Who won Wednesday night's debate pitting President Barack Obama against Gov. Mitt Romney?
Mitt all the way, according to Patch users who attended the Orange County debate viewing party at Oggi's Pizza in Mission Viejo.
"This was Obama's to lose, and he clearly lost," said Rebecca Goddard, who announced her support for Romney on a recent blog post. "[Obama] is a very good public speaker, but he's not a good off-the-cuff guy."
Others agreed. Paul Eskildsen said the president's problems boiled down to three main issues:
- He has to explain his own political record
- The format of the debate didn't suit him ("He tends to ramble")
- "His policies are weak and suspect, and Romney's are real and believable. He's done them."
Most of the crowd planned to vote for Romney before the debate began. But Margot Ferron, an independent voter, said the debate may have swayed her into the Romney camp.
"Right now, it's not looking like Obama," she said. "I just expected more from Obama. He's not staying on topic."
Romney's supporters criticized him as well. Goddard said he needed to show the government's responsibility for the housing crisis more clearly. Eskildsen wanted Romney to lay out his economic plan more clearly than he had earlier in his campaign.
But it was clear that in Mission Viejo—where Republicans outnumber Democrats 2-to-1—Romney was the favorite.
Even Democrat Kim Thornton of Lake Forest agreed the debate went well for Romney.
"They both held their own, which pretty much means that Romney won," she said. "He looked good up there. He didn't make any major mistakes that I could tell."
Still, she said, whoever wins might be irrelevant if the future president can't unite a divided U.S. Congress.
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