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Ohio Voters Weigh In On Sunday's Presidential Debate


I'm Steve Inskeep in Cincinnati, Ohio, one of the divided states. We're hearing voters before and after the latest presidential debate. They're in the studios of WVXU here in Cincinnati.

And we're doing something really special here because we have four voters with us here with very, very different viewpoints all in the same room, so close together they're almost touching shoulders here. And it's great to have you all here. Katie Rooney and Ennis Tait, who are supporting Hillary Clinton, Marty Surrella, leaning to Donald Trump, and Linda Caudill, who is supporting Donald Trump. Let's listen to a bit more of the debate and we'll talk about it, starting with one of the final questions from voters in the room in St. Louis last night.


JAMES CARTER: Do you believe you can be a devoted president to all the people in the United States?

ANDERSON COOPER: That question begins for Mr. Trump.

DONALD TRUMP: Absolutely. I mean, she calls our people deplorable - a large group - and irredeemable. I will be a president for all of our people. And I'll be a president that will turn our inner cities around and will give strength to people and will give economics to people and will bring jobs back. Because NAFTA, signed by her husband, is perhaps the greatest disaster trade deal in the history of the world.

INSKEEP: That's part of Donald Trump's answer. And Hillary Clinton went next.


HILLARY CLINTON: So I have a deep devotion - to use your absolutely correct word - to making sure that every American feels like he or she has a place in our country. And I think when you look at the letters that I get, a lot of people are worried that maybe they wouldn't have a place in Donald Trump's America.

INSKEEP: Well, let's discuss that. Ennis Tait, I want people to know listening on the radio that you're African-American. You're a pastor of a black church. Are you one of those people worried that you wouldn't have a place in Donald Trump's America?

ENNIS TAIT: Absolutely. And it goes a little deeper than that. I don't think that in the last ten years African-Americans have had a place in any of America.

INSKEEP: In the last 10 years?

TAIT: In the last 10 years. You think about all that we're experiencing now as people...

INSKEEP: That counts time that President Obama was the first black president, by the way.

TAIT: And here's - because the America that we know now doesn't even accept President Obama as their president. So that if you can't accept one president and you can come along and say that we can bring America back together, it's a false statement.

INSKEEP: Linda Caudill, Donald Trump supporter, do you accept President Obama as your president?

LINDA CAUDILL: No. The Trump supporters - at the present time - Congress has the worst approval rating that I think they've ever had. And Donald Trump at one of his rallies said, I will be your voice. And I think this is what his supporters are rallying around is that we haven't had a voice for so long. And Congress has not been listening to the American people.

INSKEEP: Do you mean to say that Obama doesn't support your policies or that you don't think he is president because you don't believe that...

CAUDILL: I don't...

INSKEEP: ...He was born here?

CAUDILL: ...Believe that he represents the voice of the people. I believe that the administration represents the voice of other groups - donors, Wall Street, corporate America. I don't think that the working-class people and a lot of the American people have had a voice. And I think Congress has forgotten those people.

INSKEEP: Katie Rooney, you have been critical of Donald Trump and have found him very divisive. He stood up there and said, I want to be a president for everybody. I want to fight for everybody. Do you believe him.


INSKEEP: Why not?

ROONEY: Because I've heard him. I listened to the words that he actually says. And he doesn't want to be a president for Mexican-Americans. He doesn't want to be a president to Muslims. The list goes on and on. He certainly doesn't want to be a president to women.

INSKEEP: Please, go right on Katie. Sorry about that.

ROONEY: So no, I don't believe him. All he talks about is dividing America even further.

INSKEEP: Marty Surella, you were saying something a little bit earlier, before we were on the air, about what was significant to you about this group of people sitting together here this morning - people who support Donald Trump, people who support Hillary Clinton. And you began by saying we all want the same thing. What do you mean?

MARTY SURELLA: I think we would like a safer America, a stronger America. I do agree with Trump that NAFTA's been a bad deal for America. I'm a blue-collar guy...

INSKEEP: A retired plumber, we should remind people.

SURELLA: Yes. I think that either of the candidates need a lot of healing power on both sides of the fence here - for ethnics, blacks, whites.

INSKEEP: Healing power?


INSKEEP: Meaning to bring people together.


INSKEEP: Has it been that difficult to sit around this table and share views this morning?

SURELLA: No, not at all.


SURELLA: It's been great.

INSKEEP: Well, guys thanks very much. I'm glad you could all join us. That's Marty Surella of the Cleveland area, Katie Rooney of the Columbus, Ohio, area and two people from Cincinnati, Ennis Tait and Linda Caudell. Thanks to all of you. I really appreciate you joining us this morning.

Now, let's do just a little bit more fact-checking on this debate. Our colleague Scott Detrow is in Washington, D.C., and he was listening to the debate last night and checking up on some of the facts. Here's something that Hillary Clinton said last night, Scott. She said the United States for the first time is energy independent. True?

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: It's not true. The U.S. still does import more than 9 million barrels of oil a day. But one thing has changed in recent years, and that's for several years now the U.S. has been the world's top oil-and-natural-gas-producing country. And that's mostly because of this big energy boom that's powered by hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

INSKEEP: So we're independent-ish? What would you call that exactly?

DETROW: We're producing more oil. We're producing more natural gas than any other country. But the oil market is still a global market, and oil's coming in from other countries. Our top importing country is actually Canada. We get more oil from Canada than any other country right now.

INSKEEP: OK, I want to ask about one other thing, Scott Detrow. Donald Trump, during the course of last night's debate, complained repeatedly about the moderators. He said at one point it was one against three. He said the moderators had cut him off and were giving her, meaning Hillary Clinton, more time. But this is something that we can actually check. Who got more time from the moderators, Martha Raddatz and Anderson Cooper last night?

DETROW: So Donald Trump actually did get more time to speak. And what's remarkable is that it was nearly identically even. Both of them got about 40 minutes of speaking time, according to CNN, which ran a stopwatch. Donald Trump got just about a minute more time to speak than Hillary Clinton.

INSKEEP: OK. Well, we certainly got a chance to hear a lot from both of them last night. And, Scott, I'm glad we got a chance to hear from you checking the facts this morning. Thank you very much.

DETROW: Thank you.

INSKEEP: That's NPR's Scott Detrow in Washington. We've also been hearing from voters here in Cincinnati, Ohio, one of the divided states of America. We're doing this debate by debate. We'll do it for the fourth contest as well. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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