Patch Panelists Defend Their Candidates in Presidential Debate

California political insiders are divided on healthcare and the economy but united on who won the debate.

A panel of political insiders from around California joined a live conversation about the first presidential debate Wednesday night and shared their insights with Patch readers.

President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney squared off in Colorado at the University of Denver. Journalist Jim Lehrer moderated.

Going into the debate, expectations were high and partisan lines were already drawn. Republican Kevin Hangman, chairman of the Napa County Republican Central Committee, anticipated "Obama defending his failures on the economy."

Democrat Jeff Kravitz, an attorney and former candidate for Sacramento County supervisor, said he was interested in seeing "how Romney believes cutting government spending and hence jobs of government workers could help the economy."

The panel also included Michael Barber, an independent and chief legislative aide for San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine; Gil Gonzales, Republican candidate for State Senate in the San Gabriel Valley; and Nathan Mintz, a Republican and former candidate for State Assembly in the South Bay region of Los Angeles County.

Below are some highlights from the panelists' conversation about the debate.

On Taxes

Gonzales: "[Donald] Trump is not a small business...don't know small businessmen/women with their own reality tv shows or jets."

Barber: "Romney is full of it to say he will help middle class taxpayers. What little we know of his plan, will increase our deficit."

Federal Deficit

Hangman: "Took Bush 8 years to run up $5 T debt. O did it in THREE!"

Barber: "After he inherited two unfunded wars...."

The Economy

Barber: "If California could keep the $ we pay in federal subsidies to the federally subsidized states, we would be golden again."

Social Security

Mintz: "The simple reality is that the current entitlement system is unsustainable. Go ask 20 people under 40 if they think any of it will be there when they are old enough to benefit....see how many laugh."


Barber: "Romney wants to overturn Romneycare. Keep healthcare for the wealthy...the poor can just use the emergency room."

Gonzales: "One is states rights. The other is Federal power. Voters need to decide which to elect is the best method to meet their health needs."

Mintz: "real solution is to blow up the medicare-insurance complex and go back to high deductible catastrophic care and pay your doctor direct for routine care."


Hangman: "I think all illegal aliens who graduate with math and science degrees should get visa's. If they agree to teach for two years at minimum wage!"

Mintz: "Immigration is totally broken because it isn't tied to work...it's tied to who got here first. Time for a reform."

Though divided on several issues during the debate, the Patch panelists found  common ground. Everyone enjoyed Romney's reference to "trickle-down government."

They also agreed moderator Jim Lehrer was not on top of his game. And they felt Romney and Obama smirked way too much.

The panelists also united on who they thought won the debate. Barber, an independent, did not weigh in, but the rest of the panel members cast their votes for Romney.

Margeaux Rox October 09, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Big Bird belongs to the 1%. I wonder how much he pays in taxes.
Jay Lopez October 09, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Seseme Street asked Obama to stop using Big Bird in his commercials...he must be a one percenter.
Dan Crandell October 10, 2012 at 05:29 AM
@Ronald ... Another no. OK
Holly Hale October 10, 2012 at 06:14 AM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/09/libya-consulate-attack-protests_n_1953057.html Big Bird's tax dollars won't matter after this..........
The MOG October 10, 2012 at 06:30 AM
Obama's people better lay off the Big Bird angle. It only reminds voters of the debates & his miserable performance. With gas prices through the roof, now, & the entire Muslim World a unified anti-American clamour, it sounds silly for The Leader Of The Freeworld to drone on about Big Bird. People aren't particularly concerned with Big Bird at the moment. They're concerned about jobs. They're concerned about the over reach of the federal government, the confiscatory powers of government, & they're concern about Economic Freedom, & the Value of our Currency. They're concerned about their pocket books. They aren't fixated with poll numbers, or figures coming out of the Goverment Accounting Office. They're worried about the prices they see at the super market, their stagnant wages, & the inflationary monetary policies of The Fed. You can go ahead and argue it's not Obama's fault, but it's his responcibility. All this woulda coulda shoulda doesn't cut it. romney won because sound economic sense appeals to anyone, regardless of party, belief, or creed. It's simple. Government shouldn't spend more than it takes in, it's immoral for one generation to saddle another with crushing debt, Americans shouldn't be taxed to fund failing Government Programs, & people should be allowed to keep more of their take home pay. Revenue is generated though increased investment from the private sector, not public sector spending. We become Energy Independent, & maintain a position of strengh abroad.


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