Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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October 11, 2012

Party atmosphere all around in Danville

DANVILLE — Thursday night’s debate between Republican Paul Ryan and Democrat Joe Biden may be a partisan party versus party fight.

But across the way from the debate hall, it’s just one big party.

Center College students, Danville residents, out-of-towners - even students from mainland China - were all smiles and in a party mood.

“This is – uh – great! Lot of fun, the way we ought to do this,” said Disi Lu, 18, a Centre freshman from China.

She and three other students from China – they met at Centre not in China – were merrily having their photographs taken with Kentucky State Troopers, festivalgoers dressed as Abe Lincoln and George Washington, even reporters and photographers.

Lu said she likes the way the United States chooses its leaders. Asked to contrast that with her homeland, she said, “Both are good,” raising her voice to overcome the music booming from the concert stage by “Earthman Lanny Smith.”

The event was sponsored by AARP, which offered patrons a chance to be photographed with life-sized cut-outs of Mitt Romney or Barack Obama – or between them with both.

Mary Maggard, an AARP volunteer from Lexington, said by noon about one-third of those posing had chosen Obama, one-third Romney “and about one-third are in-between.”

That might surprise in a conservative state like Kentucky which increasingly votes Republican in national elections, a state already conceded by the Obama campaign. But at the festival, Obama supporters, mostly young students, weren’t timid.

“I’m the biggest socialist you’ll ever meet,” said Miranda Willis, 19, of Campbellsville with a smile after she and two friends posed with Obama’s cut-out. “I believe in all of Obama’s programs and policies.”

Willis is especially displeased with a comment made by Romney in an interview that students who can’t afford college should “borrow the money from their parents.”

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