<i>The Independent</i> Focus Group

Throughout the US elections, <i>The Independent</i> will be asking Renée, Joe, Laura and Mary Beth, American voters on both sides of the political divide, to give their views. Today they deliver their verdicts on whether Bush's speech has helped orhindered McCain
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Laura DeBusk, Democrat, Virginia

McCain has a history of making risky decisions that are made more on gut feeling than intelligent information. I believe President Bush made many of his decisions in the last eight years this way and I'm not interested in that type of decision-making from my president for the next four.

Joseph McManus, Republican, Washington DC

After Bush is gone, the Iraq war will be remembered as the President's strongest contribution to the war on terrorism, orIslamist fascism, or whatever one wants to call it. I have marvelled at Bush's resoluteness. McCain was just as resolute, maybe a step ahead even of Bush.

Renee Van Vechten, Democrat, California

McCain is not a continuation of the past, but President Bush, larger-than-life, appears at the beginning of the convention to remind everyone how McCain will "reform" Washington but won't take away the tax cuts, or cut funding for the troops in Iraq, or... well, you get the picture.

Mary Beth Ray, Republican, Washington DC

I admired Bush's speech and I think it will help McCain. The Democrats' "McSame" argument is growing weary, and anyone who follows politics knows that McCain and Bush rarely saw eye to eye. Having the President present by video monitor struck the right balance.

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