Coffee shop hosted debate party, CNN dropped by

By Amanda Carter


HAMPTON, Va. – On Oct. 15, food and drinks were served at a community coffee shop to a mix of customers wearing Sarah Palin shirts and Barack Obama hats and gathered around a projection screen.


The Phoebus Coffee House hosted a debate watching party for the third and final U.S. Presidential debate. Cameramen and a crew from CNN taped and reported the event.


“It was a happy accident that CNN came here,” said Anne Doop, owner of The Phoebus Coffee House. “They found us on the Internet as a non [political] party-affiliated event.”


Stuffed animal elephants and red coffee mugs accompanied a small crowd of John McCain, R-Ariz., supporters as they sat at a table.


Poster boards and volunteer sign-up sheets floated in the crowd of Obama, D-Ill., supporters who were double the number of the opponents.


“We were strong in our support even though there were only a few of us,” said Norma Hernandez, a McCain supporter from Woodbridge, Va.


The mix of partisans caused some ruckus at the coffee house, however nothing serious occurred. After the debate, loud cheers from Obama supporters and chants of “Yes we can” filled the room.


“I’m happy to be in such a critical state in the election,” said Larry Henderson, an Obama supporter from Virginia Beach, Va. “At worst the debate was a draw. McCain had to hit grand slams to redeem him, while Obama stayed solid and confident.”


“Judy Parker of Phoebus, a Hampton neighborhood, is currently undecided about the election. “I like Obama except for his views on abortion,” she said, “but he has answers, and McCain doesn’t.”


The writer is a junior at the Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.