Voter Reaction to Debate Varied

Ad Feedback  - Voter reaction across the country to the second presidential debate between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain Tuesday night was as varied as the fundamental differences that divide the two candidates.

Americans watched the town hall style debate broadcast live from Nashville's Belmont University on television networks and streamed on the Internet.

Billed by some pundits as round two in the fight for the presidency, the 90-minute debate focused on the economy, foreign policy and energy independence.

Some had hoped the town hall forum would generate more questions from mainstream America. Even the president of the college hosting the debate said he wasn't impressed with the number of questions.

"I wish we could have heard a few more questions from the floor," said Belmont's Dr. Robert Fisher. "That's not many in 90 minutes."

Reaction in The Big Apple

The debate left some in a group of undecided voters in New York City still undecided.

Nina Erler of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey says she may lean toward voting for Obama.

"I was a little disappointed in Obama," she said. "I thought he did a good job, but for some reason, I expected more detail in some of his policies."

Julian Ramos works as a human resources consultant in the Bronx. He says in the Democratic Primary he voted for Hillary Clinton. Now after watching the second debate, Ramos says he might not vote at all.

"That's the biggest irritation of all the debates I watch," Ramos said. "They build in their answers with vocabulary, verbage, jargon, and zero answer."

One viewer in New York named Donna e-mailed her reaction to the debate.

"How can Barack Obama change his mind so quickly on serious issues?" she wrote. "This strategy seems to add up to winning at all costs, instead of thinking through the issues."

Clifton, N.Y., resident Beth Johansson says the debate left her undecided and still frustrated.

"It's politics and its frustrating, because you want straight answers," Johansson explained. "For me I want facts. I am so tired of getting snippets of facts. Show me the facts."

Reaction in The Windy City

In Illinois, there was still great interest in the debate even though political insiders believe Obama will carry the state on election day.

In suburban Northbrook, Democratic volunteers gathered to watch the broadcast. They believe their candidate did very well, especially on the subject of the economy.

"I'm getting more comfortable with how Obama would handle it," undecided voter Jack Strom told a reporter at the event. "McCain certainly understands the Senate and he understands the Congress. But I'm just concerned that he's been part of the deciders who've brought us to where we are right now."

Carmen Corbett says she is now leaning towards Obama, because of the economy.

"And he will get the right people in place to work with him to solve this problem," she said "It's not going to be overnight and we all have to appreciate it's not going to be overnight. But I believe that he will be the one and that unfortunately I just honestly don't believe that John McCain, first of all, gets it."

Click the player to get reactions from voters attending debate watch parties in Chicago.

Meanwhile in Chicago, Republicans met to listen and cheer on McCain. They feel his performance will help Republican candidates in the upcoming election. They are not giving up on anything.

"John McCain and Sarah Palin are helping some of our state reps and state senators, who two months ago were probably going to be run over by the Obama tsunami," said Illinois Republican Party's Jim Durkin. "And that's not going to happen right now."

"I appreciate tonight how it's not being personal in the sense other than the records," said Corine Williams. "I think it's very important to discuss the records because I know Mr. Obama, in particular, he's my senator. But I really feel like he hasn't actually represented us very well."

Back in Nashville, officials in both political parties continued to express their enthusiasm for their candidates.

"I was surprised that Sen. McCain disagreed on the approach to Pakistan," said Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean. "I think most Americans believe that Barack Obama is right and that if we have the opportunity to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden we should take it, no matter where Bin Laden happens to be."

When asked about John McCain's performance, former Republican Tennessee senator Fred Thompson said he couldn't have been more proud of McCain.

"Just when things are turning against him, he buckles down even harder," Thompson said. "He ratchets up another notch. He's tough. He's resilient, even when you counted him out, he comes back. We've seen that time and time again. He amazes me."

Sources: The Associated Press, ABC News

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CBN News
Steven L. Warren

Steven L. Warren

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