Monday, September 29, 2008

LGBT New Yorkers weigh in presidential debate

With today's developments on Capitol Hill and on Wall Street, it appears crystal clear the economy will dominate the remainder of the presidential campaign. This reality became evident at the first of three presidential debates held at the University of Mississippi on Friday.

New Yorkers immediately weighed in on which candidate they felt addressed the crisis and handled themselves better in the debate. It appears as though most observers quickly concluded Obama fared better than McCain, but Republicans, including the one interviewed for the below article I just posted to EDGE, indicate the former prisoner-of-war came out on top. The partisanship will only increase over the coming weeks. And it will generate even more headlines.

With the ongoing economic crisis showing no signs of easing, New Yorkers gathered in bars, social clubs and apartments on Friday night to see if either Sens. John McCain or Barack Obama would offer specific solutions during the first of three presidential debates at the University of Mississippi. Neither candidate elaborated their positions beyond their campaign trail talking points, but local LGBT partisans were quick to put their own spin on how their respective White House hopeful performed.

The Democratic presidential contender was the obvious favorite among the hundreds of people who packed the LGBT for Obama debate party at Room Service in Gramercy. McCain received a steady stream of boos, hisses, obscene gestures and proclamations. And a number of attendees even threw crumpled pieces of paper at a large big screen television as he answered moderator Jim Lehrer’s questions and responded to Obama.

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn offered a pep talk of sorts before the debate.

"It’s important that all of us are in this room tonight," she said. "There is just too much at stake."

Jess Braverman, 25, of Prospect Heights, expressed shock over McCain’s continued support of private health care. She was equally critical of his economic stance.

"It was interesting John McCain’s only [instinct] was having oversight," Braverman said. "It was obviously something he said to get a reaction. He didn’t have anything solid."

She further noted health care, the economy and Iraq remain the three issues on which she will continue to focus. City Council candidate Yetta Kurland added she felt Obama adequately addressed the ongoing Wall Street turmoil.

"He has been very clear and very concise," she said.

On the other side of the aisle, a number of gay Republicans attended a New York Young Republicans-sponsored debate party at the Metropolitan Republican Club on the Upper East Side. Gregory Angelo, a spokesperson for Log Cabin Republicans of New York, was quick to applaud McCain’s performance.

"John McCain clearly showed he was the better, more decisive candidate in terms of his ability to protect the American economy and our interests throughout the world," he said.

A snap poll conducted by found 73 percent of respondents thought Obama performed better than McCain in the debate. Fox News reported 54 percent of those surveyed after the debate said Obama won.

McCain and Obama are scheduled to debate at Belmont University in Nashville on Oct. 7 and at Hofstra University on Long Island on Oct. 15. Vice presidential candidates Joe Biden and Sarah Palin will square off at Washington University in St. Louis on Thursday.

Manhattan resident Bryan Kutner, 34, expressed concern Obama’s oratory style fails to resonate well with independent voters. He remains optimistic, however, Democrats will win the White House this November.

"Obama hasn’t made any serious gaffes," Kutner said. "McCain has made gaffe after gaffe."

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