- Title: USA: Cigar bar patrons in South Carolina discuss debate ahead of primary
- Date: 21st January 2012
- Summary: VARIOUS PEOPLE WATCHING DEBATE ON TELEVISION
- Embargoed: 5th February 2012 12:00
- Location: Usa, Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA5ZJ6VEXA9F3ULPYHSCMYGIGNS
- Story Text: Patrons of Charlestowne Tobacco & Wine smoked their cigars and sipped their glasses of wine in Charleston, South Carolina, Thursday (January 19) night as they watched a live broadcast of the Republican presidential candidates' debate aired on CNN.
David Donnell, a Republican, is one of the owners of the downtown cigar bar that has been a destination for both locals and tourists to debate political issues since it opened five years ago.
"People come in here and solve the world's problems, you know, they take care of everything in this store so yeah, you know a lot of political talk in this store so, it's part of the scene so it is nice to see'" he said.
Donnell said he has not decided which Republican candidate he will vote for in Saturday's "First in the South" primary, but thought former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney performed well in the debate and would win.
Donnell joined Democrats, Independents and Republicans from both the Charleston area as well across the United States to watch the last debate ahead of the Palmetto State primary.
"I think Romney has the best chance to go against Obama, I think Paul has the best ideas, I think Santorum is really a dark horse but he could pull it out and Newt needs to go one," Phil Lee, a police officer from Washington, D.C., said. Lee identifies himself more with the Democratic party but said he has historically voted for either Republican or Democrat candidates.
Mason Hicks, an undecided Republican voter from Florence, South Carolina, said he was impressed with the candidates' performances during the debate but had yet to decide how he would vote.
"I think the candidates are doing great so fair. I really wish with the questions they are asking which are fantastic questions so far tonight, I wish they would show their honest opinions of these issues and really give us an idea of who to vote for over the next 12 to 24 hours as we come to our primary, so doing great so far', he said.
Meanwhile, Lynn Gargis, an independent voter from Clemson, North Carolina, did not think the four remaining Republican candidates could beat President Barack Obama in the general election.
"I think it's funny that they are all going after Obama and making very little distinction among themselves," she said.
Since 1980, every winner of the South Carolina Republican presidential primary has gone on to win the party nomination. The southern state has gone for Republican candidates in nine out of the last ten presidential elections.
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