Heard on the Hill

Capitol Hill Watch Parties Decisively for Clinton

More cheers for the Democrat during contentious debate on Wednesday

Scott Preston, left, and other guests react during watch party for the last presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at the Capitol Lounge on Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast on Wednesday night. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

On Capitol Hill, there were a lot of cheers for Hillary Clinton and a lot of mocking of Donald Trump during the final presidential debate Wednesday night.

A half hour before the start, Capitol Lounge — a hot spot for House staffers — was already packed without an empty seat in the house. Trump and Clinton impersonators greeted the mainly 20- and 30-something patrons at the door.

With the exception of brief reactions, no one said a word during the debate and bartenders whispered to get drink orders.

When the debate started and the camera showed Clinton walking onstage, a male voice was heard booing, before letting out a “Yay” when Trump was shown. That initial reaction was one of the few audible cheers for Trump at this location.

The first mocking laughter against Trump came when he said, “The Supreme Court, it’s what it’s all about.” And when he said that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was “forced to apologize” for her negative comments toward him, someone was heard asking, “Forced?”

[Word on the Hill: Where to Watch Tonight’s Debate]

Clinton was praised throughout the bar with claps and cheers during the segment on abortion when she talked about being the “most intimate” decision.

And, when Trump said, “We have some bad hombres here,” gasps from the crowd were soon followed by a loud laugh.

Bar Hopping on Debate Night

The Republican presidential candidate used the term “big league” twice within a few lines, which again drew more laughs from the crowd.

For the most part, everyone was silent when Clinton spoke and attentively watched the many televisions in the bar.

On the Senate side, things were a little different.

By the second half of the debate, the crowd in the 201 Bar — a go-to place for Senate staffers — had largely checked out from watching the debate.

Also full of people in their 20s and 30s, the group seemed to stop paying attention to televisions and instead were chatting, drinking and eating. While the seats were full, the quietness from the House-side bar did not transfer across the Capitol grounds.

The crowd was attentive when Clinton talked about Trump’s claims that the election was rigged. At most things she said, they laughed and cheered.

Next door at Union Pub, the patio had a giant projector hanging outside broadcasting the debate. The tables were also full and by the last 10 minutes, everyone on the patio had stopped paying attention.

Back at the 201 Bar, when Clinton gave her closing statement and said “I hope you vote for me,” cheers ended the night.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.