BEND, Ore. - The question many Republicans had going into Tuesday night's debate was: Could Romney keep the momentum he gained from the first debate two weeks ago"?
Central Oregon Republicans say he did.
Several Republicans expected there to be "Romney Butt Kicks" and "Obama Sissy Slaps." So for part of the fun, they kept track on a dry-erase board.
"The funniest thing I thought was Obama kept saying what's Romney going to do in your four years?" said Republican Mark Gerson. "He kept trying to put it back on him, because he couldn't defend what's going on in his four years, so it was constantly that game."
"It was really interesting," said Republican Lynne Potter. "I had a good time. I thought Romney stepped forward continually, like he did last time."
Since the first presidential debate, the Republican base really has solidified support for Romney, and at Tuesday night's debate it was evident.
"He talks to the American people, and he does it in such a competent and confident way that I think he will draw more voters when he speaks," said Bend Tea Party spokesman John Philo. "Because he is such a solid individual, and he has a great economic idea for this country."
Republicans say they are thrilled by the performance of the governor and felt better every time he spoke.
"His appearances have surged dramatically," Philo said."That's something that is really telling, because more and more people want to hear what he says, and that's very encouraging for us."
Still, a few Republicans admitted they thought Obama had a stronger debate performance this time.
"I thought the president did a better job, but I was fully expecting him to come out and be aggressive tonight," said Paul Dewitt. "But I still believe Romney won on substance."
They said they liked Romney's responses on the differences between himself and former President Bush, the Libyan embassy attack and the economy.
And if the tally board is any indication,most Republicans at the gathering gave the win to Romney.
So what does Romney need to do to win the next debate and ultimately the election in November?
Philo told me the governor has to drill down on the specific issues -- especially jobs.