Kerry's Latest Campaign Promise

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts gestures toward the audience during the Rock the Vote debate Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2003 at Boston's Faneuil Hall.
AP
CBS News Reporter Steve Chaggaris is traveling with the Kerry campaign.
One New Hampshire high school student who was disenchanted with the responses Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and the other Democratic candidates gave during Tuesday night's Democratic debate may have turned that cynicism into a ticket to college.

At a town-hall style meeting Friday with around 150 students at Alvirne High School in Hudson, N.H., senior Kaylan Sweet grilled Kerry about why he and the others "didn't really answer (questions) directly" during the debate.

Kerry immediately took the defensive, asking the student which questions he thought he didn't answer.

"I'll tell you point-blank I believe I really answered every question directly," Kerry said.

"Remember my one about gays in the military? Remember my one about smoking pot? ... Tell me what question I didn't answer," he retorted.

"You ask me any question you want to ask me, right now, and I'll give you a direct answer."

Sweet proceeded to tell Kerry that he was applying to Boston University and asked him about his plan to lower college education costs.

Kerry laid out his plan, which includes a tax credit, raising the amount of college grants available, and a program to pay students' college debts if they become employed in certain fields after graduation.

"And the final thing I'm gonna do is I'll make a phone call to B.U., if you're a good guy, and I'll help you get in," said Kerry.

For good measure, Sweet searched out the senator after the event and made sure he'd keep his promise. Kerry said, "Just get me your application and I'll make the phone call."

  • Steve Chaggaris

    Steve Chaggaris is CBS News' senior political editor.