PETERBOROUGH, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Yesterday's McCain town hall pulled in 1,000 attendees and turned away 200 other supporters at an overcrowded event , according to reports. In a year when more voters than ever are coming out and McCain's new rebound in the polls, it's not surprising; what was somewhat surprising were the young people who numbered among them. Though Obama is the candidate who again and again is credited with inspiring young people to vote, McCain's Straight Talk Express has picked up a few young passengers along the way.
"I supported John McCain when he ran for president in 2000," said supporter Danny Mazza, 25, who traveled from the Senator's home state of Arizona. "I was only 16 at the time but I was a volunteer. This is a do-over." Mazza was at the event with three other young supporters — Shane Davis, 19, from Syracuse, Utah; Drew White, 22 from Auburn, Albama; and Caroline Wren, 21, also from Auburn. Why had this particular youth vote had come so far for the sake of a 75-year old man?
"How long have you got?" asked Davis, the youngest — and bounciest — member of the gang. "He has 25 years of fighting wasteful spending, corruption and special interests in Washington," he said. (Davis, 19, is trusting the record on those other four years.) "His integrity is unmatched between all the candidates."
The third member of the trio, 22-year old Drew White from Auburn University in Alabama, has a particular reason for supporting McCain: "I am a McCain guy because I am joining the military, and he is by far the most qualified to be Commander-in Chief," he said. "That's what we need right now."
White said that Wren, a fellow Auburn student from Austin, Texas, had previously been a Thompson supporter before switching to McCain. Wren, meanwhile, was inside the event, having eked in after exclaiming "Oh please, I flew in from Alabama for this!" (Somehow, it was enough and with a squeal, sh and her McCain placard were inside.)
White, the soon-to-be military man, said that McCain was popular amongst College Republicans. "His reputation precedes him in a way that benefits us greatly with our allies abroad," he said. "He commands respect from his opponents and his supporters — which is someone I can look up to and, I believe, that is why he can unify the country." Chimed in the 19-year-old Davis: "Johnny Mac is our man!"
Photo by Rachel Sklar