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The local paper in Racine, WI is blogging McCain's appearance there today. Doesn't sound like it's going so great:

11:15 a.m. -- Many of those waiting in line to see McCain thought there would be more people waiting.

"I really expected more people," said Charlotte Loudahl, 50 of Racine. She arrived at 8:45 a.m. expecting a huge line.

After the doors had been open for about 40 minutes, Memorial Hall remained about half empty. However, the line outside moved slowly due to security inspections.

Yah. Security. Translation: "Uhh.... It's okay, John. It happens to lots of candidates."

The hall buzzed with chatter as attendees took their seats and waited.

The hall had two large projection screens displayed near the entrance and along the top of the west wall. The screens read, "Straight Talk Town Hall" and showed McCain's logo. A banner along the hall's balcony read, "Wisconsin welcomes John and Cindy McCain."

Those in attendance sat in about 15 rows of chairs facing the building's south side. Another horseshoe shaped grouping of chairs surrounded a band positioned in the center of the hall and bleacher seats held attendees on the south and west side of the building. The hall's large balcony remained empty except for about eight AARP supporters. The back of the hall was filled with press and their cameras and laptops. The hall's large eastern room remained dark and empty.

<snip>

10:50 a.m. --  Alex Jacobson, 17 of Wind Point, came to listen to the candidate even though he will not be able to vote by the November election.

"I'm independent. I'm just here to see," said the Horlick High School senior. "I want to hear more on energy and education from both candidates. At the high school and lower level, the education system needs overall improvement."

Alex arrived at Memorial Hall at 7:45 a.m. and was one of the first 10 people in line.

"I assumed there would be a big line," he said. "I was here to see Obama speak and three hours before the line wrapped around the building."

Racine is a funny town -- very urban, blue collar and pretty cosmopolitan for a small city, but rung with very fearful white suburbs that reliably vote Republican in sufficient numbers to tilt the whole county into the red column. Given my home state's taste for mavericky independentlicious pols (see Feingold, Russ), if Grandpa Sidney can't turn 'em out in Racine, well, then I believe the polls that have Obama way ahead in Wisconsin.

Update:

11:55 a.m. — Fifteen minutes before McCain was scheduled to begin the town hall meeting, half of the balcony in Memorial Hall remained empty and there was no longer a line outside.

A volunteer for McCain said the hall holds 1,200 people. About 950 people were in attendance at 11:45 a.m.

Originally posted to Septic Tank on Thu Jul 31, 2008 at 10:22 AM PDT.

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