Some of the families profiled in the NewsWorks series The Stakes followed up with WHYY after watching the presidential debate on Tuesday night. Their reactions of the campaigns follow.
What is your impression of the campaigns so close to the election?
Michael Kubacki watched “no more than 10 minutes” of the Oct. 16 presidential debate.
He believes that contemporary debates have devolved into uninteresting fluff.
“I would like to see a debate without a moderator,” he said. “Two guys on the stage, no agenda, and they each have a microphone.”Michael, who is planning to vote for Mitt Romney, also found it annoying that undecided voters got all the attention during Tuesday’s debate.
“These are the really important people?” he asked. “I would assume they’re just living on their couch, watching Honey Boo-Boo all the time.”
Last week, Michael’s son, Tex, was undecided.
When a reporter pointed this out, Michael said, “My son says many things. I think my son is probably going to vote for Gary Johnson.”
When reached over the phone in Utah, Tex said he has made up his mind. Just as his dad predicted, he’s planning to vote for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian presidential candidate.
“The Republican party had a chance to include people like me in the whole discussion of what’s going to happen to the Republican party in the next few years,” said Tex. “They didn’t.”
“I thought President Obama did a great job of hammering ‘Romney will help the wealthy.’ [He was] willing to let GM go belly up, will put tax cuts in for them. [He] said over and over it was reverting to what got us into this mess. Why was gas so cheap? The policy gutted our economy. He’d put them back. Tax cuts took us from surplus to deficits… he’d put us back in that position.
“He talked about his lack of advocacy for women’s issues. The assault weapons ban … before he was against it, he was for it. He pointed out his flip-flops on several issues. And he nailed him in the end on the 47 percent issue and the rose garden terrorist statement.
“So I thought President Obama wiped the floor with him!”
John: “We were able to catch some of the debate last night (although it appeared as if Hope was falling asleep on the couch). Nice to see the president received his wake-up call. Tough to keep a scorecard on debates, but he seemed to at least hold his own if not come out on top.”
Hope: “Admittedly I got comfortable and fell asleep at some point. I did catch their exchanges on taxes, gas prices, fuel independence, the environment and fair pay for women. I thought the president ran away with it! He reminded me why I am a Democrat and why I’ll vote for him.”
Matt: “I do not believe that any candidate ‘wins’ or ‘loses’ a debate. I believe that debates leave impressions. The goal for any presidential candidate should be to give a great impression to the American people. Though President Obama did a good job articulating his plan and world philosophy, I think he fumbled in regards to emotion. The American people want security; not a good talk.
“Governor Romney did a great job expressing his concerns on the economy, soaring gas prices and Libya. I think Governor Romney’s debate performance boils down to one word last night: compassion. He’s a leader that has tremendous compassion for Americans and they felt that last night.”
Courtney: “President Obama is lacking the leadership that it takes to get America moving again.”She said wants this election to be over, Romney to win and America to start growing again.
“Obama gave an overall stellar performance, though he was more aggressive this time around. I still thought he was able to answer the town hall questions with dignity and respect. Though most people don’t share my opinion that Obama did well in the first debate, I think last night Obama gave those people what they wanted: entertainment and a more aggressive approach.
“As for Romney, my feelings are the same. I believe that he maintained his rude and boisterous performance from the last debate. Cutting the moderator off and not answering questions from the undecided voters. This has to reflect what his approach will be if he takes office. Not a good look.
“I am looking for a president that will listen to real American concerns and is honest to us about his plan to fix them.”
“Susan was out last evening and came home in time to watch the second half of the [second Presidential] debate. I watched it from beginning to end.
“We were both much happier with the way Obama was forceful and assertive in catching Romney at his distortions and misrepresentations of Obama’s record. I thought Obama was correct in calling Romney’s use of the tragedy in Libya to score political points offensive.
“I think it’s about time Romney was called on the fallacies of the Romney/Ryan tax plan. Obama: “He doesn’t have a five-point plan. He has a one-point plan.”
“Everything we’ve read said the Romney/Ryan tax plan doesn’t add up, and the net result will be to take away middle-class tax credits.
“We both noticed how Obama and Michelle went over to talk to audience members immediately after the debate while Romney stood surrounded by his family.
“Bottom line: I doubt Obama will get much of a bounce on this, but I think it will help to fire up his base.”