[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/23/art.elex1.cnn.jpg caption="CNN's Ali Velshi and Mark Preston are headed across the country on board the CNN Election Express."]ABOARD THE ELECTION EXPRESS, Atlanta (CNN) - Once he gets access to the Internet, Lavvy Deondre is confident he will be able to turn his life around.
Deondre is relatively new to Atlanta, and he doesn’t own a computer. Every night he finds a new place to rest his head. Deondre is homeless, but he is also optimistic. He just needs the Internet.
“I want access to the Internet, search the Internet and then try to make some plans to come up with an idea,” Deondre said late Tuesday night as a cold rain soaked his clothes, but clearly not his spirit.
Ali Velshi and I ran into him after talking with several international businessmen following our 400 mile drive from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – the first leg of our cross-country journey to hear what is on voters’ minds.
The two conversations couldn’t have been anymore different. While the group of businessmen talked about how the impact of the U.S. markets affected the global economy, Deondre said the need to build affordable, safe housing was his top priority.
“I would like for the president to break down all of these ghetto situations in every city,” he said. “Every city in the United States has a good side and a bad side. Here in Atlanta it is very bad when you go to other places. All you have to do is just break some apartment building down and rebuild. I am not saying move all blacks out, but bad things are seriously happening there.”
Deondre said he came to Atlanta from Manhattan after his brother died a few months ago. The 37-year-old painter claims the cost of burying his brother cleaned him out, but he thinks there are “more jobs here.”
He is in the process of getting a Georgia identification card, and plans on voting in November.
Deondre, an African-American, immediately spoke about the competitive race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination. Hands down, he said, Clinton is going to win.
“I believe she is going to pull a victory out of this situation,” he said. “I think she has got more votes than him.”
And Deondre said if he had to vote in the race between these two leading Democratic contenders, Clinton would have his vote, in part, because of her husband.
“It is not about white or black or anything like that,” he said. “It is about principles and respect no matter where you go in life. Even though she is going to be president, her husband is still going to try and run things for her. I like Bill Clinton. He is going to step up and help her out.”
When asked if he planned on supporting the Democratic or Republican nominee in November, he smiled and suggested he would be leaning towards the GOP.
“It is going to be more money and more jobs if a Republican is going to get in office,” he said. “I would love for a Republican to get in there.”
When we parted ways, Deondre headed back to the Salvation Army shelter, while we went to our hotel.
- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston