“I wanted to see the Romney that I hoped I would see, and I saw him tonight. He was very, very good,” said Isakson, who watched the debate from home.
Isakson said it was clear that Romney bested Obama in the Denver debate.
“Romney was clear in the definition of his vision, clear in what he planned for the future,” Isakson said. “President Obama was defensive on a lot of the issues.”
It was crucial that Romney perform as well as he did, Isakson said.
“I don’t think there was any question there were some questions out there in terms of where he was going to go,” Isakson said. “He was definitive. He was straightforward. He had a grasp of the issues, and I think he took on the president very well.”
One of the subjects that stood out for Isakson during the debate was health care.
“A lot of people thought that Romney would be defensive on the Massachusetts bill in terms of health care, and instead he was positive,” Isakson said.
Chambliss, who watched the debate from his Moultrie home, called a little after 10 p.m. to say he didn’t have to see any more of the debate to declare Romney the victor.
“This is such a slam dunk,” Chambliss said. “Obama’s making up stuff. He says he cut taxes on middle Americans 18 times, then he turns around and he blames the economy that he inherited on tax cuts. I don’t understand what the guy’s talking about. I think Romney has done a very good job articulating the way we go forward, not where we’ve been. Every time he raises a point with respect to the president’s policies, the president seems to talk about things that simply are not true. I mean for example he talked about the F-22. He said the Air Force proposed programs that weren’t working very well and we had to eliminate those programs. Well Lord knows we’ve shown today that because we limited the number of F-22s our capability to eliminate Iran from having a nuclear weapon is certainly pretty much tightened up. So statements like that are just simply not out of context, they’re out of sorts.”
Chambliss also said it was crucial that Romney performed well in the debate.
“Obviously the polls have not been trending his way, and while I don’t pay attention to the numbers themselves, I do pay attention to the way the polls trend, and I think Romney has not only acquitted himself very well tonight he’s shown a very stark contrast that indicates that if the president is re-elected we’ll be on the same path we’ve been on, which is not improving, which has not laid out a foreign policy that works, which has not laid out a policy on health care for example, that’s going to make life better for the American people, and Romney on the other hand has laid out a plan tax-wise and otherwise that will get the economy back on track.”
“Any way you look at it, you can’t say Obama has improved his chances tonight. I think you can very definitely say that Romney has improved his chances,” Chambliss said.
Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University who specializes in elections, said it was important for Romney to perform well, which he did.
“Obama certainly did not win,” Swint said. “Romney passed the ‘president’ test by appearing competent and thoughtful. He was also able to criticize the President on the economy and health care in a convincing fashion.”
Swint said Romney was particularly strong when discussing the role of government in a free society.
“With his performance, Romney will help himself with some swing voters,” Swint said. “But there were no knockdowns, and no blood on the floor. To catch up in the polls, Romney may have needed more of a clear victory tonight.”
U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) watched the debate at home with his wife, Billie, but not before calling their teenage grandkids to make sure they watched the debate.
“President Obama realized tonight he was in the ring with a heavyweight, and he got out-punched,” Gingrey said. “Romney performed tremendously. He didn’t have to resort to zingers or gotchas because he was able to articulate his plans, his policies, and the president’s miserable record. His message to undecided voters was ‘We can do better. I will do better.’”
U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell) said the debate provided voters with a clear choice in the election.
“We can continue the president’s policies that have brought us a stagnant economy, record deficits, government control of health care, and which will lead to higher taxes and more debt, or we can turn the page on four years of failed leadership and pursue Governor Romney’s pro-growth agenda that will cut taxes, rein in the debt, keep patients and doctors in charge of health care, and empower job creators to turn this economy around,” Price said. “This evening Gov. Romney proved that he’s the type of leader who will turn this economy around and put us on a path to prosperity.”
Attorney General Sam Olens of east Cobb, watched the debate with his wife, Lisa, at the Cobb GOP watch party at Tijuana Joe’s Cantina.
“The governor demonstrated how the President’s policies have worsened our economy and national security,” Olens said after the debate. “Romney looked and acted presidential while the President simply grimaced and asked for more time. The president was irritable and defensive during the debate, misstating the Governor’s proposed policies. The Governor confidently stated how he would work with the Congress to grow jobs. The president’s hope and change tarnished tonight.”
Republican Hunter Hill, who is vying to oust State Sen. Doug Stoner (D-Smyrna) in next month’s election, said Romney dominated the debate.
“He based his arguments on facts,” Hill said. “His success tonight is in line with his success in the private sector. He is not an ideologue, but a problem-solver. He articulated a vision for America that is in line with our founding principles.”
Stoner did not return calls by press time.
Northwest Cobb Commissioner Helen Goreham, a Republican, said the night belonged to Romney.
“He did an exceptional job through his responses showing that the President’s record on accomplishments was not great,” Goreham said. “He was able to address the issues that are out there and show a huge contrast between himself and the president and indicate that there’s been a lack of leadership for four years.”
Georgia GOP Chair Sue Everhart of east Cobb declared it a great night to be a Republican.
“Mitt Romney gave us hope tonight that we can bring back this great country,” she said.
Democrats had a different take on the debate.
State Rep. David Wilkerson (D-Austell), who watched the debate at a viewing party at Varners Restaurant & Tavern in Smyrna, said Obama won.
“He was able to expand on the things he wanted to do,” Wilkerson said. “I don’t think he swayed anybody, to be honest with you, but the president proved why he is doing the job that he’s doing, and he has a clear idea of what he wants to do and Romney just wants to not do what the president’s doing.
“Plus, he wants to fire Big Bird! That’s the biggest thing.”
State Rep. Stacey Evans (D-Smyrna), who watched the debate at home with her family, also said Obama won.
“The big question that Romney had still to answer tonight is how is he going to reduce the deficit and pay for the plan that he put forward, and that is telling us what loopholes he would close,” Evans said. “Obama has told us clearly he’s going to be looking at loopholes and looking at incentives that are currently built in for businesses that ship jobs overseas, and that’s where he’s going to focus his attention and make sure that we’re keeping America at work. To me, that said it all.”
State Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan (D-Austell) had a different answer.
“The American people won,” Morgan said. “I got so many text messages tonight asking me where I was going to be watching the debate, and I don’t remember that ever happening. So what that says to me is a lot of people are paying a lot more attention, and that is fantastic. For people who are in politics, you pay attention to the debates, you understand the issues, you know what’s going on, you read the articles, but if you’re not necessarily involved in politics I think for many people this is the first time they started paying attention to this election.”