The Year of the Youth Vote

Young people are voting in numbers not seen in decades. Obama is a big beneficiary. Will they make the difference?

Robyn Twomey and David Yellen for TIME

University of California at Berkeley student, Liliana Loofbourow, 27, is torn between voting for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton

Senator Claire McCaskill is the highest-ranking Democrat in Missouri, and Missouri picks Presidents. The Show-Me State has voted for the winner in 25 of the past 26 elections. This is why the contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination fought so hard for McCaskill's endorsement. As her wary advisers helped her weigh the risks and rewards of siding with powerful Hillary Clinton or charismatic Barack Obama, neutrality began to look appealingly safe.

But there's something about an 18-year-old that can't abide careful hedging and cautious steps. The Senator's daughter Maddie Esposito had seen the way...

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