Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

What Locals Are Looking for in the First Presidential Debate

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Democratic president Barack Obama will face off in their first live debate Wednesday night (tonight). KSMU’s Rebekah Clark asked people at a Springfield library what they are looking for from both candidates.


On November 6th, millions of Americans will step into booths and cast their votes for a new president. 

Citizens in the Ozarks are interested in what candidates have to say during tonight's debate. The Library Center in Springfield was already abuzz in the morning hours leading up to the debate, with locals planning to tune in.

Bob Dickens, a 28 year veteran of the armed forces, is one of them.


Reporter: Are you planning on watching the presidential debate tonight?

Dickens: Absolutely.      

Reporter: What are you wanting to get out of the candidates? What are you looking for?

Dickens: What they have in mind in the event that they are elected, what would they do to change especially the economy and our overseas policies.


Another local, Elaine Reindl, doesn’t have anything specific she’s looking to hear from the candidates. She says she doesn’t just want to know what the candidates plan to do in office, but how they plan to do it.

“Details. I mean not these off in the wild blue yonder. I want details. This is for domestic things, like jobs. I don’t want them to say, ‘we need more jobs,’ I say, ‘How are you going to give it to us?’”

Many people milling around the library echoed Reindl’s words.  Several said they don't feel like either candidate is fully telling the nation the truth.

Jan Furr says she’s specifically looking for honesty from both candidates. She thinks the discourse between Mr. Obama and Romney will help bring that out. She’s even throwing a viewing party at her house, complete with a chili dinner and friends.


Furr: We’re having friends over who are of a different persuasion than we are.

Reporter: What are you wanting to see from the candidates?

Furr: I want to see honesty. I want to see straight talk about our financial situation and foreign policy.


John and Kim Branham feel the same way. Jon says both he and his wife are Romney supporters.

“We’re looking for the truth to come out. We’re kind of partial to the Republican side. We hope that Romney finally comes through and presents his programs. He’s saying all the good things and the right things, the truth part comes from the other side. And I don’t think we’ve seen much of that lately.”

Others, like Neil Summers, are intentionally choosing not to tune into the debate.

“To be honest with you, I don’t see promise out of either one of them; I’m just in the neutral zone. Maybe there’s somebody else eventually that will come along hopefully, if not I’m voting neutral.”

Some said they were just, quote, “fed up” with politics; others said they weren’t interested at all.

For KSMU News, I'm Rebekah Clark.

**ANCHOR TAG:  The debate will start tonight at 8 p.m., and will be broadcast on KSMU and Ozarks Public Television. There is also a free community viewing for the public, followed by a discussion, at the Gilloz Theater in downtown Springfield. Doors there will open at 7.