Will race be a factor in the presidential election?

By: Rob Pratt Email
By: Rob Pratt Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The assassination plot is a powerful reminder that race will play a role in this election.

How much of a factor will it be?
The answer depends on who you talk to.

It's one thing key local McCain and Obama supporters have in common.
They both tell us the only race they're worried about is the one for president. Still, with the nation's tob job up for grabs, most admit at least some voters will see the choice as black and white.

"I was just calling to see if you've already voted. Have you voted yet?"

Reverend Clarence Hall spends his days at Obama Headquarters on Magnolia, working to get the vote out for his candidate.

"I'm not voting for Obama because he's black. I' just think that he would be the best president for this area, for this time in history," Hall said.

But will others share Hall's colorblind approach as they decide on a candidate? The 71-year-old, who's lived in Knoxville for 65 years, says he's seen reasons to doubt and to hope.

"Race will always have a certain percentage of a factor. People have changed quite a bit during the time that I've lived here in Knoxville."

Bonnie Brezina, McCain-Palin Knox County Campaign Manager, has a different view, "I don't think race is going to be a factor at all."

Brezina says there may be a few people out there who haven't gotten past the race issue, but not enough to change the election's outcome.

"They're not looking at Barack Obama as being African-American. They're not looking at John McCain as being Caucasian. They're looking at the issues."

Most voters will tell you race is not an issue for them but say they worry it is for others.

Tom Abernathy, U.T. Student from Nashville, a University of Tennessee student from Nashville says he expects some to vote based on race. "Sadly, with what went on recently in West Tennessee, I think with a lot of the rural population it will be, which is sad, but I mean, it's a fact of life."

U.T. Student Asia Waller, from Smyrna, Tennessee, says "Race probably is a factor to a lot of people. I think to my generation, the emerging generation, I think that we don't see race anymore. I think that we are really concerned about things that they believe in."

We want to know what you think: Will race be a factor in your decision for president? Vote and comment on our web channel, volunteer tv dot com. And stay with volunteer tv news and our webchannel, volunteer tv.Com for the most complete coverage throughout the election.


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