Thinking IraqWar dominates pre-election talk

By Mike Dougherty and Matt Stolle

Iraq is thousands of miles away from Minnesota, but the U.S. presence there is in the minds of residents across southeastern Minnesota as they head to the polls, a sampling of voters this week indicates.

From Del’s Cafe in St. Charles to the Pipsqueaks Playground in Rochester, voters tick off their list of issues, and Iraq seems to dribble into most. How they feel about Iraq might differ, but they’re focused on it with Election Day three days away.

At midmorning at Del’s Cafe in St. Charles, retirees gather over coffee to talk about politics, news or whatever else strikes their fancy. The war on Iraq figured prominently on this day.


"It’s just getting to be a mess, but I don’t know what the solution is," said Darrel Smith, a St. Charles retiree dressed in camouflage coat. "I don’t think they should pull out, but yet they’ve got to do something to control this and work their way out."

But Smith says he’s not prepared to abandon the GOP, the party he adopted after the Democrat President Lyndon "Johnson sent me to Vietnam. He promised never to send troops there." He indicates he will vote Republican.

In Rochester, Mary Lynch, 39, paused Wednesday morning with her 2-year-old daughter, Emily, after playing at Pipsqueaks, an indoor playground.

Lynch lists Iraq and education as her election issues of concern.

"I’d like to see our troops come home," she said. "I’ve heard a lot of excuses, but not much for plans from the leaders who have sent them there."

But more so, Lynch says she wishes the politicians running this season would talk more about how to do what’s best for people, instead of drawing a line in the political sands.

"It seems like you hear more arguments against the other side instead of what they plan to do to make things better," Lynch said.

Both Lynch and Smith plan to cast their ballots on Tuesday. Not everyone thinks that’s the route to take, especially with the wave of negative advertising that’s saturated the airwaves and mailboxes.


Rex Herman, a Dover retiree, says he’s not voting this year.

"Who’d you vote for? All they do is run each other down," Herman says.

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