PORTLAND – Among the viewers at a popular bar in the Old Port, Monday Night Football easily beat out the third and final presidential debate between Mitt Romney and President Obama.

The NFL game between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears was shown on all of the widescreen televisions at Old Port Tavern Billiards – except the set behind the bar. That screen was reserved for the debate.

Tending bar was Molly DeLallo, a student at Southern Maine Community College who has worked on the Obama re-election campaign.

“I will be rooting for Barack Obama tonight,” DeLallo said. “It’s going to be an incredible moment to watch.”

But like others in the bar, Nicholas LaFlamme and his wife, Kimberly, showed little interest in the debate.

He said it was painful to watch the second debate between Romney and Obama last week. The rhetoric, the finger-pointing and the facial expressions were too much to endure, he said.

“The whole time, I wanted Obama to slug Romney,” he said. “I was disappointed that he didn’t.”

“I’m a diehard football fan,” Kimberly LaFlamme said. “I like to see physical contact, and there is no contact in a presidential debate.”

Other patrons, including Kyle Friday of Portland, came to Old Port Tavern Billiards to play a little pool.

When asked if he had any interest in the prime-time television choices, Friday said, “If I were forced to watch one, then I’m sure the most interesting game would be the debate.”

Matt Bonazzoli of Westbrook, helping his friend Matt Anderson celebrate his 21st birthday, said he had no interest in watching the debate.

“There is so much going on in the world right now, and a lot of it is negative,” Bonazzoli said. “I try to keep myself out of it. I choose to stay positive.”

Anderson ordered a beer and glanced at the television behind the bar with a tired expression.

“If I vote this year, I am going to vote for Obama,” he said, but he has pretty much lost interest in the election.

That also was the viewpoint of Gary Yu of Biddeford, who said both candidates leave him feeling empty. At this point, he’s not sure which candidate would get his vote.

“Neither one is a good candidate,” Yu said. “If I do vote, it’s going with someone who’s bad or someone who is even worse.”

The debate did get better ratings at Old Port Tavern Billiards than one other prime-time TV event.

No one in the place wanted to watch the seventh game of the National League Championship Series between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals.

For Nicholas LaFlamme, with the Boston Red Sox long out of contention, baseball was even less interesting than presidential politics.


Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]