RALEIGH, N.C. — President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry squared off Thursday in the first of three scheduled debates. Local voters held debate viewing parties around the Triangle.
A group of Bush-Cheney supporters watched the debate at the party's Raleigh headquarters. They all agreed the president demonstrated his leadership skills and unwavering resolve in the war on terrorism.
"He is a man of conviction. He is honest and cares about us and the country 1000 percent," said Bush supporter Patti Sasse.
"I believe President Bush is the right way to go because he is one that has tried to keep our nation safe after Sept. 11," Timothy Cobb said.
Meanwhile, local Democrats believe Kerry's performance in Thursday's debate might increase their candidate's popularity in North Carolina.
"Sen. Kerry is running stronger in North Carolina already than many of our past nominees in recent years," said Ed Turlington, former chairman of the John Edwards campaign. "We have a real chance of carrying the state, especially with Sen. [John] Edwards on the ticket."
"There is clear anger in the state toward President Bush that has a lot to do with jobs," said Secretary of State Elaine Marshall.
Bush and Kerry have two more debates on tap. The next one is set for Oct. 8 in St. Louis. The third debate is Oct. 13 in Tempe, Arizona.