The first 2012 Presidential Debate may have started light, with President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney sharing a firm handshake and a few jokes. However, the candidates wasted no time focusing on the economic challenges facing Americans, with each contrasting his own vision for the country with his opponent's.
During our live coverage, Patch asked residents around the country to join in the debate through emailing us questions, joining our live blog and tweeting their thoughts with #PatchPolitics.
Residents around New Jersey joined the lively discussion, as the president and presidential hopeful had at each other in a face-to-face battle of words.
"[Romney] should ask what Obama has done for us in the last 4 years. (sound of crickets)," said Patch reader 'John B'.
Just as the Obama and Romney disagree, our readers were not seeing eye-to- eye on our live blog.
"Romney is gonna set up trade with Latin America because he has sent so many jobs over there with the busineses he owns but yet he doesn't support the immigration laws that Obama has tried to pass...hmmmm??," one reader said.
Many on Twitter pointed to the tone of the debate. While Obama technically held the floor longer, readers pointed out the strength in Romney's voice and the fact that the candidate didn't seem to pull any punches.
"Romney comes across strong and in control," Patch reader 'John B' said in our live blog. "Obama is pandering to the young vote," he later added.
While both candidates frequently ran over their allotted time for question and answer segments, giving moderator Jim Lehrer a difficult job, some readers said Romney's strong voice in the debate was not enough.
"Romney refuses to give details on any plan on any subject," Patch reader 'Tonto' said.
But with the groans and moans from both sides of the aisles heard in our live blog as opponents laid out plans, one Patch reader named Kelly ended our live blogging by saying what many may have been thinking:
"Thank goodness that's over."