The view from Bear, Del.: Mom and daughter relish the history, fret the economy [UPDATE]

    [UPDATE] In Bear, Del., Obama supporter Crystal Portlock was happy once Romney and Obama left the stage following the final presidential debate. Her daughter Alisha Jones didn’t expect too much since the match-up focused on foreign-policy.

    Here’s the latest comment on the election by Alisha Jones and Crystal Portlock from Bear, Del. For the original story, see below.

    Tuesday, Oct. 23

    Last night’s final debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney was not as combative as the second. We checked in with families from our series “The Stakes: Local Families View the Election” to find out how the debate played in their living rooms.

    In Bear, Del., Obama supporter Crystal Portlock was happy once Romney and Obama left the stage.

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    “I felt that Obama stayed more focused on the issues as they relate to foreign policy, and maybe because he’s been president, he’s more abreast,” she said. “Romney diverted quite often, and he was more comfortable coming back to the other issues here in America, so he really didn’t answer any of the questions.”

    Her daughter Alisha Jones didn’t expect too much since the match-up focused on foreign-policy.

    “I thought this debate was definitely a more subdued debate,” she said. “I think it was about getting familiar with foreign policy. It’s always a difficult thing to talk about, and they do share a lot of similar views with foreign policy, but it was definitely a really slow debate this time around.”

    Wednesday, Oct. 17

    Jones: “Obama gave an overall stellar performance, though he was more aggressive this time around. I still thought he was able to answer the town hall questions with dignity and respect. Though most people don’t share my opinion that Obama did well in the first debate, I think last night Obama gave those people what they wanted: entertainment and a more aggressive approach.

    “As for Romney, my feelings are the same. I believe that he maintained his rude and boisterous performance from the last debate. Cutting the moderator off and not answering questions from the undecided voters. This has to reflect what his approach will be if he takes office. Not a good look.

    “I am looking for a president that will listen to real American concerns and is honest to us about his plan to fix them.”



    The 2008 presidential election made history, when the nation elected its first black president. This year’s campaign focuses on the weak economy and the stresses it puts on families.


    That all hits close to home for 29-year-old Alisha Jones, who still lives with her mom in Bear, Del., because she can’t afford a place of her own.  

    For her mother, Crystal Portlock, it’s the history that happened last time that leads her to pay close attention to this election.  

    The other day, Alisha sat in the living room of their neat townhouse, amid the chirping of three pet birds, and talked about what it’s like to be the oldest of three children, and still living with her mom.  

    “So four years ago I was just out of college” she said, “and I moved back home from college. I was little bit more…. you know….it was hard.”

    Alisha is trying to build her own graphic design business, but for now the college graduate continues to struggle working for a graphic design firm where her hours have been cut.

    “I found the job but there was just not enough movement within the company and they were having a hard time,” Alisha said.

    Sitting next to her daughter on the sofa, Crystal Portlock, who was recently divorced, sid she likes having her daughter home. Especially since they find themselves talking a lot about this election.

    “Every day. As of now, every day,” the two said in unison, then laughed.

    A book newly opened

    For Crystal, 49, having an African-American president truly makes a big difference.

    “Yes, it piqued my interest but also [Obama] made it something we could understand a little bit better,” she said. “I think for me it has been more recent that I’ve been more involved. It seemed like an intangible thing, it wasn’t such an open book to us before the Obama period.”

     Alisha says she’s always been interested in politics.

    “Exercising your right to vote has been something important in my culture as well as an individual, and as an American,” said Alisha, who has never missed an opportunity to vote for a president.

    On Nov. 6, she plans to exercise her right to vote yet again for President Obama.

    “With the economy being the way it is right now, I rather stay with someone that’s already in process and has a solid plan, to make the country the better,” she said.

    Alisha said she took a long look at Obama’s economic plan on his campaign Web site after hearing him mention it during the first debate with Mitt Romeny.

    “If you go online, you can see Obama’s plan, whereas Romney from the debate, you can’t see his plan…. It’s more just. ‘This is what I promise to do,'” Alisha said.

    For Crystal, more than her daughter, Obama’s policies seem to have made a difference in her job prospects; she’s a nurse at a mental health facility.

    “Opportunity for me got better in the field that I work in. Opportunity got better,” Crystal said.

    Hints of a rebound

    Alisha does see some hope that things can come together for her:

    “Four years later, things are a little bit better. I would want to see more happening to work with the middle class. Mom is a middle class person, so I would like to see that. I don’t even know what class I’m in yet, because I want to be able to live on my own”

    Alisha says she’s noticed things are looking up for some of her friends:

    “I feel as though there is more growth. People are starting to rebuild. There is still a lot job loss around but i see those people who were laid off and didn’t have work are actually starting to get work.”

    As the campaign races to its end, mother and daughter look to continue their talks about politics. Not that the two always agree, Alisha says.

    “There are some things that when you get into the nitty gritty, there are differences, but we respect each other”

    Alisha and Crystal are determined to vote. Alisha hopes every registered voters feels the same way:

    “Pick who you think is best for you but go out and vote.”

    Check back here to see updates as NewsWorks follows the experiences and thoughts of this mother and daughter from Bear, Del., during this election season.

    Other family profiles in the series:

    Wednesday, Oct. 10

    The Kubackis of East Falls, Philadephia (on WHYY-FM and NewsWorks)

    Thursday, Oct. 11• The Kilgannons of Collingswood, N.J. (on WHYY-FM and NewsWorks)• The Simons of Roxborough, Philadelphia (NewsWorks only)

    Friday, Oct. 12

    • Alisha Jones and Cynthia Portlock of Bear, Del. (on WHYY-FM and NewsWorks)• Janet Gilease and Jonna Naylor of West Mount Airy, Philadelphia (NewsWorks only)

    Monday, Oct. 15The Zauns of Downingtown, Chester County (on WHYY-FM and NewsWorks)

    Tuesday, Oct. 16Boris Kheyfets and Yana Chernov of West Philadelphia (on WHYY-FM and Newsworks)


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