Local voters weigh in on Obama and Romney's debate performances - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Local voters weigh in on Obama and Romney's debate performances

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

OAK PARK

Taxes, deficits and job creation took center stage at Wednesday night's presidential debate in Denver. But it was the candidates' unexpected performances that captured the attention.

It was the first presidential debate of this election season, and the first time both candidates went head to head on the same stage.

Undecided voters have one round of debating between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney in the books to help them make a decision.

Some voters in west suburban Oak Park made debate watching worth a night out, gathering at a local restaurant where they were invited to come and watch and have a conversation about the issues.

At the Marion Street Grille people came in for fancy food and political fodder. What the candidates had to say resonated with those we spoke to, even if it didn't change their minds.

"Most of these debates are so extensively rehearsed that I don't really have a lot of confidence that what I see on television is really what they believe," Dr. Matt Lambert said.

As Obama and Romney talked about perhaps the biggest issue of this campaign - the economy - people listened intently, even if they had perhaps made up their minds already about who they planned to vote for.

"The economy also is a big issue for me, and I don't where Mr. Romney's coming up with this money," Donna Lambert said. "I'm still very confused on his position on a number of things."

Several of those who watched in the restaurant were keenly interested in women's issues, and healthcare. But topics the candidates debated, such as social security and the deficit - along with the economy, may be key for those who haven't made up their minds.

When asked who he thought did a better job of winning independent voters' ballot marks, Terry Lemley said based on Wednesday night's performance, he would say Romney.

With more debates ahead, this one may not have been a game changer.

"Well I hope not, Mary Rose Lambke said. "I hope that people will want to learn more. You know, it's an on-going process."

NORTHWESTERN STUDENTS

A group of Northwestern University students, many preparing to vote for the first time, listened closely and even laughed at times during the debate.

FOX Chicago News spoke to a watch party's moderator about what could be expected out of this debate.

"Now both of these people are experienced debaters," Communications professor David Zarefsky said. "They've had lots of these, so I do not expect any real major, game changing moment out of the debate."

Both sides spoke of jobs, education and the budget deficit. Many students said they were listening intently to both candidates plans for education reform.

The primary topic was the economy. Students weighed in on how they felt the candidates fared.

"I would also like a little more explanation of Romney's tax plan because I don't quite understand how he can lower deductions and exemptions, where a lot of middle class families do indeed get tax breaks and say this will not raise taxes on middle class families," Tara McManes said. "Because to me, the math there really doesn't make sense."

They both have come out pretty strong, I think," Justin Hatfield said. "Also sort of aggressive, but I like that."

The students left curious to see what kind of lasting impact this first presidential debate will have come election time next month.

CHICAGO COMMUTERS

The debates definitely made an impression on some Chicago residents, not so much on others.

"I have to say that both candidates definitely did what they could," April, a Chicago commuter, said. "I was rooting for Obama, and the democratic team. Unfortunately I kind of felt as though they weren't as aggressive as they probably could have been. You know, at this point, I don't want to say who won and who didn't. I guess just a little [taken aback] by Obama's reaction. It wasn't as aggressive as I would have wanted."

Although April was disappointed, she said Mitt Romney didn't do well enough to gain her vote.

"I would say the only thing he did last night was he was aggressive. He definitely took no slack and he didn't allow even a reaction from the opposing candidate," April said. "At the end of the day, I don't want to say that he has my vote. But I will say that his aggression was there. His confidence was there. So kudos to him for last night, but I'm not going to say I would vote for him now."

TOWN HALL AND FOREIGN POLICY ON DECK

The first presidential debate focused entirely on domestic issues.

According to the pundits and the polling, one would have to give the nod to Mitt Romney. He had a very good night. Expectations were somewhat low for him going into the debate, and he seemed very prepared.

Some of the polling before the debate indicated people thought President Obama would win. After the debate's conclusion, polls showed just the opposite.

The next presidential debate will be a town hall format, on October 16 at Hoftra University in Hempstead, New York, which the candidates will begin preparing for soon.

Vice presidential candidates Joe Biden and Paul Ryan will debate next week.

Reports say Romney will deliver a major foreign policy speech next week, teeing up for the last debate that focuses on foreign affairs.

President Obama began making rounds once again of swing states Thursday to Wisconsin.

Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan will make an appearance for The Hannity Show on FOX News channel Thursday night after a stop in Virginia. 

Locals are sure to tune in and continue shaping their decisions for the ballot box, as they cast their votes November 6.

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