Judging by the cheers and rounds of applause, the crowd of Republicans watching at Peterlin's Restaurant & Bar in Farmington gave former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romeny the win over President Barack Obama in Wednesday's presidential debate.
State House District 37 Republican candidate Bruce Lilley said he organized the event to energize people around the Nov. 6 election. Guests enjoyed the buffet and conversation that occasionally competed with the sound coming from the bar's big screens.
Romney's assertion that Obama misrepresented his tax plan drew the evening's first big cheer. The audience also responded to Obama, jeering as he started his response to a question about the deficit with, "When I walked into the Oval Office, I had more than a trillion-dollar deficit greeting me." One person in the audience shouted, "That's it, same old thing".
Karen Paterson of Farmington said she felt Romney did a good job of clearing up the misconceptions reported by the media about what he wants to do, especially with Medicare.
"He tried to be really clear on that," she said. "He tried to dispel the rumors."
Paterson said she would have liked to hear more about what's going on in the Middle East and hopes that will be a topic in future debates. "I feel like it's not being covered enough," she said.
"I heard the truth, I heard energy, I heard confidence and commitment," Lilley said. "It was truly inspiring."
Brighton resident Chuck Totton, Lilley's brother-in-law, said he thought good points were made on both sides, but he didn't hear anything he hasn't heard over the previous months of the campaign.
"I'd like to see things change, but it has to start in Congress," he said, adding that lawmakers aren't working together now. "The President doesn't control that."
Obama supporters talk more about Romney
Approximately 50 people watched the first presidential debate at the Obama for America-Royal Oak Grassroots Headquarters.
Throughout the evening, there was a mixture of reactions—and applause, especially when the president gave a shout out to Detroit autoworkers in his closing remarks. Obama's statement that Romney "has not been willing to say no to members of his own party" drew a round of applause, and his question about Romney keeping elements of his tax plan secret elicited laughter.
In general, as one would expect, Obama supporters said they thought he did a good job, but they had more to say about Romney.
“Romney did what Romney does. He tells the Medicare lies. He has no plans. He says he's just going to leave everything up to the states,” said Phyllis Salter, of Royal Oak. “He’s so unrealistic. The states have no money. It will lead to the states being unequal in services.”
Reina Patel, of Royal Oak, was also concerned that Romney did not offer specific plans.
“He’s full of hot air,” Patel said. “I felt Obama had a clear plan that he could explain and Romney was just doing a lot of twisting and denying a lot of facts and issues."