The first debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump may not have brought the surge of excitement among voters that both leaders were looking for ahead of the November election.

The matchup saw the current president and his political rival exchange personal barbs as well as criticism over their legacies in the Oval Office. 

But some Democratic supporters showed concern over portions of 81-year-old Biden’s uneven performance, which included a raspy voice and rambling responses. 

At a watch party in South Philadelphia, Danina Moore was a bit uneasy after the debate but the Democrat says she’s hopeful people will see that it’s important to support Biden. 

At the same watch party, Republican George Williams says he thought Trump walked away the more competent and coherent debater. 

While Philadelphia is generally a Democratic stronghold, Pennsylvania has turned into a battleground state that could be important to win the presidency.

Trump took it in 2016 before it swung back to Biden in 2020.

Both leaders’ legacies were front and centre throughout the debate. Trump criticized Biden’s withdrawal of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Biden said when Trump left office, “things were in chaos.”

Experts have said that many Americans aren’t engaging with either the Democratic or Republican campaigns. A lot of would-be voters aren’t supportive of either candidate.

When asked about age during the debate, Biden pointed out that Trump is 78.

“This guy’s three years younger and a lot less competent,” Biden said. 

Trump, in response to a question about his age, pointed to the two cognitive tests he took, saying he “aced them” and called for Biden to take one.

Trump appeared energetic but not always accurate with his responses while Biden's jarring speech and missteps seemed more pronounced. 

There were gasps from Democratic supporters during the Thursday evening watch party when Biden lost his train of thought while trying to make a point about tax rates and the number of billionaires in America near the beginning of the debate.

Williams said nothing that was said would sway his opinion. He’s basing his decision on Trump’s first term as president.

“I’m already sold,” Williams said. 

Moore sighed when asked about the debate. But, she said that any parent should be afraid of a second Trump term. 

“If you got kids… you better vote for Biden,” she said. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2024. 

-- with files from The Associated Press