It’s not likely that Governor Mitt Romney was going to score many points with the crowd that filled Round Table Pizza in Claremont on Wednesday night.
The crowd, overwhelmingly Democratic, was part of an Organizing for America debate viewing event in Claremont. Participants came from various cities to listen together as a group.
In the end, the majority in this crowd said Obama emerged the winner of the debate.
Obama won because, though Romney made an impression, Obama “was very specific in what he was going to outline for educational enhancements,” said Katherine Tsegga, 64, of Upland. “And, also, he was definitely committed to continuing Obama Care. And he continued his focus of all Americans, not just a few Americans.”
Echoes of a video clandestinely taken during a Romney fundraiser in Boca Raton, Fla. earlier this year, still lingered in the minds of many at the gathering.
More than 70 filled the small pizzeria on Baseline. Tsegga said she attended the event to show her support of the president and community, Tsegga said.
“This is about teamwork,” she said. “Numbers are important. Numbers give you strength. You can sit at home and be isolated, but that doesn’t move us toward what we need to do.”
The event drew participants from several nearby cities, from Diamond Bar to Ontario. Organizing for America has been drawing from most of the cities for some time as people search for way to support the president, organizers said.
The few times that the president looked straight into the camera and spoke directly to the viewers earned him reactions from the crowd. There was some applause during the debate, though most of watched intently, nodding in agreement to most of what the president said.
The biggest applause came near the end of the debate when Obama remarked on Romney’s ability to work with both parties to foster unity.
“… Part of leadership and governing is both saying what it is that you are for, but also being willing to say no to some things,” Obama said. “And I’ve got to tell you, Governor Romney, when it comes to his own party during the course of this campaign, has not displayed that willingness to say no to some of the more extreme parts of his party.”
Aasaye Tsegga, 65, Katherine’s husband, said he felt Romney’s speech was all about an image.
“Today was one-sided in that Obama spoke about real issues. Romney spoke in generalities,” Aasaye said. “Romney knows what he’s doing. He is hoping the American people are such that they will not analyze what he is saying. That’s what it is. We see him emotionally speaking about the 47 percent, animated about it. What you see in people’s true nature is not what you see in public most often. (You see it) in small group among their friends.”