. Trump has since denied these allegations, calling them “totally false” in the third presidential debate.

Trump said “nobody” respects women more than him, and instead diverted the conversation to Clinton’s email scandal and her Clinton Foundation controversies.

International business sophomore Frank Feeney said he was shocked, but not surprised by  Trump’s comments about grabbing women and the accusations that followed.

“The tape that came out was – it was more than what he said in the past – but it’s in line and similar to comments he’s made in the past,” Feeney said.

However, he said he does not feel the leaked audio is likely to cause people to change their preferred candidate.

“My friends who I’ve asked and are supporting Trump haven’t changed their minds since hearing that video,” he said.

Junior education major Christopher Felix also said Trump’s statements about sexual assault were immoral.

He said Trump’s bragging about sexual assault and the accusations that followed are indicative of his lack of morality, although he said he believes some of the women accusing Trump may be dishonest.

“I do believe there are probably some out there who are just trying to seek attention,” Felix said.

However, he said he believes most of the accusations are accurate.

“It’s a good piece of information to see true character, I mean that’s important throughout the whole election process, but I didn’t have the inclination to vote for him.”

Felix said he will be voting for Clinton, although he does not support her “100 percent,” citing her ongoing email scandal and his previous support of other candidates as reasons.

Feeney, however, said Clinton supports real issues that are important to him. He is the president of Best Buddies of SDSU, which matches students from SDSU with adults from all over San Diego with disabilities, so he said Clinton’s support of people with disabilities is one reason for his support of her.

“The platform she’s running on and how she wants to help people with disabilities and help have people get jobs is very important to me,” Feeney said.  “Just the progress and experience she has is very important to me, as well.”

Freshman Laura White, who also said she is voting for Clinton, was unimpressed with Trump’s debate performance.

“It was interesting, it was entertaining,” she said. “(Trump) is okay when he can just relax. But he can’t. Like, even when Hillary was speaking, whatever she was talking about, he would literally just interrupt. Like, repeatedly. Like, every other word.”

White said she thought Trump went over his allotted speaking time too often.

“I don’t understand why they don’t just cut the mics. Like, just cut him. At two minutes, just cut it.”

White said although she is not excited about Clinton, Trump as president would be unacceptable to her.

“I’m not even necessarily a fan of Hillary,” she said. “You don’t have to be”.

She said Clinton’s email scandal and the general perception of Clinton as being “unhip” cannot be compared to remarks by Trump that she perceives as racist.

Kevin Urban, an exchange student from Germany, said the election has become too personal, especially compared to elections in his home country.

“They argue a lot about things which don’t have anything to do with politics,” he said. “I am proud of my politicians when I see yours.”

Urban said if he were able to vote in American elections, he would vote for Clinton, but only because she has more experience than Trump. He said he believes Clinton is interested in solving issues, while he thinks Trump is merely “telling people what they want to hear.”

“He’s dealing with fears, and she with real problems,” Urban said.

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