Obama’s debate performance surprises, disappoints local supporters

GETTY IMAGES President Obama speaks during the Presidential Debate at the University of Denver on Oct. 3, 2012 in Denver. … Continued


President Obama speaks during the Presidential Debate at the University of Denver on Oct. 3, 2012 in Denver.

Even though the First Baptist Church of Georgetown was having a revival meeting a visiting pastor abbreviated his message so that people attending the service could get home to watch the debate.

But when Carol Butler returned home and started watching the event the 50-year-old trade association executive was shocked to see Republican challenger Mitt Romney hold his own against President Obama.

“I am disappointed that Romney did so well,” said Butler, whose comments mirror other supporters who watched the contest. “I didn’t expect him to come across so compassionate. It was obvious that he was well prepared and that he had being studying Obama.”

The Rev. Nathaniel Thomas, pastor of Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church, still is supporting the president, but he said it wasn’t a good night. “It was quite obvious that Obama lost the debate but I am looking for him to do better the next debate. He was too passive.”

From the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies to the Ward 5 Democrats, groups across greater Washington, D.C. area had debate parties because it was the political equivalent to the Super Bowl and in a town that has a professional baseball and football team fighting hard to win many say the president needs to amp it up.

“President Obama seemed a little tired. Mitt Romney was more emotional, but Obama has been there and done that,” said Alison Sistrunk, a counselor for a local school system.  “I think that debate was friendly.”

But Rory Anderson, an executive for an international nonprofit group, thought the president did just fine. “The president was able to define Romney as someone who lacked details. He put Romney on the defensive.”

Anderson, who watched the event at her home in Gaithersburg, said even though Romney came across as nice, the problem is that he is leading a party whose rhetoric doesn’t match. “Face it! Romney is really a centrist, but his problem is that he can’t say no.”

But David Wingate, 44, an elementary school teacher and high school football coach, said he wasn’t fooled by Romney’s nice guy image. “It is very easy to say something with a smile but he still was the one who said 47 percent of the president supporters don’t pay taxes. He also said only poor kids get IEP’s and that is not true. That was a thorn in my side.”

Even though Romney had a good night Wingate said people can’t forget that he is not the president. “It is very easy to get up there and say something, but once you get in that job and the fire comes, it is a different story.”

While many people have already picked who they plan to support the debate offered rare frank momentum during an election season where so much is scripted and people of faith across the area were surprised.

Mike Anglin, a retired minister and elder at the Silver Spring Church of Christ, didn’t express who he supports, but Anglin, who caught the debate after midweek service, “I think that both men were knowledgeable about the economy. I was a little surprised that Governor Romney did as well as he did with the facts.”

View Photo Gallery: Domestic policy was the focus of the debate in Denver.

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