By Jonathan Binder, CNN
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (CNN) – A road trip through the American South West wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Embed America’s Team South visited the canyon to not only admire the scenic views from the rim, but also to get the political views of a family visiting from Lake Arthur, New Mexico.
Carrie Jackson, Clinton Jackson, Jessica Gamboa, and future voter Darin Jackson, 11, were on a family road trip together. And despite them not all agreeing about politics, they say it would take more than politics to ruin their vacation.
Although their votes may not all line up, there was a shared frustration with the lack of cooperation across the aisle in Washington. Gamboa says the government needs to come together:
[1:39] “I wish it would quit being Republicans against Democrats – would learn to work together as a people and realize government wasn’t so powerful because right now it’s like a tyranny. They’re making too many, too many laws and rules, that it was never meant to be like this.”
By John Sepulvado, CNN
East St. Louis, Illinois (CNN) – The East St. Louis School District has some of the worst reading and math test scores in the state. That’s according to state and district statistics. Only ten percent of students are proficient in reading at their grade level. And for at least one resident, 17-year-old Louis Jones, it's a problem the presidential candidates need to address.
Meanwhile, education officials in Illinois are trying to take over the school district. The state cites systemic problems with corruption. Local board members disagree, and as is often the case with fights over power and money, both parties are now in court. FULL POST
By John Sepulvado and Jonathan Binder, CNN
Roswell, New Mexico (CNN) – As Election Day gets closer, many voters across the country are asking, “Who are you voting for?” But in Roswell, New Mexico, the question on most people’s minds is, “Do you believe?”
Roswell has become the epicenter of believers in extraterrestrial life after a mysterious object crashed just outside the town in July 1947. Many people are convinced it was an alien spaceship.
Extraterrestrials aside, politics is still a topic that brings people back to earth in Roswell. Like Mark Briscoe, the library director at the International UFO Museum. He believes in life on other planets. Briscoe is also a registered Republican. But, he will be voting for President Obama he says, because no matter what political party a president hails from, Briscoe says presidents need eight years to get anything significant done.
[1:03] “I don’t think any one person can make that big of a change in four years. I don’t believe a Republican can. I don’t believe a Democrat or an Independent can. So I think we are obligated to last a full eight years. Let’s see what the man can do.”
By Lisa Desjardins, CNN
Editorial Note: This interview indicates the effect of negative ads in this campaign. Our subject, Joshua Martin, refers to ads and questions whether Mitt Romney has been honest about when he left his company, Bain Capital. Romney insists he stopped running the company in 1999 and that Bain mistakenly listed his name on some SEC documents after that time. Additionally, Romney says that he did not send American jobs oversea, while the Obama campaign has launched ads asserting that he did.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa (CNN) – The road leading to Cedar Rapids is open, lined with farmland and quiet. But the city where most of Iowa's corn is processed, has a buzz about it.
Embed America found waiter Joshua Martin chatting with friends outside a bar in the downtown section that has bounced back with vitality after the 2008 flood.
Sitting in the last sunlight of the day, Martin told us he is voting for President Obama again. One reason: recent ads from the Obama campaign that cast Mitt Romney as a man who outsourced American jobs while he worked at Bain Capital. Romney vigorously denies that and has asked the Obama campaign to apologize for the ads.
The ads affected Martin, who believes them:
[:44] "I feel that if Mitt Romney was really for our country, he'd be creating jobs and not giving jobs to overseas." FULL POST
By Lisa Desjardins, CNN
Aurora, Colorado (CNN) – The statements by President Obama and Mitt Romney calling for unity the day after the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, instead left a bitter aftertaste of politics and partisanship with some in the injured town.
[:57] “I’m outraged that they’re trying to make it political, like a political statement,” said Emma Goos, a 19-year-old who sat three rows from where the gunman entered the movie theater in Aurora.
Goos questioned the politicians' sincerity, saying she believes their primary motivation is to score points over one another in swing state Colorado. To her, the statements were hard to swallow amidst a partisan war that has dominated the airwaves in many states.
Goos and the five people sitting with her at the theatre survived. But one day after the shooting, they were still searching for another friend who was elsewhere in the theater.
[1:03] “It’s certainly something that could be addressed (by the candidates) but now is not the time for that,” Goos said, bruises from the mayhem visible on her arms.
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