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CNN Today

Vice Presidential Debates Don't Swing Voters in Chicago Suburb

Aired October 6, 2000 - 1:38 p.m. ET


LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: The day after Joe Lieberman and Dick Cheney sat across a table and talked shop, both men are getting high marks for sportsmanship. The one and only vice presidential debate was a civilized affair, with disagreements on taxes, Social Security, energy policy, defense, you name it, but scarcely a raised eyebrow, let alone a raised voice. At one point, the whole auditorium in Danville, Kentucky, shared a laugh.


SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think if you ask most people in America today that famous question that Ronald Reagan asked: Are you better off today than you were eight years ago? Most people would say, yes, and I'm pleased to see, Dick, from the newspapers, that you're better off than you were eight years ago, too.

DICK CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And most of it -- and I can tell you, Joe, that the government had absolutely nothing to do with it.

BERNARD SHAW, MODERATOR: This question is to you but...

LIEBERMAN: I can see my wife and I think she's thinking: Gee, I wish you would go out into the private sector.

CHENEY: I'm going to try to help you do that, Joe.

LIEBERMAN: I think you've done so well there, I want to keep you there.


WATERS: Did the voting public relish a debate they could sink their teeth into?

CNN's Jeff Flock serves up some public opinion at Portillo's (ph) Hot Dogs today in the Chicago suburb of Vernon Hills, Illinois.

Jeff, what's going on there?

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we just finished our hot dogs, Lou, and, maybe you can see back in the kitchen. We've got a camera back there in the kitchen. You can see how hard they're working out here. But, our topic today, is last night. And I guess I'm going to ask, first, what was your reaction to that sparky exchange that we just heard there, Chris? Have you got a take on it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I thought that they opened the door for that and Mr. Cheney took the opportunity, and it was definitely had its moments. Entertaining, I said wow.

FLOCK: Overall, though, this was a pretty friendly exchange. Did you like that as compared to the presidential exchange earlier in the week?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're always trying to teach our kids to be civil and to give each other a chance and to talk things out. And I'm very involved in local issues and I wish that some of our local politicians could learn from that and weigh each other's comments and give the person a chance to finish. And they seemed to also admire each other, which is something that came across with that as well, and respect each other.

FLOCK: Now, the middle of you, the three middle of you in the middle of the table there are undecided, yet. On either end we've got a Republican and a Democrat. I guess I've got to ask you for your take, the partisan Republican take on it.

Good night for your guy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely fabulous, very proud of them. I'm a fan of Dick Cheney's as I've had two brothers that served as military infantrymen during the Gulf War. And I will be forever thankful that he was the one in charge of that mission and that it was accomplished well and that they came back safe and alive, and...

FLOCK: Andy, across the table is, in fact, working on the local campaigns here on the Democratic side. A lot of favorable comments we've heard about Dick Cheney.

Did that hurt your guy, or what do you think?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think so. I think Senator Lieberman had a very good opportunity last night to make his points on Social Security and Medicare. And the format was good for that. And I think he did an outstanding job of explaining the issues, how we're going to pay for these things.

FLOCK: OK, the undecideds in the middle now. Did what you saw last night sway you in one way or another?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it didn't. I just felt very secure that both of these men could, if the need ever arise, become president someday, if it ever happened and hopefully it won't. But, and that was a comforting thought and it just really makes me have to focus in on the actual candidates. I think both these men would be very good vice presidents.

FLOCK: How about you, undecided? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They both looked good. It makes my decision that much harder. I have issues that I want to make sure get addressed and my hard part is that there's one side issues, I like their beliefs, and the other side I like other beliefs. So I got to mend them and see what I like best.

FLOCK: Part of this is about feel and part of it is about issues. Obviously, last night, everybody seemed to be happy on both sides of the coin with feel. What about the issues, when it comes down to issues?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think I'll probably end up having to go, you know, with the issues and they actually, like the abortion one, they are totally opposite.

FLOCK: How do you see it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to go with the Democratic side on that one because I do think it's a woman's choice and I think they've proven the pill to be safe.

FLOCK: But is that a deal breaker for you? Do you say I can't vote for somebody who doesn't?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am going to really have to look at it because it is sort of a fundamental thing.

FLOCK: Is there any issue out there that is a deal breaker for you one way or the other? I mean, you folks made up your minds on the end, but Chris, what about you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gun choice, the abortion choice, education, they put it all in a package and it's really hard to decide which way, which one outweighs what's most important, you know. And I think there's a lot of appointments of Supreme Court justices in the next couple of years that might be coming up that may, in turn, have an effect on that. So, I think it's important that we look at all those things. They do have a big, powerful influence that need to be addressed.

FLOCK: Everybody's agreeing this a very important election, yes?


FLOCK: Do you feel like you are more focused this year, maybe, than in previous years?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they are. I think they have maybe different ways of taking care of problems but they are aware of the problems that are around in our country. You know, and they are aware that everybody has, I don't know, priorities. My priority would be education, I have two children in college and I have two children in grammar school.

FLOCK: I'm going to give you the last word. Who do you think comes down to education closer to what you think? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, I'm still a little undecided on this, because I don't know that I would handle it the way either one of these candidates would. If I were running for President, putting myself in those shoes, I don't that I would handle it either way, you know. And I don't know that they can benefit me with any type of tax credit or voucher or anything like that, given where our income level is.

FLOCK: I'm going to leave that the last word. Thank you so much for coming today and enjoy the hot dogs later. We will continue to listen to the fallout the day after the debate and, of course, more to come. For now, I'm Jeff Flock, CNN, reporting live from Vernon Hills, Illinois.

ALLEN: We wish we were there. I think they're having a good time.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Hot dogs and second bananas, nothing better.



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