MEMPHIS — I spent last night with a group of debate watchers who ended the evening with opinions unchanged from how they felt when it began.
It was an interesting group, mostly lawyers from Memphis, brought together at a party with a red, white and blue donkey and elephant cake (quite delicious) and sure to stay friends after the debate.
I had this story on today’s front page:
MEMPHIS, Tenn. | Sen. Barack Obama may have lost some support when he said people earning $250,000 or more were rich, but Friday’s first presidential debate changed few minds among a mixed group of voters.
“I’m completely conflicted, I really have no idea what I’m going to do,” Anne Tipton, a Memphis attorney, said before the 90-minute debate started.
“If I went into the voting booth tomorrow I’d just have to stay in there,” she said.
Mike Scholl, an attorney who hosted the debate watch party at his home, did not like it when the Democratic presidential nominee defined wealthy people.
“I know a lot of guys who make that much as small business owners like me, and I wouldn’t consider them rich,” he said. “It’s not rich by any stretch of the imagination once you pay taxes.”
But he still can’t make up his mind.
“I felt like it was sort of half and half, it didn’t really help me,” he said.
Read the full story here.
One fascinating element I didn’t get to mention much in the story because it happened after deadline - David Plouffe’s “persuasion army” I’ve written quite a bit about was out in full force.
In particular, two Obama volunteers at the party worked to convince Scholl why Obama’s tax plans are better for the middle class. They seemed confident they had done their job, and pointed to several people at the party they said had gone from undecided to Obama voters.
At the party I met a team from Brooklyn who have been traveling the nation for a coffee table book about grassroots Obama supporters. Check out the site, their work is quite impressive.
Here’s Stephen Dinan’s story summing up the debate.
I’m sitting on the tarmac on Obama’s plane before a busy day of campaigning.
We’re heading first to North Carolina for a rally with Sen. Joe Biden and then we’ll be in Fredericksburg for an evening rally.
Stay tuned for post-debate spin.
—Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter,
The Washington Times
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