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Unity Excited About Obama and Clinton

By Ed O'Keefe
Residents of Unity, N.H. expect more from Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on Friday than just a demonstration of . . . unity. They also want to hear about gas prices.

"Most of our people work out of town, and I think it's quite an issue," said Willard Hathaway, chairman of Unity's Board of Selectmen. Indeed, 83 percent of Unity's residents drive out of town to work, with an average 27-minute commute, according to state statistics. Granite State residents pay an average price of $4.02 for a gallon of regular unleaded gas, according to the American Automobile Association.

"I guess we're kind of a hilltop farm country. We have about 600 dwellings in our town. We have small businesses in Unity. We have people commuting in to Lebanon and Keene, and various other towns," Hathaway said.

The symbolism behind Friday's appearance in Unity is obvious, considering the town's name, and the fact that both Clinton and Obama each won the votes of 107 town residents.

"I just couldn't believe it when first I heard that there was going to be an event with Senator Obama, and then I heard that Senator Clinton was coming as well. It was hard for us to believe it," Hathaway said.

The town has been told to expect approximately 2,500 people to attend the joint rally on Friday at the Unity Elementary School, according to Hathaway, who serves as the town's de facto leader in his role as chairman of the Board of Selectmen. He's lived in Unity for 21 years and cannot recall any visits by a presidential candidate, in a state accustomed to its fair share of political pilgrimages.

Hathaway is a registered Republican, but said he will attend Friday's event.

"I think it's a great thing for Unity, and I think it's just wonderful to see the candidate who very possibly could be President of the United States."

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 24, 2008; 2:17 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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