The debate started at 9:00 PM, but, figuring I'd make some contacts with national media, I planned to arrive early, shooting for 4:00 PM. I stopped at the office, and about 12 feet before getting in my car, I twisted my ankle on a stone walkway. Ouch!!
Having started out about 20 minutes later than planned, and staying longer at the office, checking emails and sending a letter to our editors, I ended up arriving about 4:45. Parking for press was free at Drexel. I have to say, overall, Drexel University did a first class job of hosting the debate, treating the press better than most other organizations that benefit from media coverage.
My Why Hillary Survey
Walking through the campus, in the middle of Drexel's quad, a tent was set up, along with a giant projection screen and speakers, and Chris Matthews was doing interviews. On the other side of the boundary fence, on the quad, supporters of all the candidates were waving signs-- most mass produced, some hand made. Though he wasn't in the debate, Ron Paul had a lot of supporters, signs and probably the most vocal group.
Later, a much bigger throng of supporters gathered on Chestnut street, in front of the entrance to the hall where the debate was being held. There were more Hillary supporters (95% women,) followed by Obama supporters.
Some students didn't go for the stock signs the campaigns provided
There were about an equal amount of Edwards and Biden supporters, Delaware, Biden's home state, being just a short hop down I-95. Most of the Obama supporters were under 25. Most of the Biden supporters were over 50. Most of the Hillary supporters were women. Matter of fact, there were so few male Hillary supporters that I decided to ask the ones I could find carrying Hillary signs why they supported Hillary.
The first guy had a bunch of hillary signs, on sticks, under his arm. It ended up he was a paid Hillary staffer. Why did he like Hillary? He'd voted for her in NY and felt she was a great senator, doing a compassionate, caring job taking care of her constituents. One of the other men I spoke had a similar response.
Next, I asked several African American men why they supported Hillary. One shrugged and referred me to the guy standing next to him "Ask him." That gentleman said something about drug addicts which I didn't understand. Then, he pointed me to a fourth man. It ends up that the three guys were encouraged to come to the debate with their drug rehab counselor.
Next, I approached a grey haired man who looked to be in his fifties. I asked him why he supported Hillary and he shook his head no. He didn't want to talk.
So I approached three more men, about 20 feet further down the street-- brawny white guys this time, and again, I introduced myself as with the press. "Why are you supporting Hillary," I asked.
The first replied, "I'm not the guy to ask." I looked to the man next to him. He raised his eyes and looked to his right to the third guy. I looked to him. "Ask him," he replied, pointing to the fifty something grey haired guy who'd blown me off, at the same time explaining that they were there for "the union." No. I didn't go back to talk to their union leader.
Finally, I spoke to three black men wearing Hillary shirts or carrying a sign. Again, I asked why they were supporting Hillary. One said it was time to give a woman a chance, that she could be a great president. I asked them if they'd considered Obama. Two of the three said they didn't know about Obama, that they were'nt finally decided yet.
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