In New Hampshire, Torn Between
Democrats and Ties to Romney
MANCHESTER, N.H., -- Ask Elaine Boule about Republicans and she frowns. The manager of the Red Arrow diner in Manchester seems likely to vote Democratic this year.
But then mention Mitt Romney, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts who is running for president, and her face lights up. "Mitt Romney was there for my husband's family," she says, explaining that her husband's younger brother was killed in Iraq and that Romney, as governor, helped return his effects to the family. He even attended the funeral, she said. "There was no body to send back," she said. "Mitt Romney cut through the red tape. ... He did so much for the family that if I was gonna decide to go Republican this year, Mitt Romney would probably be the person I would vote for."
That's a much different response than Romney got when he actually visited the Red Arrow earlier this month and was confronted by waitress Michele Griffin. "What about our nation? How 'bout the USA? C'mon!" Griffin yelled at Romney, sparking a 10-minute argument about health care.
But despite her admiration for Romney, Boule said she's still leaning toward voting for a Democrat, largely because of health care, an issue that affects her personally. Boule has five children -- two of whom are still at home -- and no health insurance. She said she takes them to the doctor only when she absolutely has to. "You know what I mean, they really have to be sick," she said.
Boule worked for years at a company which provided good, cheap health insurance. But when she was laid off and took the job at the Red Arrow, that lifeline disappeared. She said buying insurance for herself, her husband and her two kids is more than she can afford.
"Thats a family plan and that's a good thousand dollars a month," she said. "And then you have your presecription costs and you have, you know, your doctors fees. I just cant afford to do that."
When one of her daughters recently had a toothache, she took her to a clinic and paid $60. The dentist wanted to do more, but she declined.
"Seriously, she needs to have some work done and I can't afford to do that," she said.
Who will remedy that situation?
Boule said "I'm still leaning towards Hillary [Clinton]," but added that "Geez, I'm feeling awful bad for Barack Obama...just because I think he's such a nice guy and he's smart and you know I think he's probably got a good chance at it, but you know, they keep telling him he's so inexperienced."
"I feel bad for the guy," she said.
--Michael D. Shear
Washington Post editors
August 27, 2007; 11:38 AM ET
Categories: A_Blog , The Diners
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