Dan and CesarStamford Mayor Dannel Malloy answers Cesar Olivera’s questionDemocratic gubernatorial candidate and Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy had his work cut out for him Saturday as he toured the state with a bus full of high school journalists. He spent close to nine-hours on and off the bus with the high school students, who watched him debate his Democratic opponent New Haven Mayor John DeStefano in Wallingford and heard his stump speech at least seven times before the day was over. At the end of the day at the Hartford Road CafŽ in Manchester, the students summed up their observations and spelled out the differences between the two Democratic candidates.

Hartford Public High School student Cesar Olivera said Malloy appeals to emotion when he speaks. “He projects well,” too, he said. DeStefano, “is verbally not as strong,” and that could hurt him because subconsciously it says something about a person’s overall character, Olivera added. dan busMalloy addresses youth on bus tourThe students had never seen the two debate before Saturday. Hartford student Tremaine Williams, who writes for the newspaper, Echoes from the Streets, said DeStefano likes to use statistics, “which people can tune out.” “Mayor Malloy is more about practical politics,” he said. Malloy “likes to go for the emotional,” Olivera said. He said people aren’t going to remember statistics they’re going to remember who is willing to give them the shirt off their backs. “It’s about trying to make a connection,” Olivera said. Williams said it’s like when former Gov. John Rowland defeated Barbara Kennelly. “It was a close race between her and Rowland, but in the end she wasn’t much of a speaker,” whereas Rowland, “was slick and a good speaker.” Hall High School student Sam Ritter, nephew of former Speaker of the House Thomas Ritter, said DeStefano and Malloy’s ideology is “not too far apart.” However, Malloy’s “style shows much more promise in being able to defeat,” Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell in November, Ritter observed. Williams noted that Malloy has a track record of defeating Republicans. Olivera jumped in “nine times” to be exact. Could the students have been influenced by riding the bus and eating the food provided by the campaign? Olivera admitted he may have been influenced by the bus ride, but at the moment was still supporting Malloy. However, “that doesn’t mean I can’t change my mind,” he said. “It’s a long way to November.” Williams said it’s good that Malloy decided to listen to youth because “youth can keep you updated on new and fresh ideas.” He said he wished Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez would listen more to the youth instead of trying to do everything. Besides being mayor, Perez made himself chairman of the Board of Education and according to recent reports, tried to bully the legislature into passing legislation.