Mitt Romney may have won the Wednesday night presidential debate in the eyes of those at the Joliet Patch viewing party, but his performance was not enough to switch the minds of the decided voters or to win the hearts of the undecided.
That said, Romney may have helped his cause by being able to hold his own with President Obama and to make points that the president failed to refute, said the attendees, who watched the debate at Cemeno's Pizza in Joliet. And Obama's demeanor may have hurt him because he appeared at times to be angered by Romney's answers but failed to adequately counter them, they said.
"I was impressed with Romney and the way he handled himself compared to Obama, who looked like a deer in the headlights," said Bob Jacksetich, a Romney supporter. "He seemed lost without his teleprompter."
But he didn't win over Mike Schauer, a union activist and Obama supporter.
"Trust, it's all about trust," Schauer said. "Mitt Romney I just don't trust. He has vowed to end collective bargaining, (to cut) the prevailing wages and the right for people to organize. All will drive wages down."
Interestingly, two members of the audience were unemployed but neither was as worried about the candidates' views on Obama's health care as they were about what was said about creating new jobs.
Kevin Miller, an undecided voter, said he was leaning more toward Romney after hearing his views on job creation. Securing a job will resolve the insurance problem for him, he said. Andrew Wilson didn't disagree, but acknowledged he was rolling the dice without insurance, a problem he would have with guaranteed health insurance under Obama's plan.
Both were trumped by Heather F., who said provisions already mandated through Obamacare helped her receive cancer treatments to which she otherwise would not have add access.
"I wouldn't be alive without it," she said.
Other attendee comments included:
"(It's) scary Romney still wants to spend on defense since we already have the largest military in the world."
"The president has some fine skills. He's a great talker. I wasn't convinced Romney was the right man for the job, but he presented himself better and presented the best arguments."
"Romney seemed very smirky and condescending. Obama seemed more genuine and sincere."
"Obama kept agreeing Romney is right on many things."