Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/washington/news.aspx?id=101163
Story Retrieval Date: 5/25/2013 1:04:28 AM CST
Washington -- Political party lines were drawn as clearly as the kelly-green-and-white-striped table cloths at Summers sports bar in Arlington, Va., during the final presidential debate Wednesday night. Fox News coverage channeled through one side of the bar, where Republicans gave it up for maverick moves. A wall away, Democrats pledged to “Barack the vote” and cheered at the CNN TV broadcast.
Despite the separation, members of the dueling crowds had more in common than a taste for cold beers: The final debate had no sway on whether they’d vote for Sen. John McCain or Sen. Barack Obama to be the next American president.
“I’m going into this (debate) decided to vote for Obama,” said Bsrat Mezghebe, 26, as the candidates took the stage. “I don’t expect this debate to change my mind at all. I would like to see Obama seal the deal and put the nail in the coffin.”
This could be bad news for members of the two parties who are funneling top campaign dollars into Virginia in attempt to woo voters in the key battleground state.
“Experience is one of the most important things I’m looking for right now because (our country is) in serious trouble,” said Taras Zvir, 32, who pledged his vote to McCain long ago. “We need experienced people to get us through.”
Even the poor souls at Summers who were torn between the two parties called the final debate useless.
“I want somebody else to ask some tougher questions,” said Alex Chojnowski, 25, who left the bar Wednesday night with his vote still up for grabs.
Chris Grizzard, 31, also held onto his undecided status. Grizzard said he was unmoved by the debate, and he hoped to learn more from post-debate print news coverage.
“An actual debate would have made up my mind,” Grizzard said. “They continue to campaign instead of actually debate points … they continue to dance around the real issues. We don’t know the real truth.”
In the only corner of Summers bar not dedicated to the debate, Greg Osier, 26, and a small group of friends tuned into a professional soccer game as the candidates faced off. While Osier’s indifference to the debate was easy to pick out of the crowd, it’s hard to question his reason for choosing slide tackles above verbal attacks.
“I absentee voted for Barack Obama on Wednesday,” said Osier, who will be out of town during the Nov. 4 election. “The last two debates didn’t really change anything. There weren’t a lot of controversial issues brought up. They just repeated their party lines.”