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POSTED: November 22, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Russell Rapozo, 68, read over USA Today Wednesday morning as he ate breakfast at Waffle King in Hinesville even though he was up until the wee hours of the  morning watching the presidential results come in.
“I never thought I’d see a man of color win (the presidency) in my lifetime,” Rapozo said.
The civil service retiree, a four-year Liberty County resident, knew Obama would take the West Coast after living in California for a number of years.
“When I saw Ohio vote, I knew the election was over,” Rapozo said.
At the next table, Christopher Ballard, 18, voted for Sen. John McCain but said he could tell after Obama took Illinois and California, “it was pretty much all said and done.”
“I didn’t like the outcome of it,” Ballard said of the election. “I knew Obama was going to take it, but not by (such) a long shot.”
Rapozo thinks the economy and loss of jobs pushed a lot of people to the polls, but now he would like to see less partisanship.
“I want to see us get along and steer this country,” Rapozo said. “Instead of being so divided, we need to come together.”
Election talk was still in the air Thursday morning at McDonald’s on Oglethorpe Highway and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. 
A 72-year old who agreed to be identified only as John O. was still reading election news in the newspaper over a cup of coffee.
John O., a military retiree, has been in Liberty County since 1957 and was pleased Sheriff J. Don Martin will be in office for another four years.
“That’s real good,” he said. “Don Martin’s the man for the job. To me, he (Floyd) wouldn’t make a good sheriff.”
John O. also voted for congressional incumbent Jack Kingston over newcomer Bill Gillespie.
“I didn’t know anything about him,” John O. said
of Gillespie.” And Jack Kingston, I’ve been knowing him for a number of years.”
Leroy Austin declined to comment on the local sheriff race.
But the 23-year Army veteran said Gillespie’s military background was one of the main reasons why he wanted Gillespie to take the office.
“Kingston’s never been in the military,” Austin said. “And, to me, anyone who’s never been in the military doesn’t know what it’s all about.”
“I haven’t really seen anything he’s done for the veterans like John Barrow,” Austin said.
He said he is going to let his Democratic and veteran convictions influence him in the Dec. 2 Senate run-off between Jim Martin and Saxby Chambliss.
“I hope Martin gets that,” Austin said of the Vietnam veteran.
John O. agreed the presidential race was a historic election for the black community. And though he voted for McCain because of his experience, it does not bother him that Obama won.
John O. thinks maybe having a minority in office is what the country needs.
“The way I look at it, he’s half white and half black, so that should be good for everybody,” John O. said. “A president is supposed to be good for everybody, no matter what his color is.”
“This may be what this country needs,” he said. “It doesn’t hurt me a bit.”
John O. said both presidential candidates made a lot of promises, but “neither one of them can deliver what they promised.”
“There’s no way Obama or McCain could have produced what they promised us,” he said. “We’re in trillions of debt — there’s no Democrat and there’s no Republican that can balance that budget in eight years.”
Marvin Stancil agreed as he chatted about the election with other patrons at Ebony and Ivory barber shop. Stancil said he thinks it will take awhile to see the effects of Obama’s election and it would take him serving another term for the economy to improve.
“People got to understand when he gets inaugurated, it’s not going to change that next month,” Stancil said. “We have to look at now getting ready to vote him back in after four years.”
Stancil officially retired Wednesday after 21 years in the Army.
He agrees with Obama’s strategy for the war overseas.
“For that time frame that we’ve been there, we’ve helped that country enough,” Stancil said. “It’s time to move on.”
He thought McCain would have made a good president because of his military background.
“He could handle the situation,” John O. said. “He’s been tested.”
Stancil said he thought many people aren’t as informed about politics as they should.
“A lot of people say — ‘Oh, I don’t want to deal with politics,’ ” Stancil said. “You have to. Because when you blow that off, it’s like a proxy.”
John O. votes every time there is an election.
“That’s one of the only rights that we still have left,” he said. “That’s one of the thing that everybody should do.”
 

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