Occupation: Sophomore at Missouri State University
As one of the leaders of the ONE campaign at Missouri State University Eric Mayle is frustrated he hasn't heard more from the 2008 presidential candidates on the issue of poverty.
"It's extremely hard because it doesn't directly impact most of us. But long term it does," he says. "And we have a responsibility to do something. Our goal is to pressure candidates to talk about what to do about it."
Mayle describes himself as "slightly conservative," -- he's pro-gun rights and against gay marriage. But he says he's really searching for a presidential candidate with "balance."
"Someone who can unite the parties," as he puts it.
The harder-edged more polarizing candidates like Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani just don't appeal to him. That's why this social conservative sophomore is leaning towards supporting Barack Obama. "He's more hopeful than the other candidates, and I'm proud of him for being willing to address the AIDS crisis," Mayle says.
"I think it's an issue he cares about. He appeals to a lot of different people. And I think if we are going to fight poverty, it has to be non-partisan," Mayle adds.
Statewide, Mayle feels Governor Matt Blunt's Medicaid cuts pushed more people into poverty. "It's a strike against him, because surely some of those people needed to be on the rolls," he says.
But Mayle does give Blunt some points for being upfront about what he did. He can't say the same about Blunt's likely 2008 opponent Jay Nixon. "I just don't trust Nixon as much," Mayle says.
The recent saga over Nixon's use of a state car for political events rubbed Mayle the wrong way. "I just distrust his ethics. The state vehicle thing just seemed kind of shady, especially how he handled it," he says.
That leaves Mayle leaning towards Blunt, but as always, "hoping" for a better option.