|Mohammad Mubarak for Sentinel
Community watch the Obama vs McCain debate outside the Los Angeles Sentinel headquarters.
They are expected to return for the vice presidential debate
By Kenneth Miller, Sentinel Managing Editor
By Jennifer Bihm, Sentinel Staff Writer
Hundreds of Los Angeles residents gathered in front of the Sentinel offices last week for the first of three presidential debates featuring rivals Barack Obama of the Democratic party and John McCain of the Republican party, and they cheered Obama and booed McCain during their 90 minute verbal confrontation.
Watching debate on a big screen television set on Crenshaw Blvd., they tuned in attentively in the first presidential debate featuring an African American candidate.
The Sentinel, KDAY radio station, the New Frontier Democratic Club, Ward Economic Development and We Vote for Change provided the many guest with refreshments and hot dogs, and they have all pledged to return for the vice presidential debate watch on Thursday Oct. 2 at the Sentinel offices at 3800 Crenshaw Blvd.
National polls showed no clear winner in last Friday’s presidential debate between the nominees, but Obama got a boost in a recent gallop poll that showed him leading McCain 50 to 42 percent.
The hundreds of people gathered in front of the Sentinel that night made it clear who would have their vote in November. Cheers went out to Obama while McCain garnered his fair share of jeers from the audience as they talked about the economy, national security and foreign policy.
“I received an email about [the debate watch party] and I thought it would be a good idea to watch with the community to get an idea of what everybody in this neighborhood was thinking,” said L.A. resident Donna Edwards of why she chose to come out instead of watching the debate at home.
“It’s just something about being in the company of believers,” agreed fellow resident and Obama supporter Alicia Allen.
“It was important for me to be in an environment where I could feed off the energy of others.”
For the audience that night, Obama with his words, represented the “real” problems of America’s citizens.
“Stop giving tax cuts to people who don’t need them,” he said, drawing loud applause.
His proposal was to give tax cuts to 95 percent of the American people “who have been struggling before the current economic crisis,” he said, as opposed to McCain who said he would focus on pork barrel spending
“He’s a real person,” Edwards said.
“I don’t get the idea that he’s part of a political machine, like we’ve seen for the last eight years.”
“I believe he can turn things around,” Allen said. “People connect to him.”
Debate highlights include Obama opposing the Iraq war and but encouraging additional troop support in Afghanistan and McCain insisting on continued American presence there. Neither talked about a clear plan for the economy and as far as foreign policy Obama said that U.S. officials should be willing to meet with foreign leaders, even leaders considered to be dangerous, in an attempt to find a diplomatic solution to threats posed by these countries. McCain opposed Obama’s plan and thinks that serious “preconditions” need to be set before high-ranking U.S. officials “legitimize” foreign leaders by meeting with them.
Vice presidential candidates Joe Biden and Sarah Palin will face off tonight.