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GSU GOP chief praises Obama
All agree: Big changes needed
GSU student Jeffrey Allen celebrates Barack Obama's election victory shortly after midnight Wednesday at the intersection of Chandler Road and Lanier Drive. Allen was one of a large group of revelers out celebrating, cheering and waving Obama t-shirts at passing cars that honked their support.` - photo by JAKE HALLMAN/Staff
    While counting votes was somewhat anticlimactic for the presidential election of 2008, the results were pretty astounding — the United States is about to inaugurate its first black president. The Republican Party even boasted a woman vice-presidential candidate. Republican, Democrat, or otherwise, no one can ignore that this election will go down in textbooks as one of country’s most significant.
    “Basically, our history is changing today,” said Ashley London, president of the Young Democrats of Georgia Southern University. “I think people are ready for a change.”
    With 52 percent of the popular vote and 349 electoral votes, it was clear that a majority of the American people favored the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, this year.
    “It wasn’t really unexpected that Obama won going into it,” said Greg Johnson, president of the College Republicans at Georgia Southern. “It was pretty much an uphill battle for McCain all the way, considering he’s (been) associated with the Bush administration for the last 8 years.”
    Since 2000, the presidency has belonged to the Republican Party under George W. Bush. Bush’s ever-dwindling approval rating is a testimony to Americans’ attitudes towards the state of the nation. Johnson attributes John McCain’s loss to his association with the Bush administration over the last eight years — an association that Johnson contends was exaggerated by the media.
    “As far as any kind of candidate goes, I think that John McCain was probably the best candidate for the Republican Party,” said Johnson. “He did the best that any Republican could do, considering he’s one of the most moderate Republicans in the Senate right now.”  
    Change, perhaps the most prominent slogan of Obama’s campaign, is something that members of both major parties can agree on.
    “There are a lot of things that need changing,” said Johnson, “and I actually agree with (Obama) on a lot of things.”
    Johnson mainly supported McCain’s stance on the economy and the war in Iraq. London is dedicated to her political party, and supported both Sen. Hillary Clinton and Obama. According to London, it was his stance on key issues and Obama’s speaking skills that gave him an edge over the other candidates.
    “One thing that gets me about Obama,” said London. “I call him an inspirational speaker. He inspires a lot of people.”
    “Vote for Change,” part of Obama’s campaign, was a nationwide voter registration drive that began in May. London worked with the Young Democrats to register voters locally, as well.
    While she believes that the election was overall fairly conducted, there were still problems. Volunteers took completed registration forms directly to the Bulloch County Courthouse. On Election Day, however, some of those voters found that they were not registered.
    After past problems during the presidential election (see the 2000 election), the glitches this year were minor, and London is pleased that Obama won the popular vote. London sees the victory as a sign that minorities are starting to gain more opportunity in society.
     “I think it will unite a lot more people and a lot more people will be open to other things now,” said London. “I think he stands for all people, not just whatever race you are.”
    Johnson, while recognizing that Obama will need lots of support to implement the changes he has promised, is also looking forward to the next four years and a new era in American politics.
    “I think it’s great that we’ve finally reached a point in time when we can move past the fact of somebody’s ethnicity and look at their values,” said Johnson.
    “I’m really proud that the country’s moved in a direction where they can look past this fact. I’m actually kind of excited that we’re now going to have the first black president.

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