Volume 77 / Number 33 Jan. 16 - 22, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

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The candidates debate: Who can win? Who better not?

Interviews and photos by Caroline N. Jackson

Walder Vasterbrook, 52, construction worker, lives in New Jersey

Do you think either a woman or a black man could be elected president?
Sure, it’s America.

Which candidate scares you the most?
Hillary Clinton is a socialist and a she’s a corrupt politician.

Who are you supporting at this moment?
I like Giuliani.

Are you a Democrat or Republican?
Independent.


Lauren Conoscenti, 19, N.Y.U. student, lives in Greenwich Village

Do you think either a woman or a black man could be elected president?
I think maybe eventually but I don’t know if it will happen yet.

Which candidate scares you the most?
I honestly don’t know enough about them but I think they all have reasons to be scared of them.

Who are you supporting at this moment?
I heard Obama speak in the park and I liked what he had to say.

Are you a Democrat or Republican?
I’m not registered but I identify as a Democrat.


Richard Francis, 50, pastry chef, lives on Upper West Side

Do you think either a woman or a black man could be elected president?
Yes, but I think it’s more than just color you have to look at. Obama has been touted for his race not experience and I think if he was a white man he wouldn’t stand a chance. He is not a black man. He is biracial, actually.

Which candidate scares you the most?
Hillary, because I believe she is running on the coattails of her husband and not on her own credentials. I don’t think she has real experience besides that as a senator. Yeah, she was in the White House, but her experience is as a senator. She is running on Bill’s experience. You can elect a woman but her experience has to go hand in hand with her being a woman.

Who are you supporting at this moment?
Probably McCain. I would vote for him because of his general experience in Congress. I’m not thrilled with Obama and no one should be elected because of their race. Second is Giuliani but I think he made a huge mistake trying to run on 9/11. His personality is not there…and his personal life.

Are you a Democrat or Republican?
Independent.


Jordan Hill, 22, record store employee, lives in Brooklyn

Do you think either a woman or a black man could be elected president?
Yes, because in several large cities, blacks outnumber whites. They permeate every part of our culture and if you’re a part of our culture, you’re a part of our culture. Everyone has a say. I don’t think about race.

Which candidate scares you the most?
Hillary. First she’s married to a misogynist and a womanizer. She let him push her around all those years for the power, and I don’t really know what she wants to do with her power. She didn’t pay attention to Rwanda, like he didn’t. She doesn’t seem to be here. She just wants power.

Who are you supporting at this moment?
I’m not really sure.

Are you a Democrat or Republican?
I vote for who’s good.


Ruth Barash, 73, painter, lives near Union Square

Do you think either a woman or a black man could be elected president?
Possibly. I think that a lot has changed in the last few years with women taking important corporate jobs. People have become accustomed to seeing women at the top. Mr. Obama isn’t terribly black and that may be a comfort to many people. Black people have been portrayed in less stereotypical ways on TV. Obama’s light color and upscale manner doesn’t scare people away.

Which candidate scares you the most?
Any Republican because I’m a very left-leaning liberal Democrat. I think they’re Neanderthals and all they have going for them is their ambition.

Who are you supporting at this moment?
John Edwards. I like his populism and I don’t think he’s a phony like Hillary. He has a better chance than Bill Richardson, who would be my favorite. He has more substance than Obama. [Richardson dropped out of the race subsequent to this interview.]

Are you a Democrat or Republican?
Democrat


Jahleel Cordero, 18, unemployed, lives in Manhattan

Do you think either a woman or a black man could be elected president?
Sure. Anyone could because becoming president depends on the way they think and how they handle things.

Which candidate scares you the most?
No candidate scares me.

Who are you supporting at this moment?
Hillary. I don’t know why. I want the girl to win.

Are you a Democrat or Republican?
I don’t know.


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