Tampa audience readies for McCain speech
McCain supporters wait outside the Tampa Convention Center for the John McCain rally this morning in Tampa. [Scott Keeler | Times]
TAMPA -- John McCain supporters turned out in full force today to hear the GOP presidential candidate speak at the Tampa Convention Center.
Downtown traffic was still flowing smoothly when the doors opened at 9:30 a.m. Among those in the crowd was Dywan Washington, 19, who lives in East Tampa.
"I absolutely agree with him on national security, his plan for the economy," he said. "I don't agree with Barack's liberal socialist views. I'm proud to be a young black supporter of McCain."
Washington said his friends and neighbors are sometimes surprised that he backs McCain. He said someone took a picture of the back of his car because they were surprised to see a McCain bumper sticker there.
"It's not about race," he said.
Andrew Dorsey, 27, vice president of the Tampa Bay Young Republicans, wore an "Obama bin Biden" shirt but said the shirt doesn't reflect what he thinks are Obama's religious leanings.
"It more defines who he really is and what the outcome of his change would be," Dorsey said.
About 50 protestors marched outside the Convention Center carrying signs. Josh Anijar, 26, representing the Florida AFL-CIO, said he opposes McCain's policies on free trade, saying McCain wants America to do business with countries that don't protect workers.
He also said McCain has consistently voted against raising the minimum wage.
-- Janet Zink, Times staff writer