A Battle For Ball State U. Ballots

This story was written by Bob Culp, Daily News
After greeting the crowd gathered on the main floor of the Atrium, Chelsea Clinton looked up the Ball State University Arts and Journalism building staircase to see three stories worth of students peering back down at her.

As Clinton waved to the onlookers lining the staircase rail, she put the microphone closer to her mouth and tried to acknowledged everyone above her within earshot.

"Hello everyone," Clinton said calmly to the crowd of 800 Tuesday.

Standing out of the way just off stage, all student organizer Travis Schilla could do was smile about the attendance.

"We were expecting a big crowd just with the name Clinton, but this crowd blew away all of our expectations," Schilla said.

When the former first daughter opened the floor for questions, Clinton looked surprised at the amount of hands that immediately flew in the air.

The questions concerned a mixture of topics from Clinton supporters, Obama supporters, Republicans and those still undecided.

Amber Murray, a sophomore education major, said she came into the event undecided and left leaning toward Clinton's side.

"As a teacher I wanted to hear if she was going to keep No Child Left Behind and what she was going to do with schools and gas prices," Murray said. "I felt she was able to address those issues well. I was actually surprised that even though she was a Clinton, I thought she was very informed, very exact, and she told us the truth without trying to beat around the bush."

Obama supporters were scattered within the audience and showed their navy blue signs. Ball State Students for Barack Obama had a table set up behind the stage where Clinton spoke. Matthew Kindig, a member of the organization, said the organization is scheduled to be in the Atrium every Tuesday for voter registration, and their presence during Clinton's visit was coincidental.

"We were surprised too when we heard about her coming," Kindig said. "We had a big turnout [during the event]. We had about 40 people sign up for our Ball State for Obama campaign and a lot of them registered to vote."

Among the many signs in support of Clinton at the event, Kyle Coplen, a senior, was not one of them. Carrying a self-made sign with the words "socialism is coming, repent" written on the front, Coplen said many of the government's problems are because of big government policies and spending.

"A lot of what is going on is socialism," Coplen said. "I'm not here to support Republicans, but neither Democrats or Republicans are stopping the aid programs that are the problem, and I just don't like Hillary."

Another Obama supporter at the table, Kyle Flood, said he is happy to see the excitement about politics among Democrats.

"First and foremost, we are Democrats," Flood said. "So we are excited that students will get to hear from the Hillary campaign, but we wanted to make sure that we were here also.

"We've been a group on campus for almost the entire school year. We are happy that the Hillary campaign gets a chance to be here, and it's exciting to get the students involved in politics in general."
© 2008 Daily News via U-WIRE