If Big Bird's and Jim Lehrer's job's are at stake, then the Mountain View Obama campaign office could use them both as a volunteers.
Around 70 people packed into the storefront at 1411 W. El Camino Real on the evening of Oct. 3 to watch the first presidential debate between Democratic candidate President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney. And after both the pizza and the debate finished, volunteer coordinators shut off the television and got right back to work.
"If you could stay and volunteer, we would like to recruit more volunteers," said Josh Wolf, who coordinates the Mountain View and Los Altos volunteers.
The debate party had a multi-ethnic and multi-generational group of people from across the Peninsula and South Bay. The office does outreach to the communities of Redwood City, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, Los Gatos, Stanford, Menlo Park, Los Altos and Mountain View.
"We're really proud here that we create a welcoming environment in which everybody, included undecideds, can come hear about the issues and talk to some of our volunteers and supporters," said Linda Serrato, California press secretary for the Obama campaign. "It really helps give a full picture of the open atmosphere that we've created in the community."
During the debate, which focused on on domestic economic policy, the candidates differed on taxation, job creation, the amount of government regulation, healthcare reform and Medicare. There seemed to be some agreement on the need for quality education. Some sneered when Romney said he would cut the federal subsidy to Public Broadcasting.
"There are always things people could respond to in a better fashion and I know that as well as anybody," said Mountain View Mayor Mike Kasperzak, a Democrat who stood perched on a table the entire hour and half. "What is clear is the difference in the delivery between the two candidate."
And gauging from the cheers and applause when they agreed with Obama—and the groans and shaking of heads when they disagreed with Romney—the debate didn't change their minds one way or another.
"I can't imagine Mitt Romney as president for four years," said Los Altos resident and volunteer Carlin Jacoby, 64, who cares about marriage equality and LGBT rights. She even explained her disappointment at former President Bill Clinton for passing Don't Ask Don't Tell. "But Obama has created freedom for us."
The debate didn't seal the deal for Obama. At least one person remained undecided.
"If either side had the answer, we wouldn't need a debate. Neither side has the answer," said Bob Nystrom, a Mountain View resident, who didn't want to stay home to watch the debate. "The answer lies somewhere in the middle."
"If I were to vote today, I'd vote for the lesser of two evil," he said, but didn't say who he'd vote for.
Wolf and other volunteers approached Nystrom and asked him to get involved. He stayed and spoke with them a little longer.
Correction and uodate (10:35 a.m. Oct. 4): The attribution for the quote from the Obama campaign has been changed to that of an official spokesperson.
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