Landstuhl students rock their own vote
LANDSTUHL, Germany — Early returns from Tuesday’s presidential election have Sen. John McCain winning in a landslide.
At least that’s how the votes shook out in one Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe classroom.
Sharon Emerling’s fifth-grade class at Landstuhl Elementary/Middle School took part in a schoolwide mock election. The Republican candidate, McCain, got 15 votes while Democratic Sen. Barack Obama received only two.
Eleven-year-old fifth-graders Colin Flaherty and Krista Burton cast ballots for McCain.
"I think McCain is a good leader from his time in a POW camp and is good at getting out of tight situations," said Colin. "I also don’t think that Obama is good at making decisions because his vote in the Senate was ‘present’ most of the time."
The roughly 700 students at the Landstuhl school were set to vote in Tuesday’s mock election — the results of which are to be announced Wednesday.
But before the students voted, they heard from the candidates.
In two assemblies, Landstuhl students acted as the presidential and vice presidential candidates from both parties and their respective spouses. First- through fifth-graders gathered for one assembly, and sixth- through eighth-graders gathered for the second.
"This election is probably the most historical our country’s ever had, and I think that someday you will sit back and think of where you were when this campaign took place," said Jerry Pink, a social studies teacher and coordinator for the event.
In the first assembly, sixth-grader John Lawson played the part of Todd Palin, husband of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Republican vice presidential nominee.
"My wife is not only beautiful, but she is a born leader," John said. "She has been on the city council and served as mayor before becoming governor."
Brian Cavanaugh, 12, outlined McCain’s stance on the issues when he addressed the assembly as the GOP presidential candidate. Brian took the microphone while the kids shouted "John" repeatedly.
"I will have a plan to make the United States more energy-efficient," he said. "I believe that Iraq needs us, so I say we stay until we have a proper government [in place]."
When Christian Barfield, 11, stood at the podium, he was greeted by chants of "Obama."
"You will be taking part in an important and historical election," Christian said. "As the first person of color to serve as president, I will be president to all people."
But even the student who played Sarah Palin thinks the Democratic ticket will win. Sounding more like a TV political pundit than a sixth-grader, Kristi Carrigan offered her prediction.
"I think that Barack Obama’s going to win because that’s what all the polls are showing usually around the board — Fox, CNN, ABC, all over," Kristi said.
"I know the Bradley effect with the polls might happen, but I still think Obama’s going to win," she said, referring to the discrepancy between whom voters say they vote for as opposed to whom they really vote for when a minority candidate is on the ballot.
"I think he did a really good job the past 21 months."