The Collegian
Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Live-Blog: 2008 presidential election screening in the Tyler Haynes Commons

12:14 a.m. -- Obama, in his acceptance speech, cast himself as a uniting president-elect. In telling the story of a 106-year-old voter, he was highlighting the endurance of the American spirit through the best of times, and the worst of times, in this country's history. At least 200 people are gathered here in the Commons watching his acceptance speech after McCain delivered a valiant speech, rallying his supporters to have faith in Obama and the American political system.

First-year student Stephanie Granderson, who was a citizen of the United States but whose parents were from Trinidad said: "You can't help but scream. My voice is already hoarse. When he first said he was running for president, I knew he was going to win."

America would not be the same if he hadn't won, she said. "It's so wild being in this time," she said, "to have voted for the first African-American president." Granderson was the first person in her family to vote in the United States.

Sophomore Amanda Kleintop, who sent her absentee ballot to Pennsylvania a month ago, had taken the day away from classes to canvass for Obama. Kleintop said she was inspired by Obama's message.

"Just look what he did to the electoral map," she said pointing to the number of blue states. "It's so much different from what we usually see."

Kleintop, who was a member of University of Richmond Students for Barack Obama, said she planned to stay involved with members of the campaign by doing community service.

Sophomore Amy Hennigner said: " I feel like I witnessed a milestone, to have taken part in something like this in my young life. To say that I participated in an election where we got our first black president is something I'm happy to be a part of."

Junior and McCain supporter Tim Patterson said the thought the failed economy contributed to McCain's loss.

"I don't think the Republicans really know what their values are, once conservative economically, socially and fiscally," he said. "A lot of Republicans are big spenders."

11 p.m. -- Democratic Sen. Barack Obama has been elected President of the United States, the first African-American to be chosen for the position. Students are cheering in jubilation.

10:15 p.m. -- Senior James Starr was a McCain supporter who registered to vote in Virginia.

"People have quoted McCain saying, 'The fundamentals of our economy are strong,'" he said, "but McCain's plan has been misunderstood. In the bailout plan, he specifically addressed helping people with bad mortgages, making sure they stayed in their homes. I don't think Obama specifically addressed that. And on national security, McCain does not represent anti-diplomacy. We are starting to win in Iraq."

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Sophomore Emily Dowd was an Obama supporter who registered to vote in Virginia. She voted at Westhampton Baptist Church this morning.

"I thought Obama used a lot more facts when explaining his plan for the economy," she said. "He used clear-cut lines by saying, 'I will cut taxes for those making under $250,000 per year.' He was honest. [McCain's] Palin pick was also a huge negative for me. I'm very concerned with America's image in the world, and I think Obama can help restore it. If this were a world election, he would win by a landslide."

9:30 p.m. -- Sophomore Chris McClain from Dallas, Texas, registered to vote in Virginia because he said his vote would have more weight. He was not happy about Obama getting Ohio, he said, because to win, McCain would have to get the swing states as well as the states he was predicted to win in the polls.

First-year student Lindsey Daniels sent her absentee ballot for McCain to Pennsylvania.

"I want the commander in chief, who is in charge of the military, to have been in the military," she said. However, Daniels said she thought Obama would win the election.

• Obama has won Ohio's 20 electoral votes.

9:10 p.m. -- Junior Matt Haase was an Obama supporter from Florida. He mailed in his absentee ballot at the end of September. He said the college-age generation would determine the direction the country was going in.

"I think that it's time for change," he said. "After what I've seen over the past eight years, I can't risk any sense of the same. The country is going to change and it's really exciting to be a part of all that."

The No. 1 issue he was concerned about, he said, was the economy. "The whole bailout package was supported by both parties at the time," he said. "As Election Day came nearer, there were a lot of people who were willing to point the finger and say, 'This is socialism.'"

Another criticism of Obama Haase wanted to address was the "spreading of wealth" comment.

"A lot of people said that [Obama] was a socialist," he said. "A lot of people at UR don't understand that meeting basic needs is not a guarantee. I think people in this country have a responsibility to those who make their lives possible. CEOs owe something to their employees who are working 60 hours per week. Obama, spread the wealth all you want."

When asked if Obama would win, Haase replied, "Yeah, if my state doesn't screw it up again."

8:40 p.m. -- Sophomore Sean Mohan was an Obama supporter. "It's looking good so far for Obama," he said, "but of course he was going to do well on the East Coast. I'm really just waiting for the polls in the Midwest to close.

Agathe Barous was an exchange student from France. "Of course I didn't vote because I'm from France," she said, "but if I had to vote I would have voted for Obama. The thing is, people don't know who McCain is in France. Our views are more in line with the Democratic party."

Charlie Wallace was an exchange student from England. "From an outsider's perspective, we see Republicans as kind of evil. But it's because of the last eight years. I think McCain is a step in the right direction for the Republican party. But to us, the Republicans start wars and run up debts."

8:18 p.m. -- I spent much of my day in the Hampton Roads area, specifically, Chesapeake, Va. -- the southeastern part of the state. The area is an interesting mix of young voters, minorities and military families. At Oscar F. Smith High School, lines grew as long as three and half hours after voting machines there malfunctioned early this morning. Lines were already long when I got there -- perhaps an hour and a half. --Dan Petty

* Obama has a total of 103 electoral votes, McCain has 34 electoral votes

7:50 p.m. -- Senior Justin Costello of South Carolina registered in Virginia because he said he knew his vote for Obama would have more weight here than in his home state. Costello has been to two Obama rallies -- one in Charlottesville and the other in Richmond two weeks ago. He was also a member of University of Richmond Students for Barack Obama.

He said the issue he was most concerned about was health care. Although he supported a more universal health care plan than what Obama was offering, he said he thought Obama was taking a better stance on the issue than McCain.

Foreign policy was also a concern of his. He said he thought Obama would change the United States' international image. Costello said he thought Obama would win, but he was nervous because he didn't want to trust the polls.

* McCain wins eight electoral votes in South Carolina.

7:35 p.m. -- Sophomore Iris Xie, an international student from China, could not vote because she was not a U.S. citizen. Still, she had been following the election closely as a political science major and was watching for the race's outcome in the Commons.

"I'm nervous because I really want Obama to win," she said. "His policies appeal to me." Though she said she thought the election had encouraged students on campus to become more politically involved, she admitted she was not impressed with student political involvement on campus overall.

Xie said she did not think McCain's policies were well-organized, and that she thought Obama was more committed.

7:20 p.m. -- Senior Brian Holcomb was a Barack Obama supporter. He voted at Westhampton Baptist Church at 6 a.m. today. "We were in line when the polls opened and we had to wait in line for about a half hour," he said. "I talked to a lady in front of me who said that she had never had to wait in line before, and that it was a better turnout than she had seen before."

First-year student Jamie Zunic was a Virginia resident and voted absentee. She was a McCain supporter. "I think he has better policies when it comes to handling the election," she said. "I don't like Obama's tax policy. It's fine to lower taxes on the middle class but it hurts the upper class and that's where the jobs are created." Zunic said she thought that Virginia would be close, and that she did not yet know who would win.

7 p.m. -- About 50 students gathered in the Tyler Haynes Commons to watch the 2008 presidential election on MSNBC.

First call:

* Obama wins three electoral votes in Vermont

* McCain wins eight electoral votes in Kentucky

Contact staff writers Kimberly Leonard and Dan Petty at kimberly.leonard@richmond.edu or dan.petty@richmond.edu

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