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McCain's True Believers

Rachel Manias works the phones.
Rachel Manias works the phones.

A week out from the election, the McCain Victory Center in Brecksville is hopping. More than a dozen volunteers are manning the phones and mining for votes.

VOLUNTEER: Hi this is Mark Mazoni from the Ohio Republican Party, how are you this evening?

And, occasionally they go off script.

VOLUNTEER: All right. Thank you. Enjoy that socialist party. Thank you.

This is crunch time for campaigns.

At another phone is Rachel Manias of Broadview Heights.

MANIAS: I've never actually voted for a presidential candidate. Like, I didn't vote for President Bush, I voted against Al Gore, or I voted against John Kerry.

But for Manias, John McCain is different. She was devastated when then-Governor Bush beat McCain in the primaries in 2000. Now that McCain is the nominee, Manias put her kids in daycare so she could spend more time on the campaign. She says daycare is her campaign contribution.

MANIAS: Yeah, actually oddly enough I just got a call as I was walking out the door for another donation, and I said I'm sorry, I can't, but obviously daycare is not cheap, as any mother could testify to.

Manias says she's concerned about Obama's tax policies which she fears would hurt her husband's small business. And, as a Catholic, she says she's very pro-life. If McCain is elected, she thinks the country will get back on track.

MANIAS: I think we'll be better than we are today. Obviously, I'm concerned about terrorism, and I think he'd be better apt to handle that.

It's around 7PM and McCain supporters have started eating pizza between phone calls.

Manias says the office is full of passionate supporters-some from the farthest reaches of the country.

MANIAS: There's Bob from Guam out there. We just call him Bob from Guam; I don't even remember his last name.

KLITZKIE: My name is Robert Klitzkie. I've lived in Guam for 45 years. I wanted to live some place that's far away and warm.

But, as an American territory, Guam residents like Klitzkie can't vote in the Presidential race.

KLITZKIE: So the only way we get to participate is by going to the political conventions or doing what I'm doing right now.

Klitzkie has spent the past few weeks volunteering for the McCain campaign in Ohio-a lot of it making phone calls for the party.

KLITZKIE: Phonebanking, phonebanking, phonebanking. Did I say phonebanking?

He's retired now….a "recovering lawyer" he says. And, he's long been active in Republican politics. Ronald Reagan is his favorite president, but he thinks McCain might end up being there too.

KLITZKIE: Well, my story is that I think John McCain would make a fine president of the United States. I think he would make perhaps one of the best presidents we could have had in the history of our country at any time, but I think we really need him right now. So I'm doing my little bit

Klitzkie thinks in four years, McCain could help achieve peace in the Middle East and work out short-term energy problems. And, He thinks McCain has the right character to help the economy.

KLITZKIE: A skillful hand on the tiller, and I use that hand advisably given John McCain's naval background, will steer us back to the main current of our capitalist free-enterprise system.

And, when he's back in Guam next week, Klitzkie hopes his trek to Ohio will have made a little difference for John McCain.