Perhaps not surprisingly, Maui County party leaders declared their candidate overwhelmingly victorious after Tuesday night's presidential debate from Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.
Maui County Democratic Party member Karen Chun said shortly after the town hall-style forum that President Barack Obama won with a more energized approach "to fight for the middle class" instead of supporting top-down economics.
Meanwhile, Maui County Republican Party Chairwoman Cindy Sue Clark couldn't disagree more, favoring her party's nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
"Obama looked bad," Clark said. "It put a knot in my stomach. He was mean spirited. It's all class warfare and color warfare now. It made me feel awful, and I thought we were better than that, beyond that as a country. He even pitted women against men."
Most of the questions came from the audience, but the candidates were given time to rebut each other's statements and either smirked, smiled politely or grimaced, depending on the observer.
Chun defended Obama's previous debate performance, which was roundly criticized as too passive.
"I think that the president was raised the Hawaiian way and was stunned when Romney changed his positions, and he was too polite to call him out on it," she said. "This time, the president was ready and didn't let him get away with his misstatements.
"That was the president that we've grown to love: Someone who is fighting and standing up for us."
The majority of the forum concentrated on what the candidates would do about the ballooning deficits, a sluggish economy, high unemployment rates, new taxes or cuts and outsourced jobs.
"Wow. Wow. I think Romney was great. He won again," Clark said. "He was on top of just everything. He had the facts on China's financial abuses, and he was good at being compassionate, and he opened himself to show himself."
Chun said Obama was assertive, not aggressive, and determined to lay out his plan to follow and continue to follow to bring the economy and jobs back, "even though Romney kept cutting him off."
Chun said that instead of concentrating on the future, Romney just rattled off a list of negative numbers inherited from President George W. Bush.
"Oh, for how long are they gonna keep flogging the Bush horse?" Clark asked. "What if he's re-elected? Who will he blame then. He's had plenty of time now, and everybody's so polarized."
Clark said Obama's record is so bad, all the president could do was attack, "but he was smooth by being able to dodge away. I don't know how he's able to do it."
* Chris Hamilton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.