PORTALES — Six Eastern New Mexico University students helped Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean set a Guinness World Record on Monday night.
In a Campus Union Building room decorated with Dean posters and stickers, students listened to one of 3,577 phone lines nationwide in Dean’s record-setting conference call.
Dean answered questions on everything from global warming to gay rights and affirmative action, stating his campaign is “a grassroots effort to take back a country that has gone astray.”
Justin Ward, part of an outreach of ENMU students who support Dean, said he first met Dean at a Young Democrats National Convention this summer in Buffalo, N.Y.
“The first thing I like about Howard Dean is he came to our national convention, and right away that got my attention,” Ward said.
Among Dean’s top priorities is health insurance for every child in America, something he said he was able to accomplish for 99 percent of children in Vermont, where Dean was a former governor.
“That’s something I think every civilized nation, every industrialized nation in the world, has to have for its people,” Ward said. “The United States doesn’t have that and I think that’s wrong.”
Sophomore Sarah Brooks agreed with Ward on Dean’s health care policy, but didn’t agree with Dean’s pro-affirmative action stance.
“I like his ideas on health care, I think it’s a really good idea,” Brooks said. “But I don’t agree with some of his views.”
For example, in affirmative action there may be quotas where “you have to hire 45 (minorities). Well what if only 40 apply for the job? You have to hire all of them and that’s not fair. I don’t think there should be quotas,” Brooks said.
Dean criticized President Bush throughout the 20-minute conference call, and was particularly critical of Bush’s tax cuts and defense strategies.