SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden took the debate stage Tuesday night, sitting in the very front row was Kristin Urquiza, the San Francisco woman who blames the president for her father's death to COVID-19.
Urquiza, who spoke at the Democratic National Convention earlier this year, attended the event as a guest of the Biden's. She said the chaotic debate was no easier to watch in person than it was for those of us watching on TV.
"It was headache inducing, and I had a stomach ache for a big chunk of it," Urquiza said. "Not only were the harshness of the president's words grading on me, but I had a picture with me of my dad, that I kept looking down at."
Urquiza, whose father was a lifelong Republican from Arizona, said the photo helped her to "stay centered" as to why she was there. "I just kept on looking down at that and up at the president and feeling such betrayal and such pain because dad trusted that man," she added.
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Watching from home was John Dennis, the chairman of the San Francisco Republican Party and a longtime supporter of Trump. He also lost his dad to the coronavirus, but unlike Urquiza, he does not blame the President for his death.
"Oh, God no," Dennis said. "I think we give these politicians so much more credit for what they are capable, and what they can do."
Dennis believes the president came out of the gate strong at the debate by rattling Biden, but that his strategy to interrupt his challenger and moderator Chris Wallace may have gone too far.
"I'd sit back and give Joe Biden a little more rope. Let him go on. Don't interrupt him, let him just got on for a little while," Dennis said, when asked what advice he'd given President Trump for the next debate. "And then punctuate it with your comments after he's done."
For Urquiza, back home now in San Francisco, there was one moment none of us saw that she will remember most. It happened as Biden spoke about the thousands of people who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 and now have an empty seat at the dining room table.
"In that moment, I took a deep breath in, and Dr. Biden noticed it and just leaned over and gently touched my shoulder," she said, "And it was exactly what I needed to have at that moment, to be seen in that way."