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GOP debate viewing party draws hundreds

While the four remaining Republican presidential candidates debated inside the Mesa Arts Center on Wednesday, hundreds of people watched on a big screen outside. KJZZ’s Mark Brodie was among them, and has this report.

MARK BRODIE: Main Street in downtown Mesa was packed with people wearing political T-shirts and buttons and carrying signs for the four candidates. And then there was Ron Paul supporter Joe Petrashek of Chandler. He was carrying a framed copy of the U.S. Constitution.

JOE PETRASHEK: I think everybody should want limited government, power to the people and to the states, and not this nanny government that we’ve got in the federal government.

BRODIE: The crowd cheered as the candidates discussed how they would reduce the country’s deficit and secure its southern border. But there were also boos for some of the answers on earmarks and foreign policy. Nancy Richie of Mesa supports Rick Santorum. She says she’s watched some of the previous debates, and was looking for something specific with this one.

NANCY RICHIE: What I do like to see is how they react under pressure, how they treat each other, their character, how quickly they can come up with their answer, if they backpedal. It’s interesting.

BRODIE: Richie says what she saw last night from the former Pennsylvania Senator reinforced her support. Doreen Herman of Scottsdale liked the debate’s last question, about the biggest misconception of each of the candidates.

DOREEN HERMAN: I’m still on the fence between Romney and Santorum. I like Santorum, that he can beat Obama. That was really key on him to say that, he got in all of his things. I thought he answered the question the best on that one.

BRODIE: Last night’s debate is the last before Super Tuesday early next month. Voters in Arizona and Michigan go to the polls on Tuesday.