Page last updated at 18:11 GMT, Friday, 22 August 2008 19:11 UK

Voters' Views: Mary O'Neil

Democrats are gathering for their party convention in Denver, Colorado as the election campaign shifts up a gear.

Here eight Democratic voters from across the US look ahead to the convention and reflect on the state of the party and their candidate Barack Obama.

Mary O'Neil Training manager | Democrat

Obama represents the ultimate American story

Mary O'Neil
Age: 50
Lives: Denver, Colorado
Occupation: Training manager
Last election voted:
In 10 words or less: Forward-looking, seeking balance, life-long learner, passionate volunteer

"I hope the convention will bring the party together and kick start a landslide victory for Barack Obama.

We need to put the conservatives to rest in order to take a positive position on the war in Iraq, the economy, healthcare, education and our relationship with the international community.

When I was younger, I lived for the day when a woman would be the party's nominee and ultimately president.

Hillary Clinton was not the right person. This was a sad realisation for me.

But after the Iowa caucus, when I realised that Barack Obama actually had a chance to win, I switched immediately from Obama supporter to committed Obama volunteer.

There is still a large contingency of bitter Clinton supporters who are hopeful that a miracle will happen for her. I believe many of her remaining supporters will come back into the party fold after the convention.

I'm excited about Obama. When I heard him speak during the convention back in 2004, I had two thoughts. One: an unfortunate name - can he overcome that? Two: why can't we vote for this guy now?

He represents the ultimate American story. Many of us have multi-cultural families. My own daughters came to the US for the first time on a plane at the age of 10 months."

The readers' panel has been selected from as wide a cross-section of people as possible and may not be representative of wider US public opinion.

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