As published in the Record Journal, Thursday September 27, 2012
WALLINGFORD — Democratic Town Councilor Jason Zandri is inviting the public to a viewing party at Zandri’s Stillwood Inn for the first presidential debate on Wednesday, Oct. 3.
Zandri organized a similar event in 2008 that drew 50 to 60 people. He’s hoping for a bigger turnout this year.
“I wanted to see if we could do it more formally,” Zandri said. “I want it to be as nonpartisan as possible. The debate itself is always interesting. And when you get 100 people in a room you get to hear different perspectives, which are always refreshing.”
The event is scheduled from 7 to 11 p.m. at the banquet hall, at 1074 S. Colony Road.
The debate between Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney will take place with five weeks remaining before Election Day.
“Debating is a muscle that doesn’t get used very often,” said Alan Schroeder, a journalism professor at Northeastern University and the author of “Presidential Debates: Forty Years of High-Risk TV.”
“Mitt Romney is better toned because he came off 20plus primary debates,” Schroeder said. “President Obama has not been on a debate stage in four years.”
Zandri said he supports Obama, but he is still looking forward to hearing what both candidates say.
“There’s always more substance,” he said. “This gives more background and depth and helps you understand the candidate’s line of thinking. It divulges better what they are running on.”
Republican Town Councilor John LeTourneau, a Romney supporter, said the presidential debates are usually informative, “but it depends on how it’s done and what are the questions asked.”
“If there are hard questions and hard answers, you get to know the person a little better,” he said.
LeTourneau said he doesn’t want to see the candidates attack each other.
“I want to hear what you are going to do to fix the fix that we’re in,” he said.
Wednesday’s debate, to be held in Denver, will focus on domestic policy. A second debate, a town hall-style session, is scheduled for Oct. 16 in Hempstead, N.Y., and the final debate, on foreign policy, is slated for Oct. 22 in Boca Raton, Fla.
Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, and Vice President Joe Biden have a debate on Oct. 11 in Danville, Ky.
Several national polls show Obama leading by three to six percentage points, but the president has a wider margin in Connecticut.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll last month, Obama leads Romney 52 percent to 45 percent among likely voters in Connecticut. Twelve percent of Obama voters and 12 percent of Romney backers said they might change their minds.
Information from the Associated Press is included in this report.