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Palin's youth vote

TAMPA – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama isn’t the only one pulling in the youth vote this election – dozens of college and high school students arrived at the Tampa Convention Center early Sunday morning to meet Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Eckerd College students Felicity Keeley, Emily Krumm and Caroline Gill sat on the convention center floor to the right of the stage taking notes and highlighting textbook passages as they waited for Palin to arrive.

“[Palin’s] a really independent woman, and I think that’s really important,” said Keeley, 21, wearing a “Proud to be an American Girl” t-shirt. “In a world dominated by men, she’s gotten to where she’s being nominated for vice president. She’s a career woman with a family.”

But all three women said they started supporting Republican presidential candidate John McCain long before Palin joined the ticket.  Gill, 20, said as a member of a military family she was drawn to McCain’s military background.

“My dad is a colonel with the Air Force,” Gill said. “I’ve been surrounded by military people my whole life.”