The Dems' Really Young Guns

Barack Obama has energized the party's twentysomethings. And those under 20? They're nuts about him

David Bowman for TIME

Gilbert-Pederson, at 17 the youngest delegate, got his start making signs for Walter Mondale when he was 12.

David Gilbert-Pederson does a pretty good impression of a grizzled old pol. A delegate from Minneapolis and full-time Barack Obama field worker, he's on his fifth campaign, having cut his teeth working for Walter Mondale's brief Senate run back in 2002. Although he's on constant alert for surprise swift-boat-style attacks from the right, Gilbert-Pederson reports that Obama's operation is "one of the best that I've ever seen in a presidential race."

There's just one thing about him that doesn't fit the hard-boiled, seen-it-all image: Gilbert-Pederson isn't yet old enough to vote. At 17, he will be the youngest Democratic delegate in...