Interviews with swing-state voters: The Ron Paul-voter who’s backing Obama

November 4, 2012

From now until election day, Wonkblog will be interviewing voters from swing states about how they view the election. We will be interviewing both decided and undecided voters. You can see the rest of the interviews here.

David Gammon, 61, is a registered Republican from Laconia, N.H.. He is a building contractor and former Laconia city councilor who is voting for Obama. We spoke about the election on Wednesday afternoon. Here's our conversation, lightly edited for length and clarity.

Why are you voting for Obama this year?

I voted for him the last time. I just don't believe that it's all his fault. It was Bush that started two wars. I know Obama's taking credit for the bailout of the auto industry, but it was Bush that put it in the works before he left office. He put it in the works for bailing out the banks also. 

What do you like about what Obama's done over the last four years? And what do you wish he had done differently?

I wish he would have gotten out of Afghanistan before the election. I'm not happy we're still over there. I'm happy we got out of Iraq. We had absolutely no reason to go to Iraq. There were I believe 18 or 19 terrorists on those planes—15 of them were Saudis. The mastermind behind the attack was a Royal Saudi, bin Laden. He's related to the Saudi king, and they never found any weapons of mass destruction.

Do you think things would have been gone differently under McCain?

It would have been different if McCain was elected. He was saying he didn't want to get out of Iraq or Afghanistan when he was running for president. And actually, that's one of the reasons I voted for Obama, because of McCain.

Some people who supported Obama in 2008 say they're disappointed now because things didn't change as much as they thought they would. What do you make of that disappointment?

The way I see it, Republicans were the ones who put us in the economy we're in now. You expect somebody to come in and four years clean up the mess, get out of the deficit they created? When Bush took office from Clinton—he had a surplus left over from Clinton.

What do you make of Mitt Romney and what he's campaigning on?

I'm not sure what his plan is. I know he talks about his plan. I guess I could go to look at it on a Web site. I don't know what's in the plan. And here's something about Jeep going over to China—I did research that last night, and it's not true. But that's something Romney's been talking about, about how Jeep which is owned by Fiat, the Italian company—they were going to ship all these jobs over to China. 

How do you think that Republicans in general have changed or not changed over the last four years?

I believe they got more conservative, fiscally more conservative. I don't believe Romney's a fiscal conservative. Gun control, I'm in favor of what the Constitution is, which is what most Republicans believe in—what's constitutional. 

On fiscal issues, do you consider yourself a conservative?

I consider myself a fiscal conservative. But also there are things like health care which I'm in favor of. There are a lot of people who don't have health care, like in the city I'm in. The hospital here—if you're going in for an operation, even if you have health insurance, they want $1000 up front before they take you in. A lot of people like myself who don't have health insurance—we can't even go to the hospital even though it's a five-minute walk down the street. 

Do you think Obamacare will make things better?

I do, but I don't like the mandatory—it's mandatory, that everybody has to pay if they don't have insurance. That's the whole reason they don't have insurance. It's now going to force them [to buy it].

Are you a small business owner?

Yes, I am. the situation we're in is that we own a house. If something catastrophic did happen, if either me or my wife had to go to my hospital—since we don't have insurance, the hospital would put a lien on our house, which we do all the time. It's what do you do with that type of circumstance. 

If Obama is reelected, what are your hopes of what he will do in the next couple of years?

Obviously, what I said, to end the war in Afghanistan. They all talk about jobs. How do you create jobs? It's really not the government's job to create jobs. That's what I hope happens—whether Romney or Obama can create jobs. I think that's up to the private sector. 

Do you think that we'd stay in Afghanistan longer under Romney, that he would do things differently?

At the last debate, he was agreeing with Obama—he would follow the timeline, withdraw the troops also. That's what he said. 

So what do you think is the biggest difference between Obama and Romney?

Romney's an unknown. What did he have, one term as Massachusetts governor?

You mentioned earlier that you didn't think Romney was a fiscal conservative. What led you to that conclusion?

 From the debate—he was talking about as governor of Massachusetts, he always crossed party lines to compromise. If you're so into compromise, especially in Massachusetts, you certainly can't be a fiscal conservative. 

When was the last time that you voted for a Republican, in a presidential race or otherwise?

I voted for Reagan. I don't believe—I might have voted for Bush the first time around, but definitely not the second time. My views are more in line with Ron Paul, which is who I voted for in the primary in New Hampshire. And that's another thing I wasn't happy with, Romney shutting out Ron Paul at the Republican convention. 

Do you still consider yourself a Republican?

Yeah, I do. I have leanings toward the libertarian side. I've been registered as a Republican for at least 20 years.  

How is the election playing out where you live in New Hampshire? What's the mood like there?

This is one thing I've noticed: Unlike other elections, there's a lot of hate. If I was to tell my Republican friends who I'm voting for, some of them probably would disown me. You kind of keep this to yourself sometimes. 

Is that because of the tone of the campaigns themselves, the ads? Or is that just the way that people themselves are feeling about it?

It's the way everybody's feeling about it. I've never noticed it like this—just downright, I call it hate. [laughs]

Why do you think folks are so worked up?

They're just blaming everything on President Obama. He has dealt with this almost four years, and he didn't clean up the mess, and now all of a sudden everything's his fault. I'm surprised they don't blame him for Hurricane Sandy.  

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