Mo. Republicans, Democrats React to Presidential Debate

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COLUMBIA - As President Barack Obama and Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney talked domestic policy Wednesday night in the first presidential debate of the election, local Democratic and Republican supporters converged at local watch parties to watch the President and Gov. Romney spar on taxes, jobs and education. 

More than a dozen Obama supporters gathered at El Jimador mexican restaurant on Penn Terrace Road to watch the first of four debates.

"I think the president did a great job of showing the differences between himself and Governor Romney. Their positions are truly at opposite ends of the spectrum," said Columbia voter and Boone County Commissioner candidate Janet Thompson (D).

"You saw Governor Romney come out strong, interrupting numerous times, interrupting the moderator as well as president. You saw the president outlining his programs and you saw another version of Mitt Romney's programs. So we'll toss it around, look at it upside down and take a vote on it," said event organizer Joyce Schlute.

Across town, a larger crowd of about 60 Missouri conservatives gathered at the Boone County Republican headquarters on Business Loop 70 West to watch the debate.  In attendance among voters were Mo. Attorney General candidate Ed Martin (R) and Mo. Secretary of State candidate Shane Schoeller (R).

"Governor Romney has been energetic and lively," Martin said.  "In person, he's really got a good charisma and interest, and sometimes I don't think that comes across.  I saw he interrupted and kind of kept answering a question once--he said, 'Let me come back,' and I thought that was important, and that makes the whole [debate] more conversational. I like when he pushed back on some of what the President was saying about how the wars were unfunded and projects were unfunded and that Obamacare is the largest unfunded project we've ever seen, so I'm excited about the energy."

Schoeller added, "Before [Romney] was Governor, he was a job creator.  So, he understands very clearly that the government needs to be out of the way, not in the way, and I think he clearly showed that tonight."

The vice presidential debate on foreign and domestic policy is Oct. 11 in Kentucky. The second presidential debate will occur in a town hall meeting format on Oct. 16 in New York, where the President and Gov. Romney will focus on both foreign and domestic policy.  At the last of the debates on Oct. 22, they will meet in Florida to talk strictly foreign policy.