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Debate Entertains U. Iowa Area Locals

This story was written by Rachel Goodell, The Daily Iowan

Joe Biden and Sarah Palin weren't the only ones who had to refine their talking points for Thursday's vice-presidential debate.

Supporters, flocking to numerous Iowa City downtown spots, spent the night issuing their own rebuttals, correcting so-called "facts," and - from time to time - teasing candidates for a verbal faux pas.

"Nuclear," a crowd of around 100 Biden supporters screamed at David's Place, 100 S. Linn St., every time the Republican candidate mispronounced the word.

Another common rebuttal: laughter. When Palin exclaimed both she and Biden both "love Israel" in her counterpoint, they exploded with giggles.

But over on the Pedestrian Mall, political pundits at Union Bar, 121 E. College St., saw things a bit more favorably for the Alaskan governor.

University of Iowa senior Jeff Wertz, who was watching the debate, said things were going well for Palin about 30 minutes into the contest.

"She's definitely got a little more personality than [Biden]," he said.

Wertz said he wasn't very interested in the vice-presidential debates because he was more concerned about what the presidential candidates had to say. He noted, however, he would have liked to hear more about the ongoing credit crisis the country is currently facing.

But he said Palin was responding well to the questions the moderator gave, and she hadn't made any big mistakes about midway through the debate.

Nevertheless, there was still room for improvement for both candidates, he said.

"A couple of times, neither of them answered the question," he said.

Josh Zingher, 24, thought Palin was well-dressed but her performance poor.

"It's like watching a really slow-moving train crash," Zingher said. "You can't do anything to stop it, but you know it's going to happen."

Back at David's Place, where most were clad in Obama apparel, the crowd of supporters cheered on Biden each time he gave a rebuttal.

Matthew Grimm said Palin could only repeat the "McCain-talk" that she's been given, and wasn't being challenged with difficult issues during the debate.

"She hasn't been given any hard questions," he said. "[Biden] has called her on it a couple times."

UI senior Stephanie Diamond said she thought Biden was definitely the better debater after Thursday's viewing.

"I would say Biden is the clear winner in that there's actually substance in his speech," she said.

But still, some bar patrons said they didn't think the debate would be close, and chose to watch baseball games or nothing at all.

Emery Flynn, an Iowa City resident, sat outside of Quinton's Bar & Deli while the debate was aired.

"He's been a senator longer than she's been an adult," he said. "It's like Godzilla versus Bambi."

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