American Politics From The Ex-Pat's View Americans in London are waging their own campaign season.
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American Politics From The Ex-Pat's View

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American Politics From The Ex-Pat's View

American Politics From The Ex-Pat's View

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

More than 300,000 Americans live in Great Britain. Many of them are very involved in this year's presidential election. And as essayist Diane Roberts discovered, partisanship does not stop at the water's edge.

DIANE ROBERTS: Ex-patriot life can be tough for Americans, even here in London, where the natives are real polite and speak good English. Diet Coke is expensive. "The Daily Show" comes on a day late. Nobody likes your president. Nobody understands your country's politics. Never fear. There are Democrats and Republicans right here in London.

They have parties and dinners and rallies and outings to flush out American voters. So I go hang out with the Republican's abroad, U.K., in a pub called The Two Chairmen. That's chair men, as in the poor servants who had to tote the gentry in the sedan chair, not chairman, as in Wall Street, Robert Byron(ph).

It's a nice, dark, brown pub in St. James, near the houses of parliament, with an open fire and a bunch of Republicans being relentlessly cheerful. I feel good, declares one, a financial planner from Georgia. John McCain is going to win this thing. The banker, holding a pint of ale next to her, nods and says, Americans don't want a rock star. They want a rock.

On a different night, I go hang out with Democrats abroad, U.K., in a pub called The Yorkshire Gray(ph). There are financial planners and bankers here, too, and a few students and lawyers - all Barack Obama supporters. They're cautious, apprehensive. I'm kind of worried, says one of the lawyers. The polls look good, but they looked good in '04. Yeah, says a management consultant. There are so many ways this could crash and burn. Not if we get everyone to vote, says Rob, the organizer. He asks for volunteers to go stand on Waterloo Bridge holding their Obama signs.

Members of both the Democratic and Republican clubs canvass parts of London thought to be rich in Americans: Oxford Street, Wimbledon, Canary Wharf, where the big international banks are - or were. I'm told it's not good if both parties' canvassers end up in the same place. There was an incident in front of the Whole Foods in High Street, Kensington. The Democrats were out there with Obama balloons and leaflets and stuff, and some Republicans complained. But mostly everybody is peaceful. London is a very big city with lots of pubs.

HANSEN: Weekend Edition essayist Diane Roberts has already cast an absentee ballot.

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