COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

"Watch parties" that gathered during the political conventions over the summer are forming again this month for the presidential debates.

On Wednesday night, people met publicly and privately across southern Colorado to watch the debate between Democratic incumbent Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.  The candidates met in the first of a series of debates leading up to Election Day.

One of the Obama gatherings was held in a building near the intersection of Union and Briargate Boulevards.  About 25 people attended that event.

"I didn't expect to hear anything different," said Obama supporter Eddie Macklin.  "He can defend himself.  He understands what he's doing.  He knows where he wants to go."

Meanwhile, a larger crowd gathered at the Airplane Restaurant near the airport, in support of Romney.  

"Romney was very presidential," said supporter Candace Seaton.  "I thought that he really took over the debate and did far better than I thought he would.  He sounds like a leader, and that's what we're missing right now."

Several organizers said attendance was down at some watch parties because of people who preferred to watch the debate at home.