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In Alexandria, Reviews Of Debate Fall Along Party Lines

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Virginia is one of the battleground swing states in this year's Presidential election and voters and politicos in the commonwealth were paying close attention to last night's debate in Denver between President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

With both parties fighting hard to dominate Virginia's crucial swing voters, most of the reaction to the presidential debate was along traditional party lines, with Democrats supporting President Obama and Republicans supporting Romney, the former Massachusetts governor. 

Alexandria Democratic Party Chairman Dak Hardwick came to the president's defense during the debate, saying Obama did the best he could with a difficult situation inherited from former President George W. Bush.

"One of the things I think that the voters need to remember is that the president was handed a pretty bad plate when he became president," Hardwich said. "And over the course of four years he had literally had to pull our economy from the ashes." 

The President is leading in most polls in Virginia, so Democrats say they feel confident he will win the commonwealth and they didn't hear much in the debate that might change that, they said. 

But Republicans hope that Romney's performance in the debate can create new momentum for the G O P., potentially changing the direction of the campaign and influencing the outcome. Republican Pat Troy felt that Romney was able to deliver a knockout punch to President Obama.

"It reminded me of a heavyweight championship for America, and it was completely dominated by Romney," Troy said. "He was ready for this. This was a 15-rounder, and it was a completely unanimous decision for Romney."

Not all the reaction falls along party lines, though. Democrat Gail Gordon says she didn't hear all that much that might influence undecided voters.

"Both candidates played it very safe tonight. I don't think that there was a major issue or breakout," she said. "There was nothing exciting. I mean, I don't think it was a game-changer either way."

For many years, Virginia was not considered a swing state — until Obama won there in 2008. Now, the most recent polling of commonwealth voters shows the race in a statistical dead heat, with both parties in striking distance of winning the commonwealth's thirteen electoral votes. 

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