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Cronkite News blogs from the GOP debate viewing party

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8:05 p.m.: Ron Paul supporters: Ron Paul won

Things are breaking up at the viewing party outside the Mesa Arts Center, and those most interested in sharing their opinions are Ron Paul supporters. Their take, not surprisingly, is that Paul won the debate.

“He was good,” said Cary Rumley of Mesa, shown above. “One thing I liked about him is he stayed true to the Constitution.”

Brenden Dilley of Gilbert said he noticed some sympatico between supporters of Paul and Mitt Romney, with supporters of one candidate often applauding the other’s points.

Would he like to see them share the GOP ticket in November?

“Absolutely not,” Dilley said.

– Jordan Moon and Jessica Testa

7:42 p.m.: Eager to share his opinions – over and over

The demonstrator arguably having the biggest impact, at least on people’s eardrums, is George Cliffton of Scottsdale. He’s out in favor of the Dream Act.

He’s roaming “the bullpen,” an area reserved for demonstrators, shouting things like “Same old, same old!” in response to candidates’ answers to various questions.

“It’s the same old thing we’ve had for four years,” he said. “It’s always going to be the same thing.”

Cliffton says he served in the Marine Corps and worked for the Central Intelligence Agency.

– Jordan Moon

7:27 p.m.: The view from the cheap seats

– Jessica Testa

7:21 p.m.: Dream Act protesters target Romney

Several dozen demonstrators outside the Mesa Arts Center are chanting, “Veto Romney, not the Dream Act.”

“I’m protesting here because Governor Romney said if he were president he would veto the Dream Act,” said Carmen Cornejo of Chandler, shown in the picture.

– Jordan Moon

7:14 p.m.: Move over, Ron Paul

One of the biggest cheers of the night outside the Mesa Arts Center was when debate moderator John King of CNN referred to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Another big cheer erupted when Mitt Romney promised to drop the federal government’s lawsuit against Arizona over SB 1070. A small group of Latino students booed, drawing shouts of “shut up” from others.

– Jessica Testa and Jordan Moon

7:09 p.m.: The view on the street

– Jessica Testa

7:04 p.m.: Ron Paul: Still leading in audience cheers

The crowd outside the Mesa Arts Center, with many families and children, cheered when Ron Paul said Planned Parenthood shouldn’t get any money. “Tear them apart, Ron!” one man shouts.

– Jessica Testa

6:59 p.m.: A bittersweet moment for one audience member

Jeffrey Victorian of Mesa isn’t sure who he’s voting for next Tuesday, though he’s leaning toward Newt Gingrich. But he has made one decision: He’s going to miss the debates.

“I’ve been calling this the season finale,” he said.

Victorian said he gets frustrated when the candidates attack each other, though he understands why they do it. Overall, however, he considers the exercise worthwhile, especially when he looks at the crowd outside the Mesa Arts Center.

“It’s so exciting to be here and see everyone coming out,” he said. “It’s democracy in action.”

– Jessica Testa

6:52 p.m.: And now, a word from Romney supporters

Dan Woolston, Cody Kesler and Garrett Green of Phoenix say Mitt Romney is clearly winning the debate. But consider the source: They’re Romney supporters.

“If you look at Mitt Romey compared to all the other candidates, they are agreeing to pretty much everything he is saying,” Woolston said. “Hopefully Mitt can keep this up.

Green said Romney’s business experience showed when he said the government should have demanded a managed bankruptcy from the auto industry rather than providing a bailout.

Kesler got a laugh out of Romney’s sparring with Gingrich early on.

“It’s funny to see how much the aggression toward each other has been progressing during the campaign,” he said.

– Jordan Moon

6:30 p.m.: Early crowd favorite, and first boo

Ron Paul is the clear crowd favorite early in the debate, drawing lots of cheers from the crowd outside Mesa Arts Center for his jabs at Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

The first boos of the night come were for Romney, who brought up illegal immigration. A small group of Dream Act supporters start yelling, “No!”

– Jessica Testa

6:14 p.m.: Milestone No. 1 of 645

And the first cheer of the night goes to – drumroll, please – candidates pledging to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law. More importantly, the sun continues to set, and the crowd at the viewing party can make out what’s on the screen.

– Jessica Testa

6:12p.m.: Oh say, can you see???

The setting sun beating on the screen makes it difficult for the audience to see events from inside the Mesa Arts Center.

– Jessica Testa

6:07 p.m.: Starting things off

Those attending the debate viewing party outside the Mesa Arts Center say the pledge of allegiance.

– Jordan Moon

6:05 p.m.: The early bullpen leader: Ron Paul

So far, Ron Paul has the most support in what officials call “the bullpen,” an area reserved for demonstrators.

– Jessica Testa

6:02 p.m.: Supporting their candidate

Hannah Sheu, right, and Matt Martin or Peoria turned out to support Ron Paul. Said Martin, “I think it’s awesome how awesome how many supporters are here for Ron Paul. Our only hope for the future is with Ron Paul.”

– Jordan Moon

5:58 p.m.: Crowd control

There is a designated “free speech” zone where protesters are gathering. If a protester moves onto the sidewalk, officers tell them to move.

– Jessica Testa

5:48 p.m.: Buttons — only $5 apiece

Jim Hunt of Tucson sells these political buttons at events around Arizona. He says he has 16 variations for each candidate. “I’ll vote for a trashcan if it beats Obama,” he said. ” I like a little about every candidate, but I don’t like everything about anyone.”

– Jessica Testa

5:28 p.m.: Demonstrating for women’s rights

Chimene Hawes of Phoenix, center, demonstrating with the National Organization of Women. “Republicans have better things to do, like find me a job, than make up laws about my womb,” she said.

– Jessica Testa

5:26 p.m.: Dream Act protesters

– Jessica Testa

4:56 p.m.: And we’re off …

Main Street next to the Mesa Arts Center is closed to traffic and is beginning to fill with those here to see the debate in person or at the official viewing party outside. Stay with us for updates as the evening goes on.

– Jordan Moon