Page last updated at 09:08 GMT, Tuesday, 2 September 2008 10:08 UK

Voters' Views: Geoffrey Nolan

Republicans are gathering for their party convention in St Paul, Minnesota as the election campaign shifts up a gear.

Here eight Republican voters from across the US look ahead to the convention and reflect on the state of the party and their presumptive nominee John McCain.

Geoffrey Nolan Salesman | Republican

The election is now more a referendum on Obama than anything else

Geoffrey Nolan
Age: 62
Lives: Miami, Florida
Occupation: Canvas awning salesman
Last election voted:
In 10 words or fewer: Political duellist - fencing with relish but not without pity

"The Republican's conservative base must rally around McCain for the party to come out of their convention with a lasting impact.

Obama has grabbed so much of the media coverage so early on that the election is now more a referendum on him than anything else.

But I think it will be shown that Obama has been somewhat damaged by over-exposure.

The biggest issue for me is our dependence on foreign energy. Remember, Jimmy Carter was mocked in the 1970s when he lectured that our energy dependence was the moral equivalent of war.

We need consensus on this issue. We must drill for oil off American shores. The ability to do it safely is improving all the time. We should also turn to nuclear technology.

To be honest, we have two poor choices for candidates this year and McCain is the least worst option.

I do admire Obama for his energy. If he were elected I'd wish him all the best.

McCain may be old and kind of wooden but I note that independent voters are not tipping Obama's way so far.

McCain also stood his ground on Iraq and now appears to be vindicated.

The choice of Sarah Palin as running mate is a brilliant tactical stroke meant to attract disgruntled Hillary fans and placate the conservative base of our party.

But she is not qualified to be president should McCain become unable to serve."

You can add your comments and questions on Geoffrey 's views using the form below:

Your comments:

Geoffrey, I would like to remind you of last election and who was considered the best of two options - and look where Bush took us. About drilling in the US, please know that even if we were to start drilling today, it would take 10 years to get the oil
Dave, Miami, FL

Yes look where Bush took us. The very top Democrat leaders announced that the war in Iraq was "lost" a la Harry Reid. Obama's plan was to cut off all funding and have all troops out by last March. The Dems attempted to orchestrate a grand humiliation in order to prove that Bush had taken us to a place that gives new meaning to the word shallow. I suppose many will think it unfortunate that a united Iraq free of Saddam will survive.
Geoffrey Nolan, Miami, FL

Of all the comments on this page, these are the only ones that make any sense to me. Not to say that I am convinced by them - the issue of Obama's supposedly uncritical press coverage is pretty easily debunked by some readily available statistics.

The one question I would ask, is why Mr. Nolan assumes that McCain is the preferable choice for energy independence. As a Floridian, he should know better than most that all the talk about offshore drilling is nonsense.
Thomas, Hoosier in Singapore

Before responding I would be interested in knowing to which readily available statistics Mr. Hoosier refers. In the mean time I fondly recall Mark Twain's rejoinder: "There are lies, damn lies, and statistics".

As to energy independence, Mr Obama pledged in his acceptance speech to achieve energy independence in 10 years without saying exactly how. John Fitzgerald Kennedy pledged at his swearing in ceremony to take us to the moon in 10 years and all Democrats - including me - applauded. Curiously, 10 years ago when the Democrats scuttled plans to develop the Artic National Wildlife Refuge they listed among their reasons that it would take 10 years to bring energy production on line. Perhaps the gentleman from Singapore would care to fortify his argument that Florida offshore drilling is nonsense. It seems an awfully sweeping condemnation of my point of view..
Geoffrey Nolan, Miami, FL

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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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