It's almost six o'clock in the evening and people are slowly gathering at a lawyer's office in the Mission District to watch the first Presidential candidate debate. The host of the party is longtime San Francisco Republican Leonard Lacayo. He’s greeting everyone at the door. Inside, right next to the entrance, there is a small sign indicating that this is the Ronald Reagan Building.
Inside, the TV is tuned to Fox News. As Lacayo turns up the volume, several dozen attendees of mostly Hispanic and Asian origin take their seats. They're members of the San Francisco Hispanic Republican Assembly.
At first, people are mostly silent. But as the debate moves on, they become more and involved. I ask Lacayo how he thinks the candidates are performing so far.
“Apparently Mr. Romney is mopping up the floor. If you can see the difference. Apparently he knows what he is talking about. And apparently president Obama seems to be out of his element. He's a little afraid there,” he says.
The debate ends. The Republicans are excited. I ask one of the most outspoken viewers Coty de Castillo why she was reacting so passionately.
“Because I hate Obama!” she replies.
When I ask her to explain why she hates the president, de Castillo replies: “Because he's lied for four years! What? Nobody notices that he's lied about everything that he said he was going to do? Everything he says he was going to do, he didn't do!”
De Castillo and her husband Roger are fiercely against the Affordable Healthcare Act, also known as Obamacare, and they’re annoyed by the fact that so many Latino families rely heavily on the support of social security.
“Do you want to continue to pay taxes for people who stand in line and don't!? I mean, that's just common sense!” she continues.
While her husband adds that their “Latin culture is: you do the best with what you can. You get an education and you support your family. And it breaks my heart to see what is happening to my culture. Not only to this country, but to my culture! And I see it every day of my life!”
Nimfa Gamez is a businesswoman of Filipino origin. She says, “President Obama seems vague in his ideas. He keeps saying Romney doesn't give details, but actually he was talking in details.”
When asked about the dominant feeling in Filipino community about this election, Gamez explains that “more mature Filipinos understand what's going on because they can see the hardship that people are going through now, especially in the last four years. But I think that youth, we still have to educate them and open their eyes to reality of what's happening now.”
After the debate, most of the people are highly energized. Many exchange pleasantries and agree to meet for next week’s vice presidential debate. With a huge smile on her face, Coty de Castillo says: “it should be fun.”