1000 Doors for Obama — 1 month, 1000 doors, $5000

T-minus 28 days: First Day of Canvassing, more
October 7, 2008, 8:45 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Well yesterday I did my first day of canvassing, and it was certainly successful.  But before I get to the details about the canvass, I was presented with an interesting opportunity yesterday.  Before I headed out to hit the pavement, I was asked by the regional director if I was interested in a paid position as a Deputy Field Organizer.  Sounds fancy right?  Well basically the job consisted of half a day of organizing volunteers and half a day of canvassing, which would probably end up being at least an 8-10 hour day each week day, along with 6 hours a day of canvassing on the weekends.  While this proposal is probably close to 3/4 of what I intended to be doing anyway, I have decided against taking the (paid) position.  I will essentially be doing this job, but without the benefit of pay or the commitment of having to be there every day.  Although I’m committed to doing anything I can over the next month, I’d also like to have some time to spend with my girlfriend and work on some other projects I have going on.  So, I’m going to decline the position.

That said, I picked up my packet from my would-be supervisor Spencer White (the field organizer for my area) and headed out.  The packet was a heavy one, and the map looked kind of scattered.  Not exactly a friendly first day turf to deal with.  But it turned out to not be too bad.  The neighborhood was off of Broad Street, just north of North Pointe (Costco, etc) in a nice shady (thankfully, it was hot) couple of streets.  The demographic was quintessential Durham.  Low income housing right next door to beautiful houses with screened in porches.  A housekeeper answering the door of a school principle’s house next door to an elderly African American woman with her dog.  But one thing was certainly true across this very heterogeneous neighborhood – the support for Barack Obama.  It wasn’t quite as enthusiastic of supporters as for instance, my neighborhood, which has an Obama lawn sign for every two houses and you frequently see people doing yard work in their Obama shirts.  But most everyone I talked to was a supporter.  

The raw numbers – 94 doors knocked, about 35 voter contacts, and, most importantly, 6 new voter registrations.

One story to share – I spoke with an elderly man, probably in his 60’s, for almost a half an hour.  He came to his door with a skeptical look on his face, and I told him I was from the Obama campaign.  The first words from his mouth were unsettling, but not all that surprising, given the current news cycle.  “I want to know more about Obama’s associations with radicals from the sixties.”  I took a deep breath and explained to him that Bill Ayers, a former (rehabilitated) member of the Weather Underground, took part in bombings of government buildings when Obama was 8 years old.  They had a brief acquaintance as members of the political establishment in Chicago when they co-served on a charitable trust board which gave money back to the community.  But then I made the important pivot, asking him how that information is going to help the economy, or end the war, and then we launched into an extensive conversation about the issues ranging from health care reform to the bailout to the war.  

It was really nice to actually talk about the issues, but its important to note that the Bill Ayers scary terrorist tactic will probably have some legs over this week.  Obama would be smart to tackle it head on at the debate tonight, and I hope he does.  However, I don’t think the appropriate strategy is to say, well Senator McCain is also associated with some shady characters (which he is), because all it does is legitimize Obama’s associations.  I guess it could work if you tie it into the current situation – ie, Obama’s connection to Ayers is irrelevant, however McCain’s connection to Charles Keating and the collapse of the Savings and Loan industry is very relevant.  (By the way, it’s pretty impressive to know that Obama had that website ready to go, with a 13 minute documentary just waiting to hit the nets at the right time.  That site/doc is not something that was thrown together over the weekend in response to the ‘taking off the gloves’ campaign that McCain has initiated.  I wonder what else they have waiting in the wings.)

Ok, off to hit the streets.  I’ll be back tonight with a reaction to the debate.


1 Comment so far
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A once in a lifetime cause. He is going to win in NC, and kick ass all across the country. If everyone keeps working, it’s a done deal. I’ve been going out on weekends a bit….

Comment by William Noland

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