Who Won The Debate? Local Political Influencers Weigh In

Patch surveyed 136 local political influencers immediately following the first presidential debate.

Tampa Bay area Republicans and Democrats weighed in on the most memorable and impactful moments of last night’s presidential debate.  

Patch surveyed 136 influential conservatives and liberals immediately following the debate and asked what they felt were the biggest moments of the night.

One Democratic respondent wrote, “The president played it safe and was not as aggressive as he should have been.”

One conservative who felt Romney won the debate by a wide margin said he thought the most memorable moment was “when Romney asked the president why he spent two years focused on passing Obamacare instead of trying to get people back to work.”

A Democrat who felt that Romney won the debate by a slim margin said, “the fact that the president didn't call out Romney more aggressively on numerous facts misrepresented or lied about” was the most memorable part of the debate.

Another “Blue Tampa Bay” respondent felt that the key moment was the “President's defense of Obamacare, financial reform and ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell.’”

When asked what swing voters in Florida would remember from the debate, one Democrat answered, “Romney can't articulate his plans for health-care reform or tax policy.”

A Republican respondent felt that swing voters would notice how Romney dominated debate moderator Jim Lehrer. And another conservitive noted that swing voters now know that “these two don’t like each other.”

Americans will get another chance to see the two presidential candidates debate on Oct. 16 at Hofstra University in New York. The next debate starts at 9 p.m.


The "Red Tampa Bay" and “Blue Tampa Bay” Survey

Our surveys are not a scientific random sample of any larger population but rather an effort to listen to a swath of influential local Republican activists, party leaders and elected officials in Tampa Bay. All of these individuals have agreed to participate in the surveys, although not all responded to this week's questions. Surveys were conducted Oct. 3 between 10:30 p.m. and 12 a.m. Oct. 4. Patch will be conducting Red Tampa Bay and Blue Tampa Bay surveys throughout 2012 in hopes of determining the true sentiment of conservatives and liberals on the ground in Tampa Bay. (If you are an activist, candidate, party leader or elected official and would like to take part in an occasional survey that lasts just a few minutes, please email Chris.Taylor@Patch.com.)

Red Tampa Bay Roster: Shirley Wood (Pinecrest912 Leader) Guyann Bracken-Fay (Liberty School) Chris Shalosky (Fishhawk Republican Club President) Kathy Brown (Fishhawk Republican Club Membership + 912 activist) Stacy Feiler (Liberty Tree Consulting) Deborah Cox-Roush (Hillsborough County Republican Party, former chairwoman; Committee on Arrangements at Republican National Convention) Clif Curry (Local attorney) Art Wood (Hillsborough County Republican Party, Chair) Betty Jo Tompkins (Candidate, House District 59) Mark Proctor (Member of the Hillsborough County Republican Party Executive Committee) Kristina Lade (Manatee County activist) William Lade (Manatee County activist) Clint Miller (East Republican Club, Republican Eexcutive Club) Vanessa Baugh (Republican Manatee County Commission candidate) Jenah Victor (Manatee County Republican Party activist) Toni Parsons (Manatee County Republican volunteer) Carol Whitmore (Manatee County Commissioner) Erwin Beck (President of Republican Club of On Top of The World) Nancy Riley (Pinellas Republican Executive Committee member) Norm Roche (Pinellas County Commissioner) Karen Seel (Pinellas County Commissioner) Joe Paige (Contractor, part of Patriots Inc.) Ginger Rockney-Johnson (Member of the North Tampa Chamber of Commerce ) Bob Silah (Founder Operation Helping Hand) Becky Burgue (Retired Gaither teacher and member of Working Women of Tampa Bay) Amber France (Member of the Carrollwood Area Business Association) Julie Higgins (Carrollwood area activist) Darrel Honick (Pinellas County activist) Allison Kuhlman (Pinellas County activist) William Steven (Pinellas County activist) Jacksons Marrero (Pinellas County activist) Jane Norrie (Pinellas County activist) Bob Newcomb (Gulfport Area Republican volunteer) Jeri Reed (Gulfport Area community activist) Andrew Reder (Gulfport Area student activist) David Hastings (Former Vice Mayor, Gulfport) Andrew Reder (Student president of Stetson Law College Republicans) Christine Brown (Gulfport Area activist ) Gina Burke (Gulfport Area campaign worker) Danie Bothem (Gulfport Area volunteer) Steve Simon (Former Pasco county commissioner) Walter Price (Candidate for property appraiser Pasco) Don Stephenson (Pasco school board candidate) Jack Mariano (Pasco commissioner) Sandy Graves (State committeewoman candidate) Mary Gray Black (Largo city commissioner) Casey Cox (President of Republican Club of Greater Largo) Tony DiMatteo (Pinellas Republican Executive Committee member) Pam Dubov (Pinellas County Property Appraiser) Barbara Stevens (President of Central Pinellas Republican Club) Mike Fasano (Florida State Senator) Bill Phillips (Pasco Republican Activist) Jeff Cannon (Historian and activist in Pasco County) Wil Nickerson (Pasco Republican Activist) Chris Sprowls (Assistant State Attorney) Gus Bilirakis (U.S. representative) Susan Latvala (Pinellas County Commission Chairwoman) Pam McAloon (President of North Pinellas Republican Club) Peter Nehr (State Representative) Bob Gualtieri (Chief Deputy, Pinellas County) Gene Webb (Republican Volunteer) David Jolly (Former aide to Congressman Bill Young, active in Pinellas County Republicans) Alan J. Suskey (Tampa Bay Young Republicans member) Asher King (Sarasota Republican Activist) Joe Gruters (Chair, Republican Party of Sarasota County) Dr. Rich Swier Sr. (Conservative talk show host) Carolyn Mason (Sarasota County Commissioner) Joe Affronti (Temple Terrace Mayor) Temple Drummond (Temple Terrace Community activist) Edward Vance (Temple Terrace City Council Candidate) David Pogorilich (Temple Terrace City Councilman) Frank Chillura (Temple Terrace Mayoral candidate) John Conneely (Delegate to the Presidency 5 Convention) Todd Marks (Lawyer who unsuccessfully ran for Florida House District 57) Greg Chesney (Westchase CDD member) Teresa Trubilla (President of Westchase Artists Society) Peter Condon (Westchase Area Business Association)

Blue Tampa Bay Roster: Martha Bingham (activist), Garry Miracle (activist), Gail Gottlieb (Candidate for State Rep.), Jeannette Figari (activist), Robert Price(president of the South Shore Democratic Club), Chris Mitchell(Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee, chair), Lisa Rodriguez(Community Advocate), Terry Flott(Seffner Community Alliance), Angie Angel(East Hillsborough County Democratic Club, president), Mark Nash(Candidate, Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, District 4), Myra Jones(volunteer), Elle Principe(Manatee County activist), Carol Graves(Manatee County activist), Sherry Emigh (Manatee County activist), Ken Kisida (Manatee County activist), Hayley Markman (Manatee Democratic Party Associate Executive Director),Adam Tebrugge(Democratic candidate for State House Dist. 71), ANN FRISBIE (President of the Northdale Civic Association), JAN FOWLER (CABA member), LISA DEMMI (CABA member), ADRIENNE FINN(volunteer), SALLY BALLAS(local business owner), Justin Dick (activist), Cristin Rosenmeyer (activist), Jennifer Agisotelis (activist), Jamie Dunnigan (activist), Teresa Householder (activist), Jan Lowe(activist), Denise Lowe (community activist), Linda Craig(community activist), Lynda Friedman (volunteer), Lynn Lindeman(Pasco County Democrats), Clay Colson(Activist: Board Director and Water Issues Chair, Citizens for Sanity.Com, Inc.), Jim Quinlan  (Pasco Democrats membership chair), Calvin Branche (Vice Chairperson  Pasco Democrats), Beverly Ledbetter (Secretary of Pasco Democratic Club), Rob Marlowe (New Port Richey Deputy Mayor), Bob Langford(City Councilman), Ginny Miller(Councilwoman), Lia Gallegos (Cultural Affairs Advisory), Jennifer Eichenberger(activist), Geff Strik(activist) Ken Welch(Pinellas County Commissioner), Cyndi Fernandez(local volunteer), Vito Sheeley(volunteer), Sharon Samek(New Tampa Democrats), Rodrick Colbert(USF Democrats), Matt Ortner (President of North Port Demoratic Club), Grace Carlson(political marketing), Rita Ferrandino, (Sarasota Democratic Party Chair), Adam Tebrugge (Democratic State Senate Candidate), Henry Bright(State committeeman for Sarasota Democratic Party), Tim Heberlein (president of the Temple Terrace Democratic Club), Grant Rimbey (City council candidate), Cheri Donohue(Mayoral candidate), Tim Lancaster (president of the Temple Terrace Preservation Society), Jamie Robe(community activist), David Long (business owner, former chamber president, community activist), Jeti Wilds (Former host of Citizens Report for WTMP), Venus Jones (Community Activist), Eric Holt(Westchase Dad’s Club), Anna Scott (Hillsborough County Democratic Women’s Club), Nate Bonilla-Warford(Westchase, Area Business Association Founder)


Melanie Bacca October 04, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Thank you to those of you who GOT this and didn't read anything into it. I refuse to engage in a political debate so I though a simple reminder of what this country was founded on would be more appropriate. Watch it again... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30OyU4O80i4
Michael D. October 04, 2012 at 08:17 PM
I'll vote for Max Brooks author and speaker on surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.
BOMX55 October 04, 2012 at 09:55 PM
I think we need to just go with building not tearing down and if we do that - well, Obama is OUT. I prefer and believe me - I am unemployment and medicare bound very soon - if anyone has the right to say it - WE NEED TO SUPPORT people that can give us jobs and get us out of welfare and unemployment! I don't want to hurt Seniors, but really we have to pay not take!! Sorry as it is; we are in a position now (put there by many more than Bush) to build not throw money we don't have - no more band-aids, we have to FIX the problem and it WILL HURT and HURT plenty before it gets better. It's called 'we got ourselves into a mess and we have to get ourselves out"! GROW UP!!
Lynda October 05, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Most of us who supported and voted for President Obama in 2008 didn't pick him for his ability to debate. We read his position papers,listened to his speeches, looked at expert evaluations of his proposals. We counted on him to be a center-right pragmatist who wouldn't let fear push him into hasty actions or irrational wars of choice. After President Bush II we longed for competence in governing. And this is what Pres. Obama gave us. Liberals knew Pres. Obama wouldn't support radical change: single payer health care or an expansion of Medicare to those 55 and over or massive restructuring to eliminate foreclosure debt for individuals. However, most of us are confident in his skills to govern, his core belief in equality of opportunity and his respect for people--all people. Sure, when Gov Romney bullied him, we would have loved for a smash down. Who doesn't love the swashbuckle-type hero with the magic sword? But that has never been President Obama's style. He is calm, thoughtful and delivers just what he promises or keeps working until he is successful. I agree Gov. Romney brought life back to his campaign through his debate skills (and some magical calculations for vague plans!). For President Obama';s supporters this just means we need to work harder if we want him to have a second term. We really are all in this together. And despite what a few commenters have taunted, we Democrats do know how to work hard because that is what most of us do every single day.
Rollo Tomasi October 05, 2012 at 01:15 AM
OR most likely you voted for him because of white guilt and your want to prove you are no racist how could you be? you voted for a black guy. You have worn that badge like a purple heart. If someone does not like Obama he MUST be racist because he is black you know. The problem is he is empty,... no substance... a figurehead, he has never held a job! He was exposed last night. But you will still vote for him because you do now want to be racist.... you were supposed to vote for the best man not the best black guy.
Lynda October 05, 2012 at 02:35 AM
Rollo, just what makes you so sure I am "white"? Most of your comments can be dismissed as just the usual stupid taunts from someone who demands attention, but you crossed the line in this one, little man.
Rollo Tomasi October 05, 2012 at 03:09 AM
No the only line is the line is your head. And i respond to the incessant garbage you spew with your liberal trash. If you are not white you STILL voted for him because he is black so it is the same. but instead of "white guilt" it was "get whitey"
BOMX55 October 05, 2012 at 12:48 PM
You had better be able to debate and do it well if you are President, shame on you for voting for Obama and putting us in this mess further! If you can't stand on both feet with sound mind defending your issues, you can't run this country successful - OBAMA proved that one!!
BOMX55 October 05, 2012 at 12:52 PM
You are so right!! I was in Fiji when Obama got voted in and a couple said to me "aren't you proud of your country?" WHAT? He had no experience, no business sense, we were already in a mess and needed strong support to get out and this is what we got? We got just what I knew we would get - a race choice with no business smarts! No new jobs, but welfare and unemployment are booming. Oh need I mention the car industry and the money thrown there? Any uneducated fool can throw someone else's money around, but to put that money to work to dig us out a hole, that is going to take smarts and Obama already proved he doesn't have any.
Michael D. October 05, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Everybody is really up and excitted abou the first debate. Any political figure knows the challenger wins the first debate (see Kerry, Dole). The bar is set lower for them so they can make the greatest impact in the first debate. In the Third Debate most voters have made up there mind on who they are voting for. It is the second debate that is crucial. Romney won the debate, but he might have set himself up for failure in the second debate. Now he has raised the bar of expectation in the second debate, while Obama lowered his bar. Unfortunitely being the creatures we are we base the second debate on the first debate. So if Obama is any better we will see it as him coming out a stronger and more aggressive. And if Romeny comes out with the same fire, it will be a loss because there was no gain. They both went against something things they have been campaigning for in the debate, to win votes. So if you fact checked the only real loser here is us, because we are getting more of the same. As The Who said,"The New Boss same as the Old Boss".
BOMX55 October 05, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Thanks for confirming the uneducated voted for the guy that didn't improve this country one iota.
Gary Huckleberry October 05, 2012 at 02:09 PM
No joke. It's a very serious matter who steals your money everyday. At least in this country you CAN vote for who's going to steal your money everyday. Your candidate might not win, but even if he loses, at least he tried to steal your money everyday. For the good of the community.
tom maddalena October 05, 2012 at 02:44 PM
good call
tom maddalena October 05, 2012 at 02:46 PM
B.. O.. as in b.o.... don't you get that?lololol
tom maddalena October 05, 2012 at 02:49 PM
so if they cuss each other from afar... instead of having the balls to face each other with issues you think it's the same thing? i'd rather have a candidate OR a president who can face down the opposition. don't you think?
East End Farmer October 05, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Romney bounded off the stage on Wednesday night with a wide grin from cheek to cheek, proud of himself for delivering all the ‘zingers’ his staff wrote up for him. But here’s the problem: he just made stuff up. By one count, he lied 27 times in 38 minutes! On Medicare, on Obamacare, on taxes, on Wall Street Reform, on you name it... Mitt said whatever came to his mind just to to score political points. Without the folks from Fact Check at your side...you can't trust what Romney says. That's not the kind of President I want. Bush was like that and then he got his ass kicked on foreign policy and again on the domestic economy. Two wars and the worst recession since the Great Depression. We can't afford Bush and we can't afford Romney either. Worst of all; neither can be trusted again.
Rollo Tomasi October 05, 2012 at 04:22 PM
We can't afford Obama!! he has shown he has zero business sense, he has wasted trillions, The 47% are the only people benefiting because it comes on the backs of those who work. No exxageration I paid 62K in taxes last year. Thats theft in my opinion they stole my money to give it to people who do not deserve anything. Being against the "tax for millionaires" is bullcrap as I am no millionaire by a wide margin but Obama will increase my taxes another 3-5K on top of what i do now!! So you better believe I am against re electing a schmuck who steals from me and gives it to people who are not deserving and who I care nothing about.
BOMX55 October 05, 2012 at 04:30 PM
I am watching this debate on You Tube and it's like a train wreck, you can't stop - wonder how many times Mitt thought "This is like shooting fish in a barrel?"
BOMX55 October 05, 2012 at 04:32 PM
You must be kidding...Mitt was prepared and spoke to the issues, Obama was too into the charisma - I married Michelle why??!??! Who cares!?!?!? What are your views, where do you stand? Oh and what do you do besides sling arrows and fight dirty?
Michael D. October 05, 2012 at 05:30 PM
BOMX55, Where did I say that he wasn't prepared and didn't speak the issues. Speaking and being prepared didn't mean he didn't go against what he has been saying for months, which I accused both of them of doing. From you reply I'm going to make the determination you didn't really read my post, you just through someone said there is a positive for Obama.... attack, attack, attack. What does your reply have anything do to with what I wrote?
Michael D. October 05, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Rollo, Unfortunitely anyone making over the medium household income regardless of the candidate is going to see a raise in taxes. The problems are the loopholes that are able to be used by the lower class and the millionares. If we all paid a flat tax about 18% of income with no exemptions we would all pay our fair share. It would be a reduction (average of 30%) for those in the middle class and lower-upper class, and an increase to the lower and mid-to-high upper class who have an average of 13.5% of their income taxed. It would also raise the gross income to the government and in used properly.. (questionable for both parties) would pay down the debt.
Michael D. October 05, 2012 at 05:35 PM
correction: "Unfortunitely anyone making over the medium household income regardless of the candidate is going to see a raise in taxes. " should be: Unfortunitely anyone making over the medien household income regardless of the candidate is going to see a raise in taxes.
BOMX55 October 05, 2012 at 05:38 PM
By saying "the challenger wins the first debate" that is like saying it's a "given" - it is not. Mitt was prepared, Obama was not. Plain and simple. I am going to make the assumption you didn't listen - they both told what they intended and Obama said the wrong things over and over. If you really read or listened, you would know the fight is dirty with Obama just slinging dirt and not listening - that is who is not "listening".
jasminetea October 05, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Mr. Farmer, so what you are saying is you can trust Obama! Tell me why/how? Just curious.
Michael D. October 05, 2012 at 06:06 PM
BOMX55, I'm sorry I'm using history and facts, much like the two men running for office you do not like those things. I apologize to you for stating facts and historically accurate statements. As far as the agrument:. The opponent is fighting dirty, but my candidate isn't. Both are throwing dirty, it just depends on which "foundation" is putting its name on the ad. I actually read the bills that are passed and who wrote them. I actually have to deal with lobbyists and politicans on a regular basis. So for my livelyhood I pay very close attention to what both these men are saying and what they aren't saying. I also went back after the debate and researched what was said in the debate comparing to the what they have said previously. Did you do any research afterwards to make sure what was being said was consistent with their "message"? I'm going to guess not, especially because you had a hard enough time comprehending a couple paragraph agrument. You went straight to the "He must be attacking Romney, how dare you attack him.<chest pound>". He won the debate the challenger typically wins. Do you want a parade for it?
Mme. d'Estape October 06, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Here's who won the debate: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm
Joseph Robert October 06, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Romney sure told a lot of lies at the debate! There had to be 10 to 15 outright lies and distortions! It's a pattern with Romney. I don't see how anyone can trust the guy, who will say ANYTHING to get elected. A real creep!
Jim Aspen October 06, 2012 at 01:52 AM
The magazine's Oct. 15 cover features Mitt Romney debating an empty chair instead of President Barack Obama, just as Clint Eastwood did at the Republican National Convention. “This image seemed like a proper response to the first Presidential debate, but I’m not sure I realized how hard it is to caricature furniture," Barry Blitt told The New Yorker about his cover, “One on One." http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/10/the-new-yorker-eastwooding-137676.html?hp=r1
tom maddalena October 06, 2012 at 02:36 AM
i'd like to know how you can speak for 'most of us' who voted for obama... maybe YOU were thoughtful about it... bush was 1000% what obama is. he was a president. he wasn't just 'present'.
Lynda October 06, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Sorry, TM, if I had enough characters in the post, I would have said "I believe most . . " And that comes from talking with many people both before and after they voted for President Obama. From your post, I am not sure you actually did vote for him so just what is the point of your post? Or were you just bashing my attempt to discuss this reasonably rather than incoherently "Bush was 1000% what Obama is'. What does that mean in English?


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