Saturday, September 15, 2007

Republican Debate

Having gone to several McCain events I was invited by his camp to attend last week’s Republican debate at UNH. Prior to the debate several candidates had their supporters cheering and carrying signs and shouting back and forth to each other on the college football field. Senator McCain’s supporters, however, were down the street having a beer. Supporters were encouraged to come to a local pub as the Senator planned to make an appearance prior to the debate. Having accidentally parked about as far away from the pub as humanly possible I was a bit late arriving and the place was full. I found a spot in the back off to the side where I could lean against a pool table and watch the video they were playing about the Senator, when I spotted someone familiar. I couldn’t figure how I knew this person. I was pretty sure it wasn’t work related. I was starting to wonder if he was the father of someone I either went to school with or played soccer with when I saw a flash bulb go off. Then I realized the Senator and his entourage had already entered the room. Finally, it dawned on me that it was Senator Lindsey Graham that I was convinced I knew.

At the debate I sat behind a row of guys supporting Ron Paul and the couple in front of them were McCain supporters. I had always thought when watching debates on TV that it was silly how candidate’s supporters applauded when their guy spoke. What I didn’t realize is that the atmosphere of a debate is similar to that of a sporting event where the crowd is excited for their candidate to score so they can cheer him on. The young men in front of me were very nice and very loud. The guys got a kick out of the couple in front of them, as the woman would elbow her husband if he applauded for anyone other than McCain. They asked her about it towards the end of the debate and she explained that he could applaud other candidates just not too loudly. What I have been pleasantly surprised by is that most primary events are very civil and courteous. National politics seem so nasty its nice to see that at least at the local level people still have manners.

It certainly was a good night for Senator McCain as he not only had a strong performance, but other candidates agreed with him and complimented him several times. My first impression was that Senator McCain had the strongest showings and Governor Huckabee did a good job too. Senator McCain showed his depth of knowledge and conviction on Iraq. When I got home and turned on the TV I was glad to see that others thought he was the winner too.

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