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April 23, 2008 - Joe Gorman
I felt the kid wearing the Iron Maiden shirt at the John McCain town hall meeting at YSU Tuesday should have been in the first row of seats in view of the television cameras, seeing that there were more blue jeans in the crowd of those behind the podium than when President Bush made a campaign stop at the Youngstown Air Force Reserve Base in 2004.
Maybe that would've added some spice or gusto to the event, which was pretty much as stale as it gets. After all, he had no tatoos and no body piercings, as least as far as I could notice, so he would've fit in perfectly well with a bunch of clean cut Republicans.
Forced to be there an hour before the scheduled start and then wait an extra hour and 15 minutes because the candidate was late, McCain's performance was not as engeretic as other campaign appearances I have witnessed this year.
One big question missing during the town hall debate was what he would do in Iraq. I did duck out for five minutes and return, so it could have been mentioned then, but I don't think it was. He spoke a little about terrorism in response to a question from the audience, but no one from the audience asked about it and he did not mention it during his remarks before he opened the floor for questions.
The crowd was younger and most first time voters I talked to said they were undecided as to who they would vote for in November, so they wanted to hear McCain say something to sway them. He didn't.
The only other memorable passage during the meeting was when McCain misspoke and said oil was at an all time high of $218 a barrell, instead of $118. There were several audible gasps and expletive deleteds uttered when he said that. He later corrected himself.
I later went to the ``presser' as they are termed in the media in the Ohio Room. Even though there was an almost criminal lack of free food and drink, McCain did a lot better in answering questions from the press, mostly the journalists who have been on the campaign with him.
I will say every candidate whose event I have covered makes lots of promises, but McCain made only one: He said he would not raise taxes and in fact would cut them. That is something you can take to the bank.
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