Posted by: Patrick Barbanes | October 13, 2008

My First Obama Campaign Event

So me, my wife and daughter went to an Obama campaign community organizing event. Many more people than I expected to see. Tables of mostly new volunteers like me and my wife divided into neighborhood teams. Lot of excited energy. Some rhythmic hand-clapping brought everyone to attention and entertained my daughter who joined in, then an impressive young dude led a Powerpoint presentation about the campaign, purpose of the meeting, and what to expect. Best part was an hour-by-hour projection of total votes in the state on voting day. Obama not winning until the very final hours. One woman at a table blurted out, “Your making me very, very nervous here!” But in the end, given the projections, Obama takes the state and it’s electoral votes. Whew. I’m looking forward to seeing how the real results match the projection.

One powerful strategy at the meeting was for the meeting leader to tell us his personal story, and emphasizing that in trying to reach undecided voters that it was our personal stories that would connect most – not some boring recitation of the issues. But to frame the issues or the “why” we’re for Obama in a personal way. So then we went around the table – and each table was doing this – telling our story. Hard part for me: there’s not only ONE story, as I suspect there’s not for the others. But some of the volunteers make really touching and passionate statements about their lives or their thoughts or emotions and why they’re voting for Obama.

After the stories, we learned about canvassing and phone-banking. It was loud and noisy and our team became a bit disorganized at this point. My wife, too, was getting hungry (no breakfast) and didn’t want to eat the pizza they’d brought in. (I thought the pizza was a nice, and unexpected touch.)

So the team disbanded and headed for the office of a local lawyer, where we’d do some phone-banking.

Me and family headed to a restaurant for lunch, then I dropped them off at home before heading up to the law office. I called about twenty phone numbers. A lot of no answers. Of the answers, a few chilly receptions. One woman said she didn’t want to say who she was voting for when I asked her if she was voting for Obama, but she tossed back the famous, “Is the Pope Catholic?” question. I put her down as “Leaning” for Obama.

One guy seemed pretty upset, because I think I was calling for his wife. He said “she doesn’t live here, and her name is not ____ anymore.” So maybe it was his was EX-wife.

One very nice gentleman said he was was voting “reluctantly” for Obama, as he was a Hillary supporter. I encouraged him to vote early and told him where he could go to do that.

I’ve still got my list of 25 names of undecided voters in my neighborhood. Gotta knock on those doors. Don’t want them deciding based on some recent McCain ads.


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