There was laughter, clapping, cheering and even some groaning, as a capacity crowd gathered at Patch’s Presidential Debate viewing party Wednesday night to witness the first debate between Pres. Barack Obama and Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney.
About 60 to 70 people from around the county attended the party at Britannia Arms in Capitola to watch the debate at Magness Arena at the University of Denver moderated by Jim Lehrer of the “PBS NewsHour.”
As the debate began, Amy Smith, 36, of Santa Cruz, who works in patient services at Dominican Hospital, said Obama has her vote no matter what.
“It seems like they are both trying to do the best they can,” Smith said of the beginning of the debate. “But I’m all for Obama, especially with all the medical support he gives.”
Edward Walker, 51, of Santa Cruz, said that though Romney seemed more energetic, Obama did a great job.
“I think [Obama’s] message is clear and concise. Romney seems like he is groping for answers,” Walker said. “In terms of demeanor, Obama is having to deal with the horrors of the world. Romney hasn’t had to yet. He’s relaxing, he has had nothing else to do but prepare for this debate.”
Obama supporter Jana Meares, 52, of Watsonville, said Obama was “his usual wonderful self.”
“I think Romney has been hired as a very bad actor,” Meares said. “It seems like he’s playing a very hammy part. I think Obama is being chill.”
Though the majority of support was for Obama, Tristan College, 26, of Morgan Hill said that he would be voting for Romney.
“I don’t think Obama has made any good points. Being the incumbent I did think he would be stronger. The strongest point Romney made is that unemployment is still going up even though Obama said we are in a recovery,” said College, who was laid off last week from his job as an EMT.
As the debate came to an end, most of the crowd said they felt that Obama took the debate.
“The president won. He presented his ideas clearly and articulately and he used real data,” said Jim Gingerich, 68, of Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Romney lied about so many things, including how much he would cut from Medicare.”
Joanne Hale of Soquel said Obama spoke from the heart.
“He is very convincing. I see a man who really cares,” Hale said. “He’s not smirking. He’s smiling.”
Did you watch the debate? What were your thoughts? Do you think Obama or Romney won? Tell us in the comments.