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Mississippians React To The First Presidential Debate

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 04 Oct 2012 10:55am | comments
Romney supporter Dorothy Wood nervously checks her phone before the debate.
For 90 minutes President Barack Obama and his challenger, former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney sparred over a number of issues during their first presidential debate last night. MPB News has reaction from Democrats and Republicans, starting with MPB's Daniel Cherry.  
At the Reunion Hall in West Jackson, dozens of Obama supporters watched intently as the President took on Governor Romney in their first debate. Jacquline Amos-Norris, Chair of the Hinds County Democratic Executive Committee liked what she was hearing from Obama, but wasn't as impressed with Mr. Romney.
"President Obama has not deviated from his plan. He hasn't deviated as Mitt Romney. All of a sudden Romney is a middle class man. He's going to strengthen the middle class, but for the past 18 months we were not on his radar."
When watching the candidates spar, a common theme among Obama supporters was Mr. Romney is unrelatable. Here's Vernon Hartley of Jackson.
"Mr. Romney may be a businessperson and maybe understands it from a business perspective, but there's a human element that you have to take into concern. I think he's out of his league. I just think generally, he's too far removed from the average person."
Meanwhile, across town at another location, more than 100 Obama supporters crowded into a bar in downtown Jackson. Among those was Rose DeVries, a senior at Millsaps College. She was glad to see both candidates addressing the future of healthcare...the issue she's most interested in hearing about.
"I think that's something that we've actually seen real change on, and it's something that's affected me. And so it's been good to hear them talk about that as opposed to these huge abstractions and saying, 'Well I'm going to lower the deficit. I'm going to cut spending. I'm going to do all of this, and somehow we're going to end up with more money, and I don't really see how that's possible.'"
While Mr. Romney went on the attack during the debate, Obama supporters say they were content with the President's performance during last-night's contest.

And I'm Jeffrey Hess covering a Romney debate watch party in Ridgeland, just north of Jackson.

At times cheering for the GOP candidate former Governor Mitt Romney.

And jeering the Democratic President Barack Obama.

A crowd of more than 100 excited Mississippi Republicans crowded into a restaurant to cheer on their candidate in the first presidential debate.

Many in the crowd, like Dorothy Wood, applauded what they considered a more aggressive approach from the former Massachusetts governor.

"We haven't seen the true brilliance of the man yet. We are beginning to see it now. Mitt Romney unleashed. Gloves off," said Wood.

Romney Supporter Janet Thomas was energized by Romney's debate performance saying this is the approach that can help propel him to the white house.

"Because he has to speak the truth and get the truth out to the people. So the people can finally get their eyes open and their ears unplugged to the people that have not been listening or seeing the truth," Thomas said.

Cory Wilson with the Republican Party says Romney needs to do more than attack the president.

"He has got to offer a vision for this county. And the conservative vision , as you can see tonight from this crowd, is huge. And it resonates with people.  Because people know, I think, that big government, unlimited spending, deficits and debt don't work. governor Romney's vision can, but he has got to talk about it," Wilson said.

Amidst the sea of red shirts and Romney-Ryan buttons sits Jamie Dickson, an undecided voter who says he is trying to determine which candidate will be able to handle the variety of issues a president must face.

"Because at any one moment you can be in a discussion about domestic issues and a global issue occurs. And you have got to be able to switch quickly and make wise decision in a short period of time," Dickson said.

The two candidates will debate two more times before the general election in November.





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