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WNY family comes face to face with Clintons as they vote in Chappaqua

Four-year-old Jackson Joyce woke up at 4:30 a.m. with instructions: It's time to go meet the president.

Or the soon-to-be president, if his grandfather's prediction is correct.

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Eric Pearlstein, with his wife and daughter, roused Jackson early to head from their Westchester County home to the polling site where Hillary and Bill Clinton would be casting their votes.

Jackson is a tad young to appreciate the magnitude of meeting the Democratic nominee and a former president on Election Day, but his family knew how to convince him.

"He's into superheroes, and the president often gives superheroes assignments, so he knows the president is an important person," said Pearlstein, a former principal at Boston Valley Elementary School who lived in Western New York for 26 years and is now retired downstate.

The family – which included Pearlstein, his wife Elizabeth, daughter Rachael Joyce and Jackson – arrived at the polling site in Chappaqua before 5:30 a.m. The Secret Service shuffled the onlookers around a bit; eventually, Jackson and his family ended up near a contingent of about 40 reporters.

A couple hours later, a motorcade pulled up and the Clintons emerged and thanked the crowd. As Pearlstein recalls it, Hillary Clinton "made a comment how it was wonderful to be around neighbors who came out to see her, and that she's glad it's coming to an end."

As the Clintons worked the rope line, they found Jackson and reached down to shake his hand.

He was still wearing his Spider-Man pajamas which, for him, was fitting.

The president gives superheroes instructions, after all. And she might just become the president.

"We told (Jackson) that if she had an assignment, she’d know who he is," Pearlstein said. "He agreed that was a good idea."

Email Tim O'Shei at

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