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North Park crowd favors Clinton's debate performance

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

The presidential debate drew a good crowd to the North Park Theatre Monday night. Judging by those who were willing to talk afterwards, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the debate.

While moderator Lester Holt warned the audience at Hofstra University not to applaud or cheer, the audience in the North Park was under no such rules. There was a lot of reaction to comments from the two candidates. More seemed to side with Clinton over Donald Trump.

"I feel he doesn't really know what he's talking about. He couldn't explain himself clearly," said one viewer, Aida Cruz.

"He kept attacking Hillary and he has no respect for women. Hillary was composed, eloquent, calm. He was crazy."

Many of those attending chose not to comment about the debate and among those, none offered support for Trump.

"He was comedic," one viewer, identified only as Edward, said of the Republican candidate. "We're not dealing with two equal candidates at all. We have a child up there on stage, contesting a grown woman who is savvy and experienced and brings a lot to bear."

Another viewer, David, showed his colors with his Bernie Sanders tee shirt. With the race now down to two candidates, his opposition to Trump was evident.

"Trump doesn't like NATO. If it wasn't for NATO, the world would be a horrible place right now and we don't even want to go down that road, but Trump wants us to go down that road," David said. "That's probably the biggest concern I have."

Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner released the following statement regarding the debate:

"Tonight, Secretary Clinton showed the character and temperament Americans want and need in the White House at a time of great challenges at home and abroad. Donald Trump’s reckless, divisive rhetoric and disregard for facts and truth were also on full display. We have never been prouder to stand with Hillary Clinton and her historic campaign."

Beth Finkel, State Director of AARP in New York State, was disappointed the debate did not cover the issue of Social Security, calling it "the most significant pocketbook issue in the 2016 election."

“Without action, Social Security benefits will be cut by nearly 25 percent across the board in 2034 – costing some as much as $10,000 a year and likely affecting the vast majority of the 170 million Americans currently paying into the system with every paycheck," Finkel said in a statement. "The longer we wait, the more difficult the options for updating Social Security for the 21st century. Doing nothing is not an option."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.