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By Baptiste Etchegaray

Photos: Melissa Bounoua & Charlotte Pudlowki

It’s not that often we hear from McCain supporters in Columbia, MO. The liberal island surrounded by an ocean of conservatives makes local Republicans’ daily lives quite tough. Yet they still resist and when their hero is coming in town for a quick visit (see stories below) they surely respond the invitation and feel happy to express, at last, their opinions.

Why do they support McCain (or do not support Obama)?

Experience” and “Military background” were as expected commonly cited. But surprisingly, the young Republican voters who attended the “Come-To-See-McCain-While-He-Leaves-The-Smokehouse BarBQ-To-Get-In-His-Car-Meeting” were more radical. They go for John McCain because they simply “need respect“. Respect? “Respect for the flag, for the country“. According to them indeed, Barack Obama does a very bad job by “not putting the hand on his heart” during national anthem and “no wearing national flag“. All in all, he “doesn’t like the country.”

Young voters Sadie Turnbull, Jessica Schlager and Cole Mendenhall

__________

Do they feel depressed because of bad polls for McCain?

Not at all! They are still very optimistic about the outcome of the election. And this for three reasons:

Karen Bell, Debbie Jones, Craig Chrisnan

i) It’s not over until the votes are actually counted (Karine Bell)

ii) Poll institutes are not trustworthy: They can just say they poll and actually make up the numbers. By the way “I’ve never been polled” and “I’m like: where do they get some?” (Debbie Jones)

iii) Obama’s being ahead in the polls is just because the people that are supporting him are mostly Black people and they go for him only because of his race (Craig Chrisnan)

“Tiger” posted a comment recently pointing out that, so far, rendezvoUS.08 had only covered the Democrats. “Tiger” is perfectly right and we apologize for this (temporary) unbalanced coverage. Of course, this webblog is not going to be only on the Democratic campaign. We will closely look at the Republicans as well. Otherwise the whole project would have no interest.

The thing is we just got in Columbia three weeks ago and it is obvious that the city is mostly liberal, Democratic staff being much more aggressive and successful in campaigning here than their Republican counterparts. From the crowded Watch Party at “The Blue Note” the night of Barack Obama’s acceptance speech to Howard Dean’s visit on campus last Saturday and Joe Biden’s coming tomorrow. The Democrats set up some significant political events in Columbia last days that we could’nt skip. We must admit there have not been equivalent events on the GOP side so far. Read More

By Charlotte Pudlowski

Yesterday evening, at the Blue Note bar, Obama's acceptance speech was broadcasted on a gigantic screen. In front of the bar, John Fry was smoking a cigarette.

Yesterday evening, at the Blue Note bar, Obama's acceptance speech was broadcasted on a gigantic screen. In front of the bar, John Fry, an Obama fan, was smoking a cigarette.

John Fry was born in South Indiana and is now setlled in Columbia Missouri. He claims to be 61 years old, and used to be an architect. When he talks about Obama, he becomes lively and lights up

John Fry was born in South Indiana and is now setlled in Columbia Missouri. He claims to be 61 years old, and used to be an architect. When he talks about Obama, he becomes lively and lights up.

"He was of the vermine type. He would have probably voted for John McCain".

The irony is that his father used to belong to the Ku Klux Klan. When you ask John Fry what his father says about his son voting for a Black candidate, he answers : "My father died in 1963, he doesn't get to talk anymore. I do." Then he adds : "He was of the vermine type, he would have probably voted for John McCain"

As for him, he is going to vote for Obama because he is "eloquent, talented and handsome". "I am tired of seeing ugly politicians", he says.

As for him, he is going to vote for Obama because he is "eloquent, talented and handsome" "Of course that counts! he explains. I am tired of seeing ugly politicians!"

Later in the evening, he was sitting in front of the huge screen, holding an "O" for Obama.

Later in the evening, he was sitting inside the bar, in front of the huge screen, holding an "O", for Obama.

By Baptiste Etchegaray

While we were waiting for Barack Obama to give his acceptance speech at the DNC closing night in Denver, Colorado, a handful of “real people” (meaning middle-class folks) was coming and going on the stage to support the Democratic nominee inside the crowded stadium. There was Roy Gross, a truck driver from Michigan, Monica Early, an insurance agent from Ohio, Janet Lynn Monaco, a local pet store owner from New York, and so on.

They all explained how good were their lives before the Bush administration took office and how the economy turned so bad during the 8-year-long Republican-led executive. Many of Roy Gross’ friends “have lost their jobs“, Pamela Cash-Roper’s American dream simply “turned into a nightmare” and according to Janet Lynn Monaco “Bush and McCain have done nothing to help people like [her]”. Barney Smith, who spent most of his life supporting the Republicans explained why this time his vote would go to the Democrats.

What struck me was the ease those folks were speaking with. They did not seem nervous at all, showed no stress talking before 80,000 people, had no hesitation, never mumbled. It was if they had done it hundreds of times before, though communicating was certainly not their main domain.

Obviously, speech coaches did a great job training those “real people”. Whether speeches were genuine or not is another matter. The “true stories” the audience was told yesterday were not spontaneous enough to be fully trusted. And it somehow undermined the initial goal.

“Real people” burst into in French politics too, at the occasion of the presidential election last year. They even sometimes replaced skilled reporters at interviewing candidates on political TV shows, sparking a huge controversy. The search for “real people” during campaigns is now becoming an important strategy in political spinning. Well, should we call them “real” or “fake real”… or even “real fake”?