Columbia McCain supporters meet to watch convention speech

Thursday, September 4, 2008 | 11:57 p.m. CDT; updated 12:16 a.m. CDT, Friday, September 5, 2008
James Gray, a manager at Boone Tavern, watches John McCain during his presidential nomination acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, shown at a watch party in Columbia. "I'm neutral. I love everybody, " Gray said of his campaign following.

COLUMBIA - When Trish Hooper, 44, received an e-mail from the McCain Nation asking supporters to organize watch parties on the final night of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., she agreed right away.

"I've never done anything like this before, and I felt it was for a good cause," Hooper said. "I was raised on strong family moral values, and I feel his values match mine and the way I was raised. I want that for my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren that are to come."


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Hooper hosted her party at Boone Tavern on Thursday and publicized it on the McCain Nation Web site. While she was the party's only attendee, she had competition.

Another watch party hosted by the Missouri Republican Party was held at the Columbia Victory Office. Johnathan Ratliff, president of the Mizzou College Republicans, said about 25 to 30 people came to watch the convention throughout the night.

While Hooper had two people commit to her party on the Web site, they did not come to watch John McCain accept his party's presidential nomination.

"Maybe they were busy. I don't know. It's the middle of the week," Hooper said.

Even though not everyone at Boone Tavern came for Hooper's party, most were watching the speech, which was shown on four TV sets.

Emily Elliott, 19, another Republican said she did not come for the watch party, but she liked McCain and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

"He has the most experience, and at a time like this, it's much needed," Elliott said.

Hooper said she felt positive about McCain's speech, which hit on the issues most important to her, oil drilling, the economy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"He said ‘We will drill now,'" Hooper said during McCain's speech. "I like that, we need to."

Hooper was also impressed with McCain's ability to recognize the strengths of his opponent.

"My favorite part was the part about reaching across party lines - we should all work together," she said. "At least he had the decency to give Obama some credit."

Despite the low turnout, Hooper remained optimistic about McCain's chances in November.

"I think they picked up a lot of undecideds, and I think they're going to pick up even more," Hooper said. "He's got the capability of reaching across party lines."



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