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Voters Watch Second Presidential Debate at Viewing Parties Across City

Members of the Young Nonprofit Professional Network watch the debate at Daily Bar and Grill in Lincoln Square. (Photo by Charles Jefferson)

Chicagoans eagerly tuned into the second presidential debate between President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney at viewing parties for voters spanning the political (and demographic) spectrum.

Tim Shaunnessey reported from a Chicago Votes viewing party at Cole’s Bar in Logan Square where a crowd of self-professed liberals felt Obama handily won the town hall-style debate at Long Island’s Hofstra University. Some of the young adult attendees, however, said they were frustrated by both candidates’ use of talking points and canned answers.

Barry Weitz, retired IRS agent and Romney supporter. (Photo by Kaitlyn Mattson)

Republican debate viewers at the Mayne Stage Theater in Rogers Park told reporter Kaitlyn Mattson they thought Romney was the night’s victor. They cheered for Romney at a rowdy Republican viewing party attended by both State Treasurer Dan Rutherford and the chair of the Illinois Republican Party.

Also on the north side, Charles Jefferson reported from Lincoln Square’s Daily Bar and Grill, where members of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network gathered to view the debate and hoped the candidates would address the issues they face in the communities they serve every day.

Elizabeth Marino, 57, attended the Center on Halsted debate viewing party. (Photo by Rachel Angres)

Rachel Angres reported from a viewing party in the lobby of the Center on Halsted, which sponsors events for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals. Romney’s responses elicited groans when he discussed taxes and the middle class. “More small business jargon. This man is full of it,” said one man. Obama drew criticism from Elizabeth Marino, 57, when he was asked about women’s issues and launched into a story about his grandmother. “Answer the question,” she demanded of the TV screen. Catherine Ye, 23, a visitor from Pennsylvania, said access to abortion and tax policy are her priorities: “Both are really relevant for the health of Americans and the U.S. economy.”

And at two different Catholic colleges, DePaul University on Chicago’s north side and St. Xavier University in the southwest, ChicagoTalks reporters Ellyn Fortino and Katherine Iorio spoke to students, most in support of Obama, who were excited that the candidates discussed gun control and abortion, but were disappointed that their questions about gay marriage and climate change remained unanswered.

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