Locals Dissect First Presidential Debate

The first of three presidential debates centers on tax policy, health care and the Middle Class.

The presidential candidates spoke, and the Hudson Valley listened.

As President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Gov. Mitt Romney sparred Wednesday evening in the first of three head-to-head contests, residents tuned in for discussions on states' rights, health care and tax rates.

The hour-and-a-half debate began with friendly wedding anniversary chatter—Wednesday marked Obama's and the First Lady's 20th—but quickly transformed into a fierce back-and-forth on the sluggish American economy and paucity of jobs.

Both candidates chose to eschew controversy, opting not to capitalize on gaffes that have plagued their opponents in recent weeks. The debate focused instead on tax policy, small business and the Middle Class.

Patch users were able to marry the debate screening with a live blog, which highlighted a panel local politicians from both sides of the aisle.

Students at Iona College in New Rochelle gathered for a viewing party and lively discussion of the debates.

Learn the nuts and bolts on November's local elections; read Patch's election guide here.

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