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By Nathan M. Walters and Jay Forte, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Whatever your thoughts on U.S. politics, tonight’s Debate Watching Party at the JW Marriott in Copacabana offers a friendly non-partisan environment to witness this historically significant event. The United States Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro, the American Society of Rio de Janeiro (AmSoc Rio), and the International Club of Rio will be co-hosting the get-together in Rio for the first debate on Wednesday, October 3rd.

The incumbent U.S. President Barrack Obama will debate Republican presidential candidate, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
The incumbent U.S. President Barrack Obama will debate Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, image recreation.

Two additional presidential debates, scheduled for October 16th and 22nd, will follow, as well as a Biden and Ryan vice presidential showdown is scheduled for next Thursday, October 11th.

The first event offers the expatriate community, and interested locals, a chance to witness the debate along with the tens of millions that will be watching in it live around the world.

The presidential debates, much like the Republican nominee debates earlier this year, are an entertaining and informative spectacle that provide voters more information on the stance of presidential hopefuls and offer up weeks worth of fodder for political commentary.

Tonight’s event will also provide U.S. expatriates a chance to register to vote (where still allowed), or the chance to drop off complete ballots.  In addition to the civic assistance, The party will be an opportunity to network with the community, to engage in lively debate, and, perhaps most importantly, enjoy some snacks and beverages with others interested in the election.

Michael Lindsay, president of AmSoc Rio, explained: “We are hopeful that the debate will bring the community together to have a relaxed and open environment to discuss our differences and embrace our similarities. We plan to host future debates as well and look forward to seeing the local and international community attend and for knowledgeable American voters to become better informed voters who vote while living abroad.”

“This debate watch event combines attention to a very defining, important clash of ideas which will impact both America and the world, and it gives Americans the chance to perform one of the most important of civic duties: the vote,” says Melissa Mello e Souza, Chair of Democrats Abroad Democrats Abroad Brazil.

Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard M. Nixon during the first televised U.S. presidential debate in 1960
Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard M. Nixon during the first televised U.S. presidential debate in 1960, photo by National Park Service/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

According to a recent Gallup poll, Obama leads former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney by five percent (49 percent to Romney’s 44 percent).  With only five weeks until the election, tonight’s debate may have a significant impact on the battle for the White House. Televised debates, which first started in 1960, are surrounded by interesting stories of the U.S. political past.

Nixon opposite the photogenic John F. Kennedy, the performance many argue cost him the 1960 election; Lloyd Bentsen’s “You’re no Jack Kennedy,” zinger directed and Dan Quayle in the 1988 vice-presidential debate; and, Ross Perot’s entertaining oratory style in the 1992 debate.

Attendees will gather together at the Marriott’s Mezzanine level space starting at 9PM tonight with the debate viewing taking place live between 10-11:30 PM.  The Marriott will be offering a twenty percent discount on a special buffet for the event for those who RSVP (events.amsoc@gmail.com) with the American Society of Rio.

Another option for watching the debates is the Gringo Cafe in Ipanema. American expatriate and owner Sam Flowers says: “The show starts at 10PM but join us anytime after 9PM. We’ll offer a selection of our great drinks and delicious desserts for 1/2 price from 9PM to closing! Also, play Debate Bingo for the chance to win fabulous prizes!!!”

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