Occupation: Retired Postal Worker, Now a teacher's aide
Politics: Voted for Bush twice, but voted for Carter over Reagan
War isn't something Paul Schmitz just watches on TV. He fought in Vietnam, and got the scare of his life when he got word his son was shot in the back while fighting in Iraq. Paul Jr. was told he'd be paralyzed.
That's why it's not surprising Iraq remains a defining issue for himself and his family. Schmitz has his problems with how we got into Iraq and the current "surge" strategy. But he believes we need to stay to finish the job.
The values he's looking for in a 2008 presidential candidate are strength, stability and courage. "I'm looking for a candidate who's got his head and feet on the ground. I want someone to say, 'this is where I stand,' no matter who they are talking to," Schmitz says. "I want someone willing to take the heat."
Schmitz is willing to give a politician credit for standing his ground. He admits he wasn't a big fan of Gov. Matt Blunt at first. "Thought he was living off daddy's name," Schmitz says. "But now that he's been through the fire, I've got more respect for him."
On the presidential contest, Schmitz says he's listening to both sides of the aisle. From Hillary and Barack, to Romney and Giuliani. He likes Romney because of how he has responded to the Mormon question. "When everyone hammered him for his faith, he said, 'I'm sorry, this is what I believe," Schmitz says.
It's clear that a good solid spiritual foundation is also important to Schmitz. It helped his family through their ordeal with their soldier son, who - defying the odds - is now walking again.