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At the Red Arrow, a Journey from the GOP to Obama

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By Ed O'Keefe
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- The Trail readers who followed this page during the presidential primaries may recall the story of Elaine Boule, the manager of the Red Arrow Diner, one of this heavy-contested city's most popular eating establishments. Several candidates stopped by the boxcar-sized diner in search of votes last year, including Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, Rudy Giuliani, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson and Mitt Romney.

Boule emerged as a central character in The Post's "At the Diners" series, as she told The Trail about her brother-in-law who died during the Iraq war and about her decision to not pay into the Red Arrow's employee health care plan because of the high costs. The registered Republican also publicly wooed Clinton, who eventually visited the diner and won Boule's vote in the January primary.

Ten months later, following Clinton's loss, with an improving situation in Iraq and a worsening economic climate, Boule says it took her until the last presidential debate to decide between Obama and John McCain.

"I settled on Barack Obama," Boule says.

"Back in January, when I originally voted for Hillary, my main issue was the war. I was concentrating more on the war than anything else. Now I think the economy is more what I'm thinking about," she says. She couldn't help but notice that Obama's presence on stage during the debates also made him appear more presidential than McCain.

"John McCain is a little too wishy-washy. I understand that he was in the service and he's a war hero, and he's very good about what's going to go on with the war. I appreciate his service. I don't think he'll make the next best president," she says.

The arc of Boule's political thinking in the last year, from her concerns about the Iraq war and paying for health care to her uncertainty about the economy, seems to mirror the thinking of voters nationwide. Polls show that the economy began to trump the Iraq war as the main issue of concern earlier this year.

Boule is still a registered Republican and, if John McCain loses, she's not sure which Republicans should run for president in 2012.

"I guess it's going to depend on how well Barack Obama does. I wish him well. I think this is a really bad time for somebody to become our next president. Because I think that whoever becomes president, they're going to have a tough time. You can't please everybody. Everybody's not going to be happy. There are going to be things that he does that won't make me happy," she says.

By Web Politics Editor  |  October 21, 2008; 11:54 AM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Battlegrounds , Hillary Rodham Clinton , John McCain  
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Next: The Republican Party's Identity Crisis

Comments

She is saying the economy is why she is voting for Obama! Let's see it was his party in the Clinton administration that changed the loan requirements to allow low income people to own homes. It is the Democratic party that time after time led us deeper and deeper into the sub-prime mess. It was her candidate that helped Acorn win a lawsuit against Citibank for not having enough sub-prime loans. This is the man that wants to move us toward a "single payer" (Read Socialized) healthcare system when the government gets to decide side who gets what procedures or what medicine, where the wait in emergency rooms is 3 days or more. This is the candidate that wants to tax our corporations with out thinking that the cost of doing business (including Taxes) is always added to final cost of goods or services so we will all pay that tax! Tax on the rich (why hate them for being successful) and when the best and the brightest figure out that being successful doesn't pay off what will they decide to do. Maybe take the widget factory some where else. States know to court a developer or major employer they need to over incentives including reasonable taxes. If she decides to leave the Red Arrow to her family, how much of the Red Arrow did the government earn, believe me they will collect the death taxes owed. She may not see it coming but a vote for Obama means higher taxes. Periods of higher taxes means fewer jobs and more people fall into the low income brackets and need the government assistance, but the assistance is always not enough to ever get ahead and the tax and spend party is hoping we never wise up and realize that it was their doing that got us in that situation to begin with.

Posted by: pjmyers55 | October 21, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

That's right, I forgot. Only "racists" like me (born and raised in Maryland) will be voting for McCain.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 21, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

You had your story about the lone Democrat voting for MKKKAIN....The Lady de Rothidiot whatever her name is...WHY WOULD A DEMOCRAT BE STUPID ENOUGH TO VOTE FOR 4 MORE YEARS OF THIS BUSH IT ECOMONY, WACKADOODLE RACISTS WHO SHOOT BABY BEARS IN THE HEAD (THIS STORY HAS MADE IT ALL THE WAY TO EUROPE, BUT STILL NOTHING ON THE MSM) AN OLD SOUTH MENTALITY WHOSE KOOL AID DRINKERS BEAT UP CANVASSERS...ETC ETC...ITS THE GOPERS WHO HAVE THE LOCKDOWN ON STUPIDITY AND DO NOT FORGET IT!!!! SO YOU WILL NOT BE SEEING STORIES ABOUT DEMS FOR MCCAIN BECAUSE THEIR ARENT ANY!!!!

WAKE UP AMERICANS; THE ONLY TERRORISTS IN THIS RACE ARE THE REPUBLIKKKLANS!!!!

Posted by: Beka13 | October 21, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

thecannula, you're pretending to be that credulous, right?

Posted by: zukermand | October 21, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

As is obvious, from the "_" underscore.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 21, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Once again, "MarkinAustin" at 12:05P is not I and I am not he.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 21, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

FROM TODAY'S FORBES-
AN ACTUAL COLLEAGUE OF OBAMA (I THOUGHT THEY WERE ALL UNDER LOCK AND KEY UNTIL NOV 5TH!) TELLS US WHY NOT TO VOTE FOR OBAMA

"...And third, he is in favor of progressive individual taxes and high corporate taxes. It is as though the U.S. does not have to compete for labor and capital in global markets. My fear is that with his strong egalitarian bent, he has not internalized the lesson that high rates do not offset declining revenues.

Thus, even before we get to the added bells and whistles of the modern welfare state--windfall profits taxes, ethanol subsidies, health care--an Obama administration could lock us into a downward spiral by ignoring the simple fundamentals of sound governance."

Richard Epstein writes a weekly column for Forbes.com. He is a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution and a professor of law at the University of Chicago, visiting this fall at the New York University School of Law.

...as I was saying...

Posted by: thecannula | October 21, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

All these "conflicted" Republican stories are fascinating. Now that the Washington Post has ENDORSED Obama, I guess we won't see any stories on Democrats voting for McCain, right?

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 21, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

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