New Yorkers React to 2012 Presidential Debate: Romney, Obama Battle for Americans' Votes
The epicenter of the political high drama here in the United States: the televised presidential debates. The Romney-Obama face-offs are the high stakes showdowns between the two camps -- tens of millions Americans tune in from their homes, bars, and even from their local bookstores... In a demonstration of just how much is at stake with these televised debates, New Yorkers are crammed into the Housing Works bookshop, one of many hundreds of public showings across the city. It's a young crowd whose anxieties reflect those of the majority of Americans nationwide -- the economy. Accountant Chantel Richard lives in a city which predictably votes Democratic every time. But she casts her ballot in the swing state of Florida, one of the top battlegrounds in the race for the White House. The first debate traditionally draws the most viewers -- this year some 67 million people tuned in. But debate organizers hope a new, more freewheeling format may draw more viewers to the second town-hall formatted debate, and the third and final forum focusing on foreign policy. As the candidates and their vice-presidential running mates make their final arguments, active voters will be scrutinizing their every utterance. This is now the prime forum for them to convince that last group of voters who have yet to make up their minds - the independents - who may just hold the keys to the White House. Stephen Fee, JN1, New York.