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Kelly Nuxoll
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A freelance writer living in Washington, DC, I have an MFA in creative
nonfiction: reported, first-person pieces are what I do. I'm the eyes
and ears for all the people who aren't in the room, and I try to
convey both the substance of what happens and also the mood, the
setting, my own reaction and those of the people around me. These, the
devices of fiction, are important in making a scene come alive. But
they are especially critical in describing a presidential campaign,
which can be sanitized by sound bites or spun into fluff. As citizens in a democracy, we need all the information we can
get about the candidates and the apparatus that surrounds them, and
creative nonfiction offers a lens that is colored by voice, tone, and
critical intelligence.

Blog Entries by Kelly Nuxoll

World Refugee Day: After Fleeing Persecution At Home, Asylum Seekers Face Prison-Like Conditions In U.S.

Posted June 20, 2009 | 13:21:15 (EST)

In the dim light Jean-Pierre could make out his name on the guard's list. He was second in line to be killed.

"Welcome to your last day," the guard said.

Jean-Pierre expected to die. For the past few months, plainclothes policemen had been showing up at his house, asking his...

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One Congolese Woman Uses Radio As A Weapon Against Rape

Posted March 20, 2009 | 15:43:07 (EST)

As newspapers crumble in the United States, radio is flourishing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It's not a tactic to keep the media in business, however; it's a weapon, and women are the unlikely ones wielding it.

Chouchou Namegabe Nabintu, a round-faced, bright-eyed young woman, founded the...

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Obama's Crowds Made the Difference

Posted November 6, 2008 | 19:10:07 (EST)

The reason I voted for Obama had little to do with the candidate and everything to do with the crowd.

The first rally I attended was in San Francisco, in the summer of 2007. I was skeptical about Obama. He seemed to be the product of an unholy union between...

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North Carolina Election Day Notebook: Two Sides of the Track

Posted November 4, 2008 | 16:29:40 (EST)

BUTNER, N.C. -- Durham is bleeding so blue for Obama that I finally had to get out of town to get some perspective.

(Even the children at the Kids Voting table were in the tank. Amir, 8, Kavitha, 8, and Jemma, 8-and-a-half, all said they'd vote for Obama.)

...
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NC: Early Voting Changes Culture of Election Day

Posted November 4, 2008 | 15:56:09 (EST)

NORTH CAROLINA--The effects of early voting can be seen at the polls in central North Carolina: the polls I visited this afternoon have had no lines, and the insides of the school gyms look cavernous and empty. Forty, fifty, up to seventy percent of registered voters in some counties have...

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Election Day Mishaps Bumming Durham Republicans

Posted November 4, 2008 | 10:42:04 (EST)

DURHAM, NC--It's raining in Durham, which tends to mean bad news for Democrats, but Republicans in this county look to be having a rougher start to Election Day.

The McCain office, which admitted it had been having trouble recruiting volunteers the last few months, had depended on a last-minute surge...

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NC GOP Voters: Who Are These People?

Posted November 3, 2008 | 10:53:57 (EST)

RALEIGH, N.C. -- With North Carolina in a dead heat, Republicans are demanding to be heard.

On Saturday, Sarah Palin delivered her final rally here to a crowd so large that the line snaked back and forth across the fair grounds, although only a few thousand were able to get...

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North Carolina Extends Early Voting Hours; What Will Happen Nationwide?

Posted November 2, 2008 | 15:46:49 (EST)

DURHAM, NC--In North Carolina, extending poll hours for early voting has raised questions that might presage an inconclusive national election. In the words of one legal scholar, "we could create a similar situation as Bush v. Gore without a single hanging chad."

The essential question is who has authority...

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First-Time North Carolina Voters Confused By Straight-Ticket Ballots

Posted November 2, 2008 | 11:28:59 (EST)

In North Carolina, where voters can register and cast their ballots on the same day during early voting, Obama volunteers have been bringing first-time voters to the polls all week. For some, the experience is as nervous-making as it is thrilling.

Hope, 18, her ex-boyfriend Amel, and his cousin...

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Michelle Obama Rallies and Reassures Influential North Carolina Baptists

Posted October 30, 2008 | 14:06:06 (EST)

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- While her husband rallied more than 10,000 people sixty miles away in Raleigh, Michelle Obama swooped into Fayetteville on Wednesday to address the General Baptist State Convention. It was an invitation-only affair, with only about 500 people in attendance -- a seemingly modest event given that the...

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Libertarian Barr Stumps in N.C.: Palin an Example of the Arrogance of Mainstream Politics

Posted October 29, 2008 | 21:43:43 (EST)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --Bob Barr's campaign for president would be funny if it weren't so serious.

Whereas McCain rallies draw thousands, and Obama rallies tens of thousands, the Libertarian candidate spoke last night to about 100 people in a UNC classroom. The board had just been erased,...

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McCain Camp Waging Ground War Under the Surface Out of Sight

Posted October 27, 2008 | 17:27:49 (EST)

Something strange has been going on here in North Carolina. In Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Pittsburgh, Johnstown -- and now here in Durham, Franklinton, Asheville -- the McCain ground game has gone missing. (In Arizona, Dawn Tao reports on the same.)

McCain organizers do not stand in the...

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Early Voting Numbers Climb In N.C., Mostly the Work of Obama Volunteers

Posted October 27, 2008 | 11:55:11 (EST)

DURHAM, N.C. -- On a drizzly Saturday outside Durham, almost 1300 residents waited for ten to forty-five minutes outside Southwest Elementary School to cast their ballots. Voters came and went leisurely, many making a stop at the polls part of their weekend errands. One woman had jogged over and bounced...

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PA Steel Town Undecideds Torn: Hardpressed But Wary of Government Assistance

Posted October 22, 2008 | 13:54:11 (EST)

JOHNSTOWN, PA-- Since a supporter at a Palin rally here waved a stuffed monkey with an Obama headband, and the county's own congressman declared "There is no question that western Pennsylvania is a racist area," Johnstown, PA has become a symbol for the simmering racism that is coming to a...

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On the Stump in Pa., McCain's Main Issue Is Obama

Posted October 9, 2008 | 20:23:21 (EST)

With 21 electoral votes and a swing-able population, Pennsylvania sits in the middle of the map like a big, juicy plum. Obama and McCain would each like it to fall on his side in November, obviously, and both have stepped up operations there in the final few weeks of the...

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Palin's Sentences Lack Transparency And Accountability

Posted October 3, 2008 | 14:03:25 (EST)

Of all the things one might observe about last night's VP debate, the most striking to me was the total breakdown of language. When Sarah Palin told the moderator and her opponent that she didn't intend to answer their questions, she meant it on such a deep, structural level that...

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During Bailout Vote, Senate Chamber Acts as Weighty Campaign Space

Posted October 2, 2008 | 11:39:31 (EST)

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Senate, which voted on Wednesday night to pass what they're calling the financial relief bill, was a very different scene than the House on Monday. There, the representatives gave passionate, often partisan two-minute speeches to an increasingly crowded audience, and during the roll call vote, the...

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Main Street Responses To The Non-Bailout

Posted September 29, 2008 | 17:16:38 (EST)

WASHINGTON, DC -- Sitting in the House gallery during the bailout bill deliberations was a little like sitting in a Roman coliseum -- there was blood, there was drama, it wasn't clear who the public wanted to win, and the whole scene was backlit by the sense of a beleaguered...

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Overseas Voters Could Be a Factor

Posted September 18, 2008 | 09:47:39 (EST)

If the election is as close at it seems like it might be, the more-than 6 million American voters who live overseas could be a factor this year. They're not only spread out in countries around the world, but also cast votes in states across the U.S., which means they...

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Candidates Talk About Service, But Not Together

Posted September 13, 2008 | 11:22:50 (EST)

On September 11, McCain and Obama both spoke at Columbia University on national service--although not together, and after a day on which they'd agreed not to air TV ads or campaign against one another. It does not speak well of the campaigns that suspending them is an act of patriotic...

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