October 29, 2004

Swing Set

A journey through the minds of undecided voters. For months—through the Swift Boat ads, the convention speeches, the debates—we tracked a few of these voters to find out why they just can't make up their minds. Plus, a story of someone courting undecided voters, and another about people trying to sabotage undecided voters (and everyone else).


Host Ira Glass asks how it's possible that some people still don't know what they think of President Bush just a few days before election day. (2 minutes)
Act One

My Buddy, Hackett

Ira spends hours talking to James Hackett, known to his friends, and by the end of the story, to Ira, as Gig. He's a doctor in Cincinnati and a lifelong Republican. But he hates President Bush. Pretty much hates everything he's done since taking office. Over several months, he sways from Kerry to Bush and back again, sometimes with Ira's help, before coming to a final decision—one that probably surprises even him. (18 minutes)
Act Two

Cold-cock The Vote

Jack Hitt tells tales of voter sabotage so outrageous that we swear will get you yelling at your radio and calling for people's heads. (14 minutes)
Act Three

One Son, One Vote

Matthew Chasteen is 18 years old. He's joined the Navy, and he's voting for the first time. He doesn't know what to do. His brother David, an Iraq war veteran, is pushing Kerry, even though he'd been an enthusiastic Bush supporter last time around. His mom Monica is probably voting for Bush. She's in the Air Force Reserve and is headed to Iraq next year. Matthew is mostly confused by both their arguments. Producer Sarah Koenig goes to watch the first presidential debate with him, and suddenly Matthew makes his mind up with a vengeance. (14 minutes)
Act Four

He's Got Legs

This American Life producer Lisa Pollak goes canvassing with her friend Andy in Ohio. He's a first time door-knocker for MoveOn. He knows what to say to Kerry supporters. He knows what to say to Bush supporters. But he's a little hazy about how to handle the undecideds. (8 minutes)