Government
5:38 am
Fri July 18, 2008

McCain Rouses Union Station Crowd

Kansas City, MO –
Missouri is a state where votes may count more. It's a fact recognized by the campaign of Republican Senator John McCain in his quest for the White House. KCUR'S Dan Verbeck followed a McCain appearance at Union Station.


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A political battle was in the mind of campaign strategists as hundreds streamed past the few bullet marks on the station facade left over from the lawless 1930's. The old north lobby waiting room was set up with risers and chairs on three sides. From the outset, it was clear the Senator had friends there.

John McCain: Congress today - which is doing nothing for you, nothing - should say today, we're going to lift the ban on off shore oil drilling exploration, and we're going to find that oil deposit, and we're going to reduce and eliminate our dependence on foreign oil.

Half the crowd was on its feet cheering. Roger Toomey drove from Creighton Missouri to see Senator McCain. He likes the dynamics of an event such as this.

Roger Toomey: People were very polite. They were, course this is the conservatives too, they didn't get really excited. There wasn't a lot of jumping up and down too much. There was standing up and down but there wasn't jumping up and down.

And it was contained in a polite sort of way. Toomey thinks the selling power of a candidate and their campaign has to reach some primal element to catch on.

Roger Toomey: Well, I know you've got to get people excited to get them to the polls and if you don't have people excited and get them to go out and talk to neighbors and things like that I think that's going be a problem for the campaign.

But there was excitement enough degree that Senator McCain couldn't just walk out of the station. He was besieged by well-wishers who wanted a handshake or a signature or a word or a photo with him. And he obliged them all.

Mark Anthony Jones had a conversation with KCUR's Elana Gordon. Says he's been an active Republican since 1980. But in the last 8 years he thinks the party's left him and he's hanging on. The patriot act worries him. He likes hearing from McCain that there's hundreds of billions going toward oil in other countries each year. And he's in the McCain camp for now:

Marc Anthony Jones: I did see enough differences today to know that I would support McCain over Obama, but I don't think we're asking the right questions yet

Roger Toomey's daughter Rhonda is along.

Rhonda Toomey: There were a lot of people that were, I think, on the fence and just seeing the difference between the two because Obama was here last week and we talked to several people who said they had talked to or seen him speak and were coming here also just to compare so I think its!!

Dan Verbeck: Do you think Senator McCain did himself some good here today?

Rhonda Toomey: Yeah...he answered some questions but he left some open as well that I didn't quite get the answer I was looking for. The immigration I didn't think I got a really good answer on the health care issue was a bit wobbly for me. He had talked about getting government out of it but then later he talked about adding government in for other like veterans and stuff. I support veterans' benefits but you can't take government out and put it in at the same time and end up anywhere I think so.

So one thing is certain, there remain undecided voters with questions to ask.