EAGLE, Colorado - The Eagle County Republicans watching the presidential debate from the party's Eagle office thought Republican nominee Mitt Romney crushed President Barack Obama in the first presidential debate Wednesday night.The Eagle County Republicans hosted more than 60 people in its Eagle office to watch the first presidential debate this election season. They cheered and applauded when Romney spoke, and laughed and disagreed as Obama spoke.The feeling in the room was that Obama was generally stumbling throughout the debate. Mike Deacon, of Eagle, said perhaps it was because he didn't have a teleprompter to help him along. At least three other Eagle County Republicans agreed, including chair Kaye Ferry."Romney is answering the questions with solutions," Deacon said. "Obama (is answering with) platitudes. He's even agreeing with Romney's solutions."Eagle resident Sandy Anderson said she was watching the debate to hear Romney talk about how he can fix the "far left, radical views" of the current president. Anderson said Romney has substance and she knew he'd show it throughout the debate."(Romney's) kicking his butt," Anderson said. "I'm tickled pink. Isn't it funny how no teleprompter does make a difference."There were several so-called zingers that had the Republicans erupting with laughter. As Obama continued to say Romney's plan includes $5 trillion in tax cuts, Romney said his own sons often repeat things over and over again and they think that makes it true."That's not my plan," Romney said. And the zingers, and the cheers, kept on coming. One local Republican said he thought Romney was debating so well that perhaps Obama would even vote for him.Republican Michael Cacioppo said Romney wasn't his first choice out of the party's candidates, and the fact Obama was losing arguments to Romney says a lot - or actually, very little - about the president.Many thought the president was using a sympathy strategy in the debate because it was his only way to connect with viewers. Katie Townsend, an Eagle Valley High School freshman who is volunteering for the Eagle County Republicans, said Romney is "definitely doing better.""(Romney's) rebuttal strategies are better. His crossfire is better. He's giving more direct answers," Townsend said. "Obama - how many times can he mention his grandmother? I mean, seriously."Obama's attempt to tug at voters' emotions didn't work with the Eagle County Republicans. Ferry listened and wondered whether she thought Romney was winning the arguments just because of the company she was in and then quickly said she didn't think that was the case."I think he's clearly ahead," she said. Obama said the election isn't about where the country has been, it's about where it's going. Deacon said that statement is typical of Obama's philosophy of community organizing."It's rhetoric," Deacon said. "The past four years is about his presidency. Where he's going? He needs to go back to Chicago."For small business owner Rick Adams, of Eagle, there's no question who won Wednesday night. He said Romney really tackled all the key topics - the economy, jobs, smaller government, the deficit and health care, among others. Adams has a lot of personal interest in the election because investors for his business, called On Target, are waiting to see what happens with the election. He's trying to build an indoor shooting range in Gypsum and the election will likely have a lot do with the success or failure of that prospect, he said. "I think Romney did exceptionally well," Adams said. "He had President Obama on the ropes."Assistant Managing Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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