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Biggest contest in local barrooms: debate versus Monday Night Football

In a sparsely populated dive bar in Spokane Valley, football plays on the televisions and Nick Jones has given up on politics.

“I can’t decide what’s going to be better, watching the debates or sitting in the backyard skipping rocks in the dirt,” Jones said. “I’m damn near tempted to leave that part of the ballot blank this year.”

Ten miles away in a tastefully decorated mansion-turned-tavern in Browne’s Addition, Paulette Taylor expresses a similar sentiment.

“I haven’t heard anything new. It’s the same old thing,” she said. “I thought this (going out) would be better than screaming at my TV.”

Although the two venues couldn’t be more different, the men and women watching Monday’s debate between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump often expressed similar sentiments: exasperation and, to some extent, disbelief.

“It’s very disturbing that it’s such a comedy,” Heather Moltke said, while watching the debate at Browne’s Tavern. “You have these TV personalities doing these bizarre antics.”

Moltke, a Democrat, will vote for Clinton although she considers Clinton to be “basically a Republican.” Still, Trump is too much for her.

“How he just obfuscates every single issue is impressive, really,” she said.

Ken Bennette, a retired tile layer, is sitting at the Old Mill Bar & Grill in Spokane Valley watching the Atlanta Falcons play the New Orleans Saints. Like Moltke, he’s not excited about either candidate. But he appreciates what he calls Trump’s honesty and bluntness.

“He’s not kind. But we don’t want kindness,” Bennette said, adding, “we already tried the Clintons.”

Tom Ferro, Bennette’s friend of 30 years, chimed in with concerns about immigration, foreign policy and media, which he called “our worst downfall.”

Across the street from the Old Mill Bar, Bill Nuchols was watching the debate at Bottles, a beer and wine bar, until he switched back to the football game.

“I’m embarrassed by him,” he said of Trump. “It’s not only embarrassing but scary to me.”

Nuchols works for a fencing company and said he likes Clinton’s policies, although he talks mostly about how much he dislikes Trump.

“The Trump stuff sneaks up on you,” he said. “I had no idea people in my family would vote for him.”

In downtown Spokane about six people watch the debate on the patio of 24 Taps Burgers & Brews. At one point Clinton attacked Trump over his comments about women, drawing a cheer from Kristen Moon: “Yeah girl, yeah!”

Moon campaigned for Clinton in Idaho and believes Clinton will win. Moon thinks Clinton did well in the debate and called Trump “pandering and immature.”

But at the Swamp Bar and Grill, Vance McClain, like Jones, is tired of the whole show.

“I won’t bother with this one,” he said. “I have a hard time voting for either of these people.”


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