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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:39 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:44 am
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How can Trump be polling so well in Iowa? These high school students are perceptive.

Students meet presidential hopefuls

Oakfield students impressed with Graham, give Trump a thumbs down

At dawn, seniors at Oakfield High School departed for Iowa with sights set on GOP presidential hopefuls.

Upon arrival Sept. 19 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, Karl McCarty’s political leaders class ended up staying almost six hours and met eight Republican candidates.

The eight seniors and their teachers attended Iowa's Faith & Freedom Coalition, an event hosted every four years by Evangelical Christians.

“These are die-hard religious people, very pro-life and anti-Obama,” McCarty said. “But it is a great opportunity for students to observe the candidates and the supporters at this event."

And while most students were enticed by the idea of coming face-to-face with colorful front runner Donald Trump, instead they came away happy they stayed late and experienced the southern hospitality of Sen. Lindsey Graham, the senior senator from South Carolina.

“With self-deprecating humor and a willingness to be around people, (Graham) sort of reminded me of Reagan — not to mention he gave me a fist-bump,” said senior Benjamin Aschaker. “On the other hand, we have Donald Trump, the almost exact opposite of Lindsey. He wouldn't talk to us or sign anything that was already signed by other candidates. I think the only word he ever said to us was ‘no.’”

Graham had told the Oakfield group that having high school students wanting to drive six hours to say “hey” made him feel good about the country.

“I personally was interested in the students who may not have shared Graham’s political views but now respected his personality,” McCarty continued. “Even if people are political opponents, the meeting with Graham showed that so-called opponents can still be great people.”

Trump, however, reminded senior Kate Beulen of “a high school student who is popular but only because they are mean,” she said. Unlike the other candidates the group met, he refused to sign her hat. “I know if I ever planned on voting for him, there is no way I would now,” she said.

McCarty recounted a neat moment when former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee approached Graham to talk about a private matter.

“They were very sincere, and one could see the respect they undoubtedly had for each other," McCarty said. Senior "Rollin Petersen told me that it seemed to him like they talked pretty nice to each other. Maybe that was the lesson of the night — that you can run against another person but still treat (him or her) like one,” McCarty said.

Senior Kaitlyn Primeau said that politicians need to be willing to listen to one another’s ideas, regardless of party affiliation. “What America needs is a politician that is willing to be open to new ideas and really care about the people of this country,” she said.

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