Watching the debate in Iowa

Oct 23, 2012

Both Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama took the stage for their final debate in Florida last night. In Iowa, the campaigns staged watch parties. Iowa Public Radio’s Sandhya Dirks reports that both camps believe their candidate went home with the win.  

At Cooney’s Tavern in Des Moines, a lively crowd of democrats cheered on the president and booed his opponent. While the debate centered on foreign policy, what voters often pick up on is body language, especially when watching the split screen. Bob Meddaugh of Des Moines says Romney looked like he was on the defensive, "I noticed tonight, Governor Romney did a lot of smirking and stuttering that I hadn’t seen in his past debates, maybe I’m wrong but it seemed to me he was getting a little flustered." 

But it all depends whose doing the viewing. At a debate watch party at a private residence in Des Moines, supporters of Romney cheered the Governor and jeered the President. When all was said and done, Rhonda Hill of Clive says it was Obama who looked flustered, "If you watched his facial expressions and his body language very carefully tonight, you saw he was on the defensive, he was angry."

Hill admits that as a Romney supporter, she’s not without bias. The question is then, what undecided voters saw on the candidate’s faces, and heard in their words.

In Des Moines, I’m Sandhya Dirks for Iowa Public Radio News.