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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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February 27, 2008 10:12 AM

Liberty seeks truth

Posted by David Postman

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Somehow it seems fitting that Lady Liberty is not rushing to any decision about Tuesday’s presidential primary.

“I’m not sure who to believe,” said Gloria Wilburn from inside her large, foam costume. She says she’s trying to decide between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. They seem close on the issues, but she’s withholding judgment until she gets a better sense about which one would really follow through with their promises.

Wilburn is 40. She has lived all her life here, she says, “in all four corners of
Columbus.” I found her on the southern outskirts of town. For the third season she is reprising her role as the Statue of Liberty as part of a promotion for a tax prep service.

The foam head she wears is so big it won’t fit through the door of the office. I saw her come out after a break with a colleague carrying the head and helping her to put it all together for another shift on the snow-covered sidewalk. It’s cold today and she does a little dance to keep warm and to help attract attention as she waves to passing drivers.

I found myself making eye contact with the foam head rather than the screened portal Wilburn sees through while in costume.

Playing a dancing national monument is one of several jobs she does during the year. Outside of tax service she does warehouse work and house cleaning. She’s divorced and the mother of two grown children.

Wilburn says she was glad to hear Obama and Clinton talking about the economy in Ohio. And she’s convinced she’ll vote Democratic this year, though she doesn’t always.

I look for whoever I think would be the best for the country.

She had to say that twice because the costume head tends to muffle talk, even important political speech.

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