Alaskans Cheer and Jeer Their Home Town Guv
By Matthew Mosk
ANCHORAGE -- There were a lot of zingers and winning lines in the vice presidential debate, but home town Gov. Sarah Palin's best moment may have come with her "shout out" to the children of Gladys Hill Elementary School.
"That's cool," said one woman, who had written "Barack" in large black letters on her forearm. "I like that."
The crowd of 400 Alaskans at the Bear Tooth Theater Grill, a dinner theater here that broadcast tonight's vice presidential debate on a movie screen, cheered and jeered for 90 minutes. The debate didn't change many minds, accept among a handful of Democrats who said they were expecting Palin to fall on her face.
"I was expecting Tina Fey," Democrat Frank Bonfield, 50, an oil pipeline worker, said, referring to the "Saturday Night Live" comedienne whose biting spoof of Palin has become a sensation.
But Bonfield's favorable review ended there. He did not think she won over any Democrats. Instead, he thought Sen. Joe Biden's performance might play well with his father-in-law, a Republican. "What stood out was the contrast," he said. "He was solid. No B.S."
The crowd at the theater appeared to lean heavily towards Biden. There was a roar when Biden said, "I call that the ultimate bridge to nowhere," and laughter when he referenced the Bush Doctrine. Joy Biedermann, 37, a Republican, said the audience did not reflect the political landscape in Alaska, where Palin has maintained very high popularity numbers.
She thought the majority of Alaskans would see Palin as a victor, no matter what the outcome of the election.
"I think America got to see why we love our governor," Biedermann said. "She's positive, not doom and gloom."
Posted at 11:13 PM ET on Oct 2, 2008
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