Voters in Northwest Indiana lean Democrat but a few observers of last night’s first presidential debate say Republican nominee Mitt Romney scored some points against Barack Obama.
“I definitely think that the Romney campaign was very serious when they said there were going to reset the campaign,” says attorney Renee Hatcher. “I think this was the first chance that we saw of that evidence that they had a complete reset.”
Hatcher watched Wednesday’s debate at Jelly’s Pancake House in Merrillville with about three dozen other viewers.
The debate party was put on by the non-partisan group, Emerging Leaders of Northwest Indiana.
Hatcher comes from a long line of Democrats.
Her father, Richard, served as mayor of Gary for two decades while older sister Ragen served on the Gary City Council.
But even with that, Renee Hatcher gives credit to Republican Mitt Romney in the first debate.
Hatcher says Romney’s positions on several issues seemed to have changed which played to his advantage.
“He’s been espousing certain view points and policy proposals for the last 18 months that are completely different than what he plans to do moving forward. I think that kind of tripped Obama up a little bit,” Hatcher said. “I think, all in all, it was a draw.”
Hatcher says Romney will need to provide more specifics on some of his proposals.
“The clear thing about this election that there’s a real choice for the first time in several election cycles,” she said.
Richard Leverett, a Gary native, says Romney brought more passion to the debate.
“Romney sounded convincing. He sounded passionate but there was nothing concrete there,” Leverett said. “Romney probably won on the passionate piece there and he seemed more steady. The President seemed like he was just chasing and trying to hit a moving target. The next time, the President is going to have to go on target on what he plans to do the next four years.”
Meanwhile, Robert Ordway of Valparaiso says the debate didn’t do much to help those still on the fence come off of it.
“I think very few votes were moved in either camp. I think people who are undecided are still in
that camp,” Ordway said.