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Locally, both sides claim win
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
By BULLETIN STAFF REPORTS -
Two local political activists agreed that President Barack Obama did better in Tuesday’s debate than he did in his first meeting with Gov. Mitt Romney.
But that’s where the agreement ends.
Martinsville Henry County Democratic Committee Chairman Jeff Adkins called Tuesday’s debate “a turning point in the election.”
The debate was “entirely different than the last one. You saw the real president. You saw the real governor. The American people saw the president stand up and fight for middle class values,” Adkins said.
“Overall, I think anyone would be hard-pressed to think Romney won tonight,” Adkins said. “I was on the record saying Romney won the last one (debate). I’m on the record saying Obama won this one. I’m fair.”
Jeff Williams, chairman of the Martinsville Republican Committee, said Obama made up some of the ground he lost in the first debate by being more prepared.
But unlike Adkins, Williams believed Romney “edged out” Obama on Tuesday, partially due to his demeanor in the midst of Obama’s claims.
“I think Romney was calm, collected and consistent. To me, that very definitive of being presidential,” he said. “You may not like everything the man has done in the past, but his résumé speaks for itself. He has experience being an executive both in the private sector and the public sector. He has the ability to do that at the national level.”
Adkins said the town hall format of Tuesday’s debate brought out common-sense questions that people talk about around their kitchen tables.
“Families want to know” the answers to those questions, he said, adding that the format helped viewers get to know the candidates well.
“The format really helped the president. He likes meeting people. ... It was harder for Romney. ... He likes the board room,” Adkins said.
The format also raised diverse questions, something Adkins said he felt was lacking in the first debate. It also showed the president’s extensive knowledge of many areas, Adkins added.
Williams said he felt Obama took the debate seriously, something he did not do in their first encounter Oct. 3.
“I think it was more spirited because for the first time President Obama started taking it seriously. I think he blew off the first debate, which is disappointing since he’s not done enough the past four years to blow off a debate,” Williams said.
He pointed to the enthusiasm Obama showed Tuesday, which many analysts said the president lacked in the first debate.
“I can appreciate the passion he showed tonight as opposed to what he showed in the last debate, but at the end of the day, the debt is higher, unemployment is higher,” he said. “I don’t think his philosophy is going to work for this country.”
In terms of relating to the coveted middle class vote, Williams said he isn’t convinced either candidate can completely connect.
“I think the polls show no one really knows who is more sympathetic to the middle class. I think the reason for that is, obviously, neither of these gentlemen is a member of the middle class. If you simply look at their records, they’ve both have a pretty privileged upbringing,” Williams added.
Adkins said he expects the polls to remain tight, and he thinks at this point there are few undecided voters left to be persuaded. The key to the election now, he said, will be turnout.
“That’s up to the campaign and the party,” he said.
Locally Democrats have been knocking on doors, working to register voters and reminding people to vote. Also, they are reminding people that they do not need a special identification card to vote; other forms of identification will be accepted.
“If everyone were to vote, the Democrats would do much better,” he said.
The next debate, to be held Monday in Boca Raton, Fla., will focus on foreign policy.