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Special Report on USelections: - Historic election electrifies Americans (Front).

New Mexico, Nov. 2 -- As the final countdown to the Election Day in the United States of America on November 4th has started, excitement and enthusiasm are rising high. Campaigners for the two candidates, the Democrat Barak Obama and the Republican John McCain are organizing rallies everywhere. Hopes are high and everybody considers the election as historic, expecting highest turnout in any US election ever.

"We are very excited, going from door to door; we are making phone calls asking people to vote for change. It is an exciting time but also stressful. We can not relax as every vote counts for us," said Conchita Cruz, spokeswoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico in a response to a question for Yemen Times reporter.

John McCain has been campaigning in Virginia trying to hold onto a state that hasn't voted for the Democrat in a presidential race since 1964. McCain is warning of a Democratic agenda of "lowering defenses and raising taxes."

Barack Obama told a boisterous crowd of supporters in Colorado last Saturday that "fundamental change" for the U.S. will come in three days if they don't let up. He continued to attack his rival McCain.

"My daughters have trouble deciding what they want to be for Halloween," he said." "But McCain doesn't have that trouble 'cause he just goes out and trick or treats as George Bush."

He pledged to do his best to cut taxes on middle class people, improve education and health care. While Bush tax cuts give those who earn over $1 million dollars a tax cut nearly 160 times greater than that received by middle-income Americans, Obama economic plan is that to waive middle class instead of wealthy people.

"We do not need to raise tax cuts on middle class. Bush has created more millionaires. We need jobs in America. We need to create five million jobs in the next decade," he addressed the crowd in Colorado.

He also promised to pull out US troops from Iraq and put an end to the fight with Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Concerning the Iraq issue, Obama has got a clear stand to the war in Iraq from the beginning as he did not support Congress' 2002 authorization for war on Iraq. His anti-war stance is based on the assumption that Iraq's Shiites and Sunnis are more likely to settle their differences without an American presence than under American occupation--especially if they are pressured into doing so by the threat of an imminent American withdrawal. "And the only effective way to apply this pressure," Obama wrote in Foreign Affairs, "is to begin a phased withdrawal of U.S. forces, with the goal of removing all combat brigades from Iraq by March 31, 2008--a date consistent with the goal set by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group." Nevertheless, Obama is opposed to a complete withdrawal: "We should leave behind only a minimal over-the-horizon military force in the region to protect American personnel and facilities, continue training Iraqi security forces, and root out al Qaeda." Yet Obama wants to "make clear that we seek no permanent bases in Iraq."

Obama was criticized for offering diplomatic options with Iran as he said the nuclear option against Iran should not be on the table even as the conventional-attack option does remain there. And he maintains that negotiating directly with Iran is a must: "Although we must not rule out using military force," Obama wrote, "we should not hesitate to talk directly to Iran. Our diplomacy should aim to raise the cost for Iran of continuing its nuclear program by applying tougher sanctions and increasing pressure from its key trading partners. The world must work to stop Iran's uranium-enrichment program and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."

However, his rival's position to Iraq and Iran are different. McCain disagreed with President Bush's execution of the war in Iraq only to the extent that it was not militarily overwhelming enough. McCain, along with 76 other senators, voted in 2002 to approve invading Iraq. He's never advocated withdrawal. To the contrary. He's been an advocate of building up military forces in Iraq, and he fully supported Bush's spring 2007 "surge". He considers Iraq and the war on terror's "central front." He adds, "So long as we can succeed in Iraq--and I believe we can--we must succeed." He opposes "a withdrawal strategy and his plan is Bush's current plan: stay, fight, and see what happens.

McCain considers Iran "the world's chief state sponsor of terrorism." He advocates levying severe sanctions on Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons technology, then stepping up to military intervention if Iran doesn't comply. He stands against other nations acquiring any kind of nuclear technology, even if it's for peaceful purposes.

Although such foreign issues have acquired a good space of the two rivals' campaigns, domestic issues remain in focus.

Concerns of the US citizens vary from one state to another but it seems there is a consensus that economy and the consequent domestic financial crisis are the catalyst of the US

"People here in New Mexico are concerned about immigration, about taxes and national security," said Shira Rawlinson, Communications Director of the Republican Party of New Mexico.

Minority groups' representatives we met in Albuquerque in New Mexico are highly supporting Obama for different reasons.

Ronald Hinson, Director of the African American Chamber of Commerce, has bluntly complained about racism exercised against African Americans.

"We are suffering a lot; around 33%of our children live below the poverty level. New Mexico has the highest rate of school dropout. Around 23 % including 21% of African Americans are without insurance here. We should not fool ourselves. Racism is a life here," said Mr. Hinson.

"This is not America we would talk about in school. We are supposed to be Americans in America, but who rules America. America has been run by the Anglo-Saxons but the bottom of the bottle is falling down," he said. Mr Hinson said Obama can address these issues.

It is not only these minority groups find in Obama a Democrat candidate who can improve their living conditions which are getting worse during the reign of a Republican president George Bush, but they find in Obama a person who can identify with their day-to-day problems.

"People are desperate for change and Obama has the Charisma to do that. He has an immigrant story and stories that can relate with the Hispanic. They see a family of Obama identical to their faced struggle. The skills of campaigning that Obama showed are going to translate into governance," said Christine Sierra, University of New Mexico.

However, Republicans think that the Charisma that Obama showed during the campaign rallies is ideal and does not match with reality.

"McCain is moderate and rational while the other candidate is more ideal than having a realistic plan," said one of the volunteer campaigners for McCain in New Mexico.

However, the mainstream opinion in New Mexico a state involving ethnic minority groups like the Hispanic, the African and Indians, the African American Obama has a lot of fans.

Although the domestic issues are dominating the concerns of the US citizens, foreign policy of the Bush administration and the consequent they face has made it also a concern for the American people.

Around fifty per cent of the public concerns are about foreign policy including war in Iraq. According to Ms Sierra, the war on Iraq is the one which made Bush get the Hispanic vote in 2004. However, due to its direct impact on the US citizens including the huge expenses on the overseas wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are counting in the voting this time.

"The war in Iraq is affecting us as there are people who want to bring their veterans back from Iraq," she said.

If Obama makes it and wins, analysts think, it is going to be historic and will send signal to youngsters Hispanic and African American youngsters there is a hope they can make it to the top.

However, this high enthusiasm and long for change can be hampered by the decision of the Electoral College. It is a sophisticated election system where there can be early voting starting from October 8th and the Electoral College whose members that vary from one State to another are the ones who decide who to win despite the number of votes each candidate can get. In 2000 Bush won by the Electoral College votes and not the public votes. Each candidate needs 270 out of the 538 votes making the Electoral College.

Miachel Rocca from the New Mexico University believes changing this representative Electoral College is going to be an uphill battle.

"It is going to be an uphill battle to change the Electoral College for parties like the Republican would not like to do that for it is this system that guaranteed their win in 2000 though Al Gore won the public votes," he said....

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Publication:Yemen Times (Sana'a, Yemen)
Date:May 24, 2009
Words:1508
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