Obama and McCain supporters host debate watch parties

Friday, September 26, 2008 | 6:04 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama square off tonight in the first debate of the presidential election at the University of Mississippi. The verbal sparring begins at 8 p.m. and will be carried on all major networks. PBS anchor Jim Lehrer will moderate.

Don't want to watch alone? Head out to a local watch party.

A group of Obama supporters will watch the debate at Kayotea in downtown Columbia. If you'd like to join them, head to the tea shop, located at 912 E. Broadway, at 8 p.m.

The MU College Republicans are watching the debate at the Columbia Victory Office, located at 1301 Vandiver Road, Suite P. Frank Donatelli, Republican National Committee deputy chairman, will drop by the party at 6 p.m. to make some remarks, said Tina Hervey, Missouri Republican Party communications director. Partygoers are welcome to go to the office beginning at 5 p.m., when the group will begin calling voters for support.

Whether you are watching at a party, with friends and family,or at home, the League of Women Voters has some tips to help you get the most out of the debate and make an informed decision. Here are its top five tips:

1. Think ahead

Before the debate, ask yourself which issues are most important to you and jot down what you'd like to learn from each of the candidates.

2. Are they answering the question?

Pay attention to how the candidates answer the questions. Are they specific? Sincere? Knowledgeable?

3. Keep track of topics

Are the candidates being asked about your priority issues? Are the questions fair and pertinent?

4. Talk it out!

Afterwards, talk about the debate with your friends and family. Did the debate sway your decision? Did you learn something new about the candidates' positions?

5. Vote on Nov. 4.

It is your best opportunity to make your voice heard and help shape the issues that affect all of us. Visit to prepare yourself.


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