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N.H. Voters Watch Democratic Debate At Movie Theater


New Hampshire is the first primary state, so lots of voters there were watching the debate last night. Jason Moon of New Hampshire Public Radio hung out with some of them in a movie theater in the state capital.


JASON MOON, BYLINE: Before the debate, people stocked up on sodas and popcorn just like any other movie night. But voter Pentti Aalto says there is some serious work to be done and some big questions to be answered in this debate.

PENTTI AALTO: What directions are we trying to go in? Do we need larger change or cleaned-up version of the same? I'm not sure.

MOON: As the debate gets underway, it's clear the audience is not shy about voicing their opinions. A lot of candidates get applause. Some get heckles, and everyone seems to appreciate the one-liners.


KAMALA HARRIS: You know what? America does not want to witness a food fight. They want to know how we’re going to get food on their table.


MOON: When I check in with voter Chris Carter during a commercial break, she offers a quick list of her impressions of the candidates so far.

CHRIS CARTER: I think Kamala Harris is doing a very nice job. I wish Pete Buttigieg was doing better because he's very smart. And I think Marianne Williamson - I don't know where she went (laughter).

MOON: Nicolette Galagrano, meanwhile, is just glad to see how far left the party has moved since the last time she was watching Democrats debate.

NICOLETTE GALAGRANO: I'm excited that some things have become, like, regular conversation, like "Medicare for All," and that we just keep cycling back to it - people's plans for a different version of it. And we keep coming back to it.

MOON: Another voter, Kim Gillis, says she likes a lot of what she's seeing up on the debate stage, and that's not making her job any easier.

KIM GILLIS: My goal was to have made a decision by the end of tonight. After watching last night's debate, no, I'm not there, unfortunately (laughter).

MOON: Lucky for Gillis, she'll have more chances. The next debate is only a month away.

For NPR News, I'm Jason Moon in Concord, N.H.


MARTIN: Later today on All Things Considered, Democrats in Arizona were also watching the debates closely. They want to swing the state from red to blue in 2020. You can listen to that story by asking your smart speaker to play NPR or your local member station by name.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Before joining NHPR in February of 2015, Jason interned with a variety of public radio organizations including StoryCorps, Transom.org, and WBHM in Birmingham, Alabama. He graduated from Bennington College with a degree in philosophy and sound design.