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Biden performance cheers Obama volunteers

October 11, 2012|By David Lauter

CINCINNATI -- Two dozen mostly middle-aged Obama supporters here applauded and laughed their way through the vice presidential debate Thursday, happy to see Joe Biden demonstrate a feistiness they had missed during the presidential debate last week. 

"He was excited," said Pat Fry, a 61-year-old retired federal worker. "I'm happier, yes."

When President Obama met GOP challenger Mitt Romney last week, "Obama was too polite," she said.

DEBATE QUIZ: Who said it?

Like many others in the group, Fry clapped when Biden first mentioned Romney's videotaped remarks about 47% of Americans being dependent on the government. The applause came even louder when the vice president declared that "the last thing America needs" is another war in the Mideast.

After last week's debate, said another volunteer, Maggie Yocis, "I definitely felt, 'Geez, we just have to go out there and work harder, harder, harder." The vice presidential session should make the job easier again, she said.

Cincinnati and surrounding Hamilton County make up a key swing area in one of the most crucial battleground states. Obama in 2008 became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the county since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

The city has a large African American population as well as large working-class and middle-class Catholic neighborhoods. Gail Miller, who came to the debate-watching party at an Irish bar in the northern part of the city wearing a Catholics for Obama shirt, said a high point for her came toward the end of the encounter, when Biden and Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin talked about their faith.

She was happy that Biden talked about the effect of Catholic social teachings, she said.

"It's broader than abortion," she said of the concerns that faithful Catholics need to think about.

The vice presidential debate should settle the nerves of some anxious Democrats, she added.

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david.lauter@latimes.com

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