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US election diary 2008: Day one

By Sima Kotecha
Newsbeat US reporter in Nashville, Tennessee

Barack Obama and John McCain
Barack Obama and John McCain - the two front-runners for the US presidency

She's packed her bags, got her toothbrush, and has set off to spend the next week on the BBC election bus in America.

Newsbeat's US reporter, Sima Kotecha, is going to be travelling across three states in six days to find out what real people want from their next president.

And she'll be keeping us up to date by writing a diary every day.


It's true. Many of us are never satisfied with the weather.

I've just spent the last week moaning to my mates in New York about how cold it's suddenly got there.

Over the weekend, I got my winter clothes out and hung them up in my wardrobe.

Now in Nashville, Tennessee, it is baking hot.

It's around 28C and even though the sky is blue and the air is fresh, I'm finding it difficult to work in the unfamiliar heat.

But never mind. It's all about the presidential election which is just around the corner. Only 27 days to go before the big day.

Obama rally

Nashville is beautiful. It's clean, the streets are lined with cute cafes and trendy bars, and the people seem very friendly.

Barack Obama supporters
Barack Obama enjoys vocal support on Nashville's streets.
After checking in at the hotel and dropping off the heavy luggage, it was time to go exploring.

Outside in Union Street, people in blue T-shirts were holding up signs which said things like "Vote Obama-Biden" and "Veterans for Obama".

There was lots of clapping, chanting, and country music - this is the home of Country & Western, after all.

It was as if a big party was going on and everyone was invited (unless you were a Republican that is).

But what do people want from their next president?

Adam Hetty is 25 years old and works for a tyre company. He told me he wanted change for the middle classes.

He said: "Obama is the clear candidate for the middle class and John McCain's tax cuts are going to be only for the wealthy.

Adam Hetty
Adam Hetty says Obama is good for the middle classes.
It's proven American strives if the middle class strives."

And Leslie Hall, a young teacher and mum, desperately wants affordable healthcare.

She's voting for Obama because she reckons he's offering the better plan.

She said: "I am still paying off my healthcare bills even though I had insurance.

"And it's hard because I'm not working as I'm trying to raise my baby."

McCain supporters

But just three blocks away, the opinions were very different.

Two men in checked shirts and caps couldn't wait to tell me why John McCain should be moving into the White House come January.

Timothy Doyle is 29 years old and works in the steel industry.

McCain's got tons of experience. Obama is a great guy but he's too young
Timothy Doyle

He said: "McCain's got tons of experience. Obama is a great guy but he's too young and I don't feel safe with him in charge.

"McCain knows how to protect our country."

So will the locals in Nashville think any differently after the second presidential debate?

If John McCain gives the performance of his life, will Obama supporters switch to him?

Probably not, as it looks like many have already made up their minds. It left me asking myself, "What's the point of these debates?"

Timothy gave me an answer. He said: "It's great entertainment -and McCain is going crush Obama and that's fun to watch."

I'll keep you posted!

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