Dozens of locals – and not-so-locals – packed The Bench in Stony Brook for a Live Viewing Party of the first presidential debate, a mix of more than 60 students, small business owners.
"It's so great to see so many members of the community come out to get informed and listen to the direction each candidate wants to take the country," said Kara Hahn, Suffolk County legislator representing the region. "I like the back and forth that has been going on, it is allowing a lot of depth."
The Denver face-off between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney face off in Denver moderated by PBS News Hour host Jim Lehrer started at 9 p.m., though locals started trickling in around 8:20 p.m. and enjoyed hors d'oeuvres for a while before it kicked off.
But when it was all over, reaction at the Patch-sponsored party over who "won" the debate was mixed.
"It was great watching Obama flounder," said Centereach resident Rod Morgensen. "He was speaking in generalities. He didn't get away with his typical stuff. Romney was clear, concise and specific."
Adam Newman, a Port Jefferson resident, disagreed.
"I think it's great that Obama said he wanted to close tax breaks for companies that outsource," he said. "It's about time someone does something to keep jobs in America."
Local Stony Brook University media, including the Stony Brook Statesman, Stony Brook Press, Smithtown Radio, and WUSB were in attendance.
One SBU student, Craig Stein, said he wasn't particularly impressed by either candidate.
"They're telling people what they want to hear," Stein said. "I didn't hear anything really interesting."
On Oct. 11, vice presidential nominees Joe Biden and Paul Ryan will face off in a debate of their own, followed by the second presidential debate on Oct. 16 at Hofstra University in Hempstead.