Local Politics

McCain, Obama backers prepare to party

Posted November 4, 2008 4:51 p.m. EST
Updated November 4, 2008 6:54 p.m. EST

As the final votes are cast in a close presidential election, supporters in both camps are optimisic about the outcome.

In Chicago, backers of Democrat Barack Obama – young and old – waited in line for hours to enter Grant Park for tonight's rally.

North Carolina resident Kristin Sissel explained her decision to join the crowd: "Whoever wins or loses, this is a historical event ... so I decided to be here."

Joe Musselman said, "I knew that today was going to be an epic event, not only for the City of Chicago, but for the Democratic party."

"This is the base of the Democratic party we haven't been able to motivate before," he said of his fellow young voters.

Forrest Nelson brought three generations of his family from Indiana for the rally.

"I should have been working today but I wanted to be with my sons and grandsons. I think Obama will be a real hero to this age group. We just wanted to be here to share this moment."

Terry McClain flew in from Seattle to attend the party, even though she doesn't have one of the highly-sought tickets to hear Obama speak. She pleaded with others in the crowd to help her out.

Chicago police said they expect millions on the streets Tuesday night in addition to the 70,000 ticket holders inside the park.

Republican John McCain will watch the election returns Tuesday night in Phoenix, surrounded by those who got him to this point, including N.C. Sen. Richard Burr.

"The media tried to write off John McCain in the primaries when he was fifth in a four-man race," Burr said Tuesday.

"Had they written his obituary then, they would've been upset tonight. I think John McCain is happy to leave it to the voters in America, and, as we've seen in the last 48 hours, the race has really gotten tight," he said.

McCain's planners said he will address a small crowd at about 10 p.m. local time (midnight EST).

Staffers said that while some tickets were made available to the public, space limitations at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa and the crush of media expected would limit those who would see the speech live to about 2,500.

In that select group is a graduate of the University of North Carolina. Charlie Adams has been on the campaign trail for two years. He joined the staff of Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson in 2006, right after graduation.

After Thompson's bid ended, Adams hopped on the Straight Talk Express. In nine months with McCain, he's shared laughs and made sacrifices.

"Your weekends are pretty much shot. The hours can be pretty tedious but it's a fun, fast-paced environment," Adams described.

"He's in the office from time to time, when he's in town," Adams said of the man at the top of the ticket. "He has a great sense of humor. I'm sure you've seen him on the late night TV shows."

Adams will be watching election results Tuesday night, to see what direction his career will take.

"We're looking forward to a very competitive night and it's going to be a long night, so it should be exciting," he said.