Texas may not be a critical swing state in this year’s presidential campaign, but that doesn’t mean Texans aren’t eager to hear the candidates make their case and press for votes in tonight’s debate.
At the State Fair, taking a break under a shade tree along the Esplanade, mother and daughter Maria and Annabel Mendez would like to hear some practical proposals from the two presidential candidates.
“Um, to lower gas prices down and more jobs,” said Maria Mendez. Her request was echoed by Annabel, “the jobs and the economy.”
Bruce Brown of Ferris will be looking at the candidates themselves, more than listening for particular issues.
“I’d like to see how they handle themselves. I know the president is an excellent speaker and I just want to see what Mitt Romney says under pressure,” said Brown.
Student Cheyenne Whittier of Dallas and father-of-two David Rosado from Garland want to hear something of substance.
“I really would like it if those asking the questions would hold the candidates to answering the questions and not let them slide off with a slight answer or a platitude,” said Whittier.
“I hope to see a competent debate, not one that is about bashing each other, but really looking at what the presidential nominees are going to do for the people. That’s basically what I’m looking for,” said Rosado.
But Rene Caraveo doubts anything new or different will come out of the debate. He plans to skip it.
“I already know what I’m going to do,” said Caraveo. “It’s not a game changer at all.”
Not so fast, says Mark McWhorter of Arlington.
“I don’t think America’s made up their minds yet. I’m one that’s on the fence for sure, and I don’t know which way I’m going to vote yet,” said McWhorter. “So the debate is very important.”
Texas, a longtime Republican ‘red’ state, is not getting the campaign attention of swing states, like Colorado – the host state for tonight’s debate. But McWhorter says that doesn’t mean there aren’t votes to be won and lost. Another fairgoer predicts the Texas audience for this first debate will be a big one. She says the curiosity factor – the candidates on the same stage for the first time – will have Texans tuning in.