On the Sunday before a pivotal election, a few hundred supporters have gathered to hear their nominee speak. For many in the excited crowd, it's their first political event. "This one feels big because the whole country is paying attention to it because it's a change in the attitude: people are fed up with Washington," says Lisa Manser, 42, a Leesburg, Va., teacher who had knocked on doors as a campaign volunteer for the first time in her life earlier that day.
The candidates arrive and the speeches begin. One riles the crowd up with a chant, "Yes, we can!" Another gets them going with the old Kerry campaign slogan, "Help is on the way!" He continues: "When we're done and the polls close, change is on the way! But unlike change that we've seen in the past this is change you can hope for!"
The scene may seem eerily familiar, especially since the rally was held in front of the very offices Barack Obama's campaign used last year in this northwest Virginia town. But the rally in Leesburg on Sunday was for the Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell; the speakers included attorney general nominee Ken Cuccinelli (the leader of the "Yes, we can" chant) and Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling ("Help is on the way"). And while the tone may have sounded reminiscent of Obama's stirring rallies of a year ago, the platform couldn't have been more conservative. "This has been a campaign of ideas, on innovation, on a positive uplifting vision for the future of Virginia," McDonnell told the crowd. "And what we need you to do is go find those people who believe in these limited conservative principles that we've laid out in the last six months, that believe free enterprise and the private sector is the key to economic prosperity."
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