Tag Archives: Campaigning
December 7, 2008

Fired up, ready to go

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The night before election day, myself and several friends attended Obama’s final rally in Manassas, VA. With all the traffic on 66, it took us about 2.5 hours to get from Arlington to Manassas (around 30 miles). We ended up parking in some random neighborhood and followed the mass of people heading towards the Prince William County fairgrounds. I was amazed at how many people had shown up to hear Obama speak. Estimates of the crowd range from 80,000-90,000. We stood around for a few hours, listening to the same five songs played over and over, as well as a few local politicians trying to rile up the crowd, until we saw the blue and red flashing lights announcing the arrival of Obama’s motorcade shortly before 10:30pm. The crowd went wild. I had never seen Obama speak in person and was impressed at how he engaged the crowd, and how stoic he was, even after learning that his grandmother had just passed away. After telling a story from the early days of his campaign, he ended his speech by leading the crowd in a chant of “Fired up! Ready to go!” As the crowd exited the fairgrounds, we lined up along the side of the road and cheered as his motorcade drove by. I think that the general feeling amongst all the attendees was that Virginia would go blue, and Obama would win the Presidency, and we were excited to have been at that historic speech.

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We were all the way in the back, near the “Vote for Change” sign.

We got back to Arlington around 1am or so, but still had a few hours of work ahead of us. Nick had picked up a couple hundred signs from the Obama headquarters and we were tasked with setting them up (or more like pounding them into the ground) at eight or nine polling locations around South Arlington. I finally got back to my apartment around 3:30am and slept for two hours. At 5:45am I walked to my polling location which, thankfully, was located in a building that was only a two minute walk from mine. I thought I would beat the crowd by showing up first thing in the morning, but was surprised to see that there were already 150+ people in line. I waited a little over an hour and a half to cast my vote, but it was well worth it.

Nov. 4, 2008 | MANASSAS, Va. –

Monday night, Barack Obama came full circle.

On a perfect autumn evening in this growing suburb of Washington, on the eve of an election he is favored to win, the Illinois senator and Democratic presidential candidate brought a crowd of 80,000 to cheers with a story of a long-ago rally attended by 20 hardy souls.

In his last campaign stop, Obama concluded his remarks with a story that was a staple of his amazing run-up to his pivotal Iowa victory the first week of January. It was the story prompted by a promise to a female state legislator from Greenwood, S.C., who said she’d consider an endorsement if he would make a trip to her small city. Though Obama and his staff drove out of their way on a rainy morning in late 2007 to attend a small gathering in the remote town, the trip turned out to be a useful diversion.

Obama’s efforts to work the small room that day, he says, were no match for a small, boisterous old woman who “stole his thunder” by leading five minutes’ chanting of “Fired up!” and “Ready to go!” Obama returned to this story to remind people how “one voice can change a room” and how that change can cascade to change a city, then a state, then a country and, eventually, the world. He closed his final speech by leading the massive crowd of supporters, many of whom had battled hours of traffic to stand outside for five hours to see him, in those same trademark chants.

Yet the overall mood in Manassas was strangely subdued. It’s not that the crowd at the Prince William County Fairgrounds was reluctant or bored. You don’t battle rush-hour traffic on I-66 to then stand shoulder to shoulder for hours — and, for most, so far away that you can’t see Obama without binoculars — unless you are committed. It was, rather, the weight of the moment that hung heavy over the proceedings, the culmination of the longest presidential campaign in history.

[...]

To be sure, there will be parties Tuesday night and, presuming the polls are correct, again during inauguration week. But tonight brought a journey to an end — for Obama loyalists, for the media members who have seen him up close and the millions around America who watched him from afar. And so it was for the candidate himself, who regularly speaks of how the campaign has both humbled and inspired him.

“In this campaign, I’ve had the privilege to witness what is best in America — in the stories, in the faces of men and women that I’ve met in countless rallies, town hall meetings, VFW halls, living rooms, diners,” Obama said toward the end of his remarks Monday night, setting up the transition to his story about the fateful trek to Greenwood. “All across America, men and women shared with me their stories, spoke of their struggles. But they also spoke of their hopes and their dreams, their love for their children, their sense of obligations and debts to be paid to earlier generations.” He spoke just hours after learning that his own grandmother had died.

The Greenwood episode brought Obama’s message to a logical Election Eve conclusion, something Axelrod mentioned when I approached him just moments after Obama had delivered the last speech of his candidacy. “I think our closing message was very much our opening message,” said Axelrod. “That’s one of the strengths of this candidacy. We’ve been consistent, so I think people know [Obama] says what he means and means what he says. That’s something people want in their president.”

Asked if he could point to any one thing that worries him most on the eve of the election, Axelrod cited complacency. “I think people are being told we have a lead, but that doesn’t mean anything if people don’t vote.” But you must feel pretty good, right? “I do feel good,” he said. “How can you not feel good in a crowd like this?”

Afterward, the attendees marched back to their cars. Police on motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles worked diligently to keep State Road 234 clear so the campaign caravan of cars, security vans and media buses could make its way toward Dulles airport and the flight waiting to take Obama and his entourage to Chicago. People walked in two orderly streams on opposite sides of the road.

Because the remote section of 234 near the fairgrounds has no street lamps, the red and blue flashing police lights combined with a soft evening fog to blanket the road in an eerie, Technicolor mist. As Obama’s noisy caravan approached from behind, people stopped, turned and broke into applause. It was a presidential moment worthy of a Lawrence O’Donnell script.


December 7, 2008

The Obama campaign’s shock and awe style GOTV in Northern Virginia

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I realize the election was over a month ago, but I had to do a quick post on my experience with the Obama campaign in Northern Virginia.

When I moved across the river to Arlington, I finally decided to stop absentee voting in California and register to vote in Virginia, which was up for grabs in the 2008 election. Unlike California, when you register to vote in Virginia you don’t declare a party. As a newly registered voter with an unknown party affiliation and no past voting history in this state, I was one of those people targeted by the Obama campaign. (I received nothing from the McCain campaign. Did they have any campaign presence in NoVA whatsoever, or were all his supporters just sitting at home bitching on their blogs about how Obama the Muslim socialist terrorist is going to turn the United States into a Soviet Socialist Republic?) This was quite a change from California, where no one really gives a damn about your vote. Over the month of October, I was called three times, my door was knocked on three times, and I received a mountain of literature that was either sent by mail or pushed under my door.

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This is just the lit I received the week before the election. Yes, there was more.

I actually received one of the phone calls from an Obama volunteer while I myself was doing some canvassing.

“Hi, is Lindsay Fincher there?”
“This is Lindsay.”
“Oh, hi, Lindsay. This is so and so from the Obama/Warner campaign in Virginia. Do you mind me asking if you’ve decided who you will be voting for in the upcoming election?”
“Dude, I’m actually canvassing for Obama in Annandale right now. You can go ahead and mark me down as a ’1′ all the way.”
(When canvassing or phone banking you are given several sheets with voter information, i.e. name, address, phone number, and next to this is a row of number 1-5, with a “1″ representing a definite Obama vote.)

Admittedly, I was a bit of a latecomer to Obama. I am no fan of Hillary, but I didn’t see why everyone was making such a big deal about Obama. I’ve had a serious case of political malaise for the past four years and didn’t really pay much attention to the campaign until the end of this summer, when McCain picked Palin as his running mate. That was really a “WTF? Is this dude serious?” moment for me. I felt like I had to do something productive, instead of just ranting on this blog, or to my parents and friends. A lot of them were volunteering for Obama in Virginia, so I decided to join them. I volunteered for a few days in the two weeks leading up to the election and was amazed at how smoothly the campaign operated. Simply put, I’d never seen anything like it. We met at the headquarters in Falls Church where we were given directions to a supporter’s house. Rather than run everything out of the Falls Church office, the campaign had setup satellite locations at various houses throughout the area. There, you would pick up several packets, canvass those, then return to the house for more. It was really quite efficient. The house I worked out of in Annandale had over 75 volunteers that day, and actually ran out of packets by early afternoon (we later learned that the campaign had so many volunteers that this was happening all over NoVA).

As for the canvassing itself, it was the complete opposite of 2000, when I canvassed many of the same areas for Gore and kept encountering Bush voter after Bush voter. This time, though, out of all the people I talked to, only THREE were voting for McCain (and two of them were some incredibly argumentative Catholic priests who thought Biden should be excommunicated from the Church. Ah, so glad I no longer go to church). The rest were for firmly for Obama, and they would invite you into their homes so you could tell their entire family how to vote early, or just talk about Obama. So, while I was the one who was supposed to be convincing them to get out and vote, in the end, it was really their enthusiasm that was affecting me.


January 17, 2008

New Hampshire Reflections

New Hampshire is Clark Country

No, not regarding the recent primary results. More like four years ago. I wrote a few blog entries while I was working in New Hampshire in 2004, but a recent “Can you believe it’s been four years already?” e-mail from a fellow campaign intern started me on this. I don’t have a candidate for this primary, as none of them appeal to me (yet), but all of the recent media coverage made me think, “Damn, I kinda miss that place.”

New Hampshire is Clark Country
Wishful thinking

I arrived in Manchester, New Hampshire on January 7, 2004, loaded down with a duffel bag stuffed with recently acquired winter gear and only a vague idea of what I would be doing for a month. Three of my friends from GW were waiting outside the security checkpoint, Clark signs in hand, to take me to campaign headquarters. They had spent part of their winter break working for the campaign and had sent back amazing reports of what it was like working “in the trenches” of a Presidential primary. I couldn’t wait to get out there.

Being in New Hampshire at that time was a political science major’s dream. This was the real deal, the ideal place for a political junkie fresh out of college. I was hardcore into politics while at George Washington University (naturally, with GW’s location, most GW students were), and spent a considerable amount of time with the College Democrats roaming the suburbs of Virginia and Maryland every weekend to drum up support for whatever Democratic candidate was running. Most of them lost. General Wesley Clark was my man for the 2004 Presidential primary, and I spent my last semester at GW working with GW for Clark and DC for Clark on various events and fundraisers. I had decided to graduate from GW a semester early, and, suddenly without a job, still awaiting a decision from LSE, and generally having no direction in life, I signed on as an intern for the Clark campaign in New Hampshire.

After checking in at campaign headquarters, and then becoming sidetracked with a flat tire in the freezing cold weather, we arrived at the campaign housing, affectionately known as the “slophouse.” It was a two bedroom, one bath apartment that was completely devoid of furniture and contained only a few moldy kitchen appliances. There were about 20 people living there, with suitcases, sleeping bags, and other personal items strewn throughout the apartment. It was a difficult place to sleep, what with the hardwood floors, unreliable heating, and dozens of people snoring loudly. Compared to this, my dorm room back in Moscow was like a suite at the Ritz Carlton.

Early next morning we were back at headquarters with little to do except drink coffee and eat Dunkin’ Donuts. Too many interns, not enough assignments to go around. Field office directors were in Manch that day, loading up on supplies and trolling for volunteers to man their understaffed offices. A director from the Lakes Region asked me if I’d be willing to work up there. I was a bit hesitant, considering that Manch was the epicenter of the state’s political activity, but HQ was overrun with interns who had nothing to do, and the promise of a comfortable bed sealed the deal (I’m easily swayed by certain comforts).

And what a bed it was. I graduated from the “Slophouse” to “Clarkingham Palace”, a large 18th- century farmhouse in Alton Bay that served as a vacation rental during the warmer summer months. Along with a field director, there were four of us interns living there, and we each had our own bedroom with a nice full-size bed, in addition to a TV, full kitchen, laundry, and maid service – definitely the nicest accommodations I’ve ever had while on a campaign, and a refreshing place to crash after a long day of work.

Belgian draft horse at Alton Bay farmhouse
It really was a farmhouse

Our Laconia office was staffed by two full-time field directors, four interns, and a retired couple who drove up from Georgia to lend a hand for a few weeks. We had a lot of help from the locals, who came in to the office to assist with phone banking, letter writing, and occasionally feeding us delicious home-cooked meals. A few college groups drove up on weekends, but they were practically useless, as they spent most of their time on “breaks” getting drunk at Applebee’s and roaming the aisles of the New Hampshire state liquor store.

Updating the voter database
Updating the MS Access voter database – the less glamorous side of campaign work

Phone banking
Phone banking, even worse

The work we performed was more or less the typical assignments you encounter on any campaign (phone banking, visibility, lit drops, etc) and we worked 12-14 hours a day, seven days a week out of the field office in Laconia, about a half hour drive from the farmhouse. I subsisted primarily on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Mountain Dew, and Clark Bars (get it?) and found myself performing incredibly bizarre (to me, at least) activities, like pounding gigantic 4×8 signs into frozen snow and lugging 20 gallons of pancake mix around the Belknap Mill. When the temperature was tolerable (i.e, not in the negatives) we were loaded down with pamphlets and American Son DVDs (the short documentary on Clark) and handed neighborhood maps. We were supposed to knock on the doors of registered voters and hand all this stuff out. If I lived in New Hampshire, I’d probably get pretty sick of all these out of state people knocking on my door, but they were all very friendly. Some of them mentioned I looked really cold and invited me in for hot chocolate or coffee. I was a bit shocked, as we don’t generally invite random door-knocking strangers into our houses back in California, and the whole thing seemed to be the making of a horrible Lifetime movie.

“Are you people CRAZY?!” I wanted to shout at them. “I could be an axe murder. Do you think I’m crazy? You could be an axe murderer! But please, take this free Clark DVD and consider voting for the General.”

Stolen Howard Dean propaganda
Managed to acquire some Howard Dean propaganda while on a lit drop

Sign making
Putting those kindergarten coloring skills to use

That month in New Hampshire was the coldest weather I had ever experienced in my life. Temperatures often dipped into the negatives, and it got to the point where 20 degrees seemed like a warm, brisk temperature. As someone who grew up in an area where winter temperatures averaged in the 70s, I was completely fascinated by the place. How could someone live in this weather, year after year? Why doesn’t everyone just pack up and move to Arizona? And what’s with all the shrinkwrapped boats?

The region that we were responsible for included Lake Winnipesaukee, which covers 69 square miles of New Hampshire. Every day we would pass hundreds of boats that had been pulled out of the now frozen lake and shrinkwrapped in a blue plastic material. It’s not something you see in San Diego or Orange County, so I found it intriguing. While on a lit drop one day, I nearly drove Paul crazy, as I would not shut up about the shrinkwrapped boats. “Dude, that looks so weird! How do you think they do that?!” At one point, he turned the car down a side road and stopped in front of a boat repair and supply center. “I am sick of hearing about this shrinkwrapping! Get out of the car!” Inside the store were three older guys talking about…well, probably boats, I guess. They eyed us suspiciously and asked if we needed anything.

“Well, go ahead and ask them!”

“Yeah, uh, I was just wondering…how do you shrinkwrap boats?”

They explained the process (it apparently involves a heat gun of some sort) and then asked where we were from. Obviously, if I was asking about shrinkwrapping boats I couldn’t have been a local, and the Clark button outed me as yet another carpetbagging campaign worker.

“California, near Palm Springs.”

“Palm Springs, eh? I hear it’s nothin’ but rich people out there. That true?”

“Uh, no. Well, we should probably get back to work. Thanks!”

They were dyed in the wool Republicans, anyways. There was no use in trying to convert them.

New Hampshire debate rally
Rallying outside the candidate’s debate

In addition to lit drops, phone banking, and visibility we were usually planning and staffing events meant to introduce the candidate to local voters. This is when our schedules were the most intense, but at the same time it was the most enjoyable part of working on the campaign. One day, we were out of the house at 6am to plant a ton of Clark ’04 signs along the highway and then off to the Belknap Mill to prep for the pancake breakfast that Clark was speaking at. Do you have any idea how much time it takes to make pancakes for 300 hungry voters? A LOT. Immediately after the breakfast we headed to the Holderness Central School to do setup for a “Conversation with Clark” town hall event, and following that, we were off to another Clark rally with 2,000 in attendance. By the end of the day I could recite his stump speech word for word.

Pancake breakfast prep
Pancake breakfast prep

Pembroke Rally
Met up with Jon, Chad, and Marcus at the Pembroke rally while they were on a campaign trip with GW for Clark

Our final event with Clark was held the evening before the primary. He was following a grueling schedule that would have him swinging through all ten of New Hampshire’s counties to thank his supporters and sway any undecided voters. Each field office was tasked with securing a location for the event, building an attendees list, and taking care of all the logistics. We decided to hold our event, for whatever reason, at the farmhouse we had been living in for the past month, and crammed a large group of locals and members of the press into the first floor of the house.

Group with General Clark
“Dude, the General’s coming to the farmhouse? Guess I should make my bed.”

Later that night, as we were driving back from the office (yes, it was back to the office for a few hours of work after the farmhouse event) we heard over the radio that Clark had won Dixville Notch and Hart’s Location, the two small towns in New Hampshire where the polls open at midnight and close several minutes later after the dozen or so residents have cast their votes. We took it as a very positive sign and a possible foreshadowing of the next day’s results (especially considering that only a few minutes prior to that, the local radio was playing Outkast’s “Hey Ya”, our unofficial campaign song).

It was not to be so, however. After a long and final day of last minute phone calls and visibility in single digit temperatures, we drove down to Manch for the rally with Clark. After all our work, Clark placed third, ahead of John Edwards only by the skin of his teeth. I was disappointed, of course, but even more so than usual (by that time I had become accustomed to working for losing candidates) because out of all the candidates I’ve worked for, he was the only one I’ve ever truly admired. Clark was a brilliant man, but he wasn’t a seasoned politician and was hampered by several missteps and infighting that plagued the early days of the campaign. That following morning I caught a flight back to California. The campaign moved on to South Carolina, hoping for a strong finish in that Southern state’s February 3rd primary. Many of Clark’s supporters remained optimistic following the results in New Hampshire, and I tried to be as well, but as I sat in the terminal waiting for my flight home, I felt that the campaign was over for us. Two weeks later, it officially was.

February 11, 2004

Thank you, General

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So, our time has come…Clark dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination. I am disappointed, of course…I thought that we could have done much better, but Kerry is on a roll. We’ll hear from the pundits about “what went wrong” (skipping Iowa? placing novices in campaign positions they weren’t prepared to deal with? Getting in too late? The horrible argyle sweater? The speeding tickets in Oklahoma? ;) And so on and so on) but it’ll be up to the history books to decide what really happened in regards to the Clark campaign.

General Clark is one of the few political candidates that I have ever truly admired. I loved his dedication to our country and his willingness to stand up for doing what was right in the Balkans, even though it meant being forced out of his position as NATO Supreme Allied Commander.

There were a lot of Democrats who wouldn’t accept Clark as a “true Democrat.” One of the worst things you can do to a Democrat is to call him or her a Republican, and this is something that Clark’s opponents (and their supporters) often did. I don’t think there is anything Clark could have done to prove his Democratic credentials to the people who shouted “But he voted for Nixon and Reagan! He spoke at a Republican Party dinner!” Perhaps many of these people find it difficult to understand why a career military man would have voted for Presidents who were strong on national defense issues during the Cold War…nor did they want to accept that Clark also attended the Democratic Party’s dinner a few weeks after the Republican’s, campaigned for Dems in ’02 Congressional races, and voted Dem since 1992. The above does not matter to them, and those facts were not really instrumental in convincing me that Clark was a “true Democrat.” If there was one thing that convinced me that Clark was a champion of Democratic values, it was his vocal support for humanitarian intervention to stop genocide in Rwanda and the Balkans. The fact remains that several Democratic leaders – the current standard bearers of our party – shirked from their duty of defending human rights and honoring multilateral agreements because it was not politically popular at the time. Clark, on the other hand, advocated intervention to stop the genocide in Rwanda and the ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. Well, those credentials are Democratic enough for me.

We had a short campaign – 5 months – but I loved every minute I was working on it, from the DC fundraisers to the freezing temperatures of New Hampshire. I couldn’t imagine spending 3 weeks in New Hampshire for another candidate…

I am especially thankful for all the great friends I made while working with DC for Clark, GW for Clark, New Hampshire for Clark, and so on. It was an honor to work with all of you…I couldn’t have picked a finer group of people to join in canvassing, phone banking, and noon time visibility in the single digit temperatures of New Hampshire.

Many thanks to the supporters in the Lakes Region that provided us with wonderful housing, cooked us some delicious dinners, and, in general, took good care of us volunteers.
But most of all, THANK YOU GENERAL CLARK!

Now let’s focus on getting Bush out of the White House, shall we?

February 9, 2004

Send me to Boston – Vote Clark!

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It’s official – I’m one of California’s 241 District Level Delegates for Wesley Clark. With any luck I’ll be representing California’s lovely 45th Congressional District at the DNC convention in Boston. So come on California, vote for Wes Clark on March 2nd!

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January 29, 2004

Goodbye, dear old Granite State

I’m back in Palm Desert, California…should I mention that it’s 75 degrees right now? Yeah, that’s right…no more long johns, fleece, or snow boots for Lindsay!

Anyways, my last days in New Hampshire were a lot of fun. The office was full of volunteers the weekend before the election, so we were able to do tons of phone calling, canvassing, and visibility. On a side note, the difference between the weekenders and fulltimers is pretty amusing. We got a van full of college kids from New York, and they would not stop talking about how they were going to the NH State Liquor Store to buy tons of alcohol and get plastered. Then they would take a 2 hour break during prime calling hours to go to Applebee’s for dinner and drinks…we were 3 days away from the primary! Focus, people, focus! Oh well…they did some work, so they weren’t completely useless.

On Monday we did some last minute lit dropping and canvassing. Laura, Paul, and I were sent to drop lit and DVD packets in an area a few minutes north of Laconia. The houses were pretty far apart, so we just drove from house to house and dropped the DVDs on doorsteps. The houses we were dropping at were right on a huge lake (don’t remember the name of it…maybe it was Lake Winnipesaukee) and I remarked how interesting it was that all the boats were shrinkwrapped. Laura and I started wondering how exactly you go about shrinkwrapping a boat, and Paul got so annoyed by the discussion that he drove us to a marina office so we could learn about shrinkwrapping boats. The guy inside the office explained the process…turns out they use a big heat gun. You learn something new every day…

Later that evening we returned to the farmhouse because General and Mrs. Clark were coming to visit. The Clarks were on a one day 10 county tour of New Hampshire, and were stopping at our farmhouse in Alton to greet local supporters and volunteers. The press bus proved to be a minor annoyance, as for some reason the driver didn’t go where we were directing him towards, and he succeeded in tying up traffic while he tried to execute a turn on a small country road. This local guy was really annoyed that he couldn’t get home and wanted to know what the hell was going on, so we told him. Laura says she saw him inside the house later, so it’s possible that a disgruntled motorist was converted to a Clark supporter. Once we got the Clarks and press inside the house, we went in to listen to Clark speak. There were about 50+ people crammed into the dining area/kitchen area. Probably the most hilarious part of that evening was when Clark was coming towards Laura and I but Laura was turned the other way and he tapped her on the shoulder…she turned around and was like “Oh!”…I guess you had to be there, but it was great. Clark then made a really short speech (maybe 3-5 mins or so…a shortened version of his stump speech) and then Deanna (the wonderful local supporter that handed her lovely farmhouse over to us volunteers, and invited us to her other house to watch the Iowa caucuses and enjoy some delicious homemade pizza and steamed mussels…she rocks!) stood up by Clark to make a short speech. She thanked him for running and then started talking about Tom, Joel, Mike, and myself (the 4 full time interns at the office) and how we worked late into the night to get Clark the nomination, were very dedicated to the campaign etc etc…they were some very nice remarks. After the speeches, General and Mrs. Clark came into the living room to meet with just us volunteers for about 10 minutes. It was kind of surreal…here we were chatting with the Clarks in the living room where we were staying. Usually during the evening we kick back, eat some dinner, and watch C-SPAN or Blind Date (yeah, don’t laugh…there is not much of a selection late at night), but that evening we were having a nice discussion with General Clark. Mrs. Clark is awesome, too…she will make a great First Lady.

Later that night we learned that Clark won Dixville Notch and Hart’s Location, which was pretty cool. Guess what song was playing on the car radio as the residents of Dixville Notch cast their ballots…”Hey Ya” by Outkast!

On the day of the primary we performed the usual GOTV (get out the vote) tasks…calling people and reminding them to vote…doing viz outside the polling places, etc. After the polls closed we headed down to Manchester, went to the rally, had some dinner, and then headed to the hotel we were staying at. I headed out the next morning…luckily the snowfall wasn’t too heavy and my plane was able to get out of NH. The campaign said they were shooting for 3rd place, and that’s what we got, so I guess that’s alright, but I really wish we could have pulled a 2nd place showing.

If you ever get the chance to work on a Presidential primary in NH, don’t pass it up. It’s hard work, long hours (12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week) but you will have so much fun doing your job, and you’ll be working for a candidate you actually believe in. Where else but New Hampshire would you be able to have a 10 minute meeting with your candidate without having to donate $2,000? The citizens of NH love being “first in the nation” no matter how much they may complain about all the phone calls they get from the different candidates. They are extremely nice up there…for instance we were out doing viz and some random lady got out of her car and handed out cups of hot chocolate she bought at Dunkin Donuts for us…that was much appreciated. The local supporters are wonderful people…handing over their houses and apartments so volunteers could live there…cooking us pasta and lasagna for dinner…dropping a few pizzas by the office for lunch…bringing donuts in the morning…basically making sure we were being taken care of.

In closing, my 3 weeks in New Hampshire were absolutely amazing. I’ll have some pictures up soon…I only brought a disposable camera with me, but Laura and the other volunteers took a lot of pics with their digital cameras, so I should be posting those in the days to come.

January 27, 2004

D-Day

Today’s the day….who will come out on top?

I’ve got some cool stories about General and Mrs. Clark hanging out at the farmhouse with us…I’ll post them when I get back to CA. Not much time here…need to get out the vote. We are spending the day in the Lakes Region and then heading down to Manch tonight to join up with all the other Clark supporters. My plane leaves around 11am tomorrow…I can’t wait to get back to the warm weather of Palm Desert.

January 25, 2004

Rally ’round the 4×8, comrades!

Greetings from the Granite State…not much time to write anything, but here’s something…

Anyone see the debate on Thursday? Did you see me mixing it up with the Kerry supporters outside the debate? The place was a damn circus…I loved it. Kerry had his supporters parade down the street to the entrance of the debate. There were tons of them (including bagpipers and Kerry’s bus, the “Real Deal Express”). The Clark and Dean supporters joined together and mounted an offensive against the Kerry parade. We charged uphill with our signs and crashed into the parade. The media loved it.


We’ve been doing a lot of canvassing, which is great when it’s 10 degrees outside and some moron didn’t clear the snow off the sidewalks. NH has been great, though. The local supporters are awesome and cook us dinner and help us out a ton.

Clark is coming to the farmhouse tomorrow night…I guess I better clean up my room and make my bed…I’m being serious, too.

January 18, 2004

Pancakes with Wes

Have I mentioned how great it is to be in New Hampshire for the primaries?

We had 3 Clark events on Saturday, so we were out of the house at 6am to put up tons of road signs and do event setup. The weather was a balmy 20 degrees, which is actually pretty warm compared to the temps of the past few days.

Event #1 – Pancake Breakfast


See that apron Clark is wearing? Yeah, we took turns trying it on the night before the event…

The pancake breakfast was held in downtown Laconia at the Belknap mill. Around 300 people showed up to enjoy some pancakes and ask General Clark some questions. Before Clark spoke to the crowd, he did the obligatory flipping of pancakes for the press in the kitchen. After Clark made a few pancakes, he offered them to the volunteers and members of the press that were in the room. It was great…I was served pancakes by the former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. Now how many people can say that?


Mmmm…pancakes cooked by the General.

Event #2 – Town Hall Meeting
The next event was a “Conversation with Clark” at the Holderness Central School.


Over 500 people showed up to the school (which is literally in the middle of nowhere) to watch “American Son”, listen to Clark speak for a few minutes, and then ask him questions. Prior to the event we were out doing some visibilty so people could find the place, and I was standing off to the side of the entrance to the school building greeting the attendees and propping up one of the Clark 4×8 foot signs, when I noticed that General Clark and his entourage had arrived. They were heading towards the entrance when Clark made a detour and came over to shake my hand and thank me for my work. I love Clark…what a guy! The event itself went very well…I’ve heard Clark’s stump speech so many times that I can practically recite it.

Event #3 – All-America Day Rally





The final event was the All-America Day Rally, which reminded me a lot of a high school pep rally, except this time we weren’t cheering for the Aztecs – we were cheering for General Clark. Over 2,000 people packed a high school gym to listen to Michael Moore speak about why he is endorsing Clark, and then hear from the General himself. The rally was awesome…it was great to see so much energy in one room, and Moore did a great job of firing up the crowd. Afterwards, Moore autographed my Clark04 sign, so I’ve got a pretty cool souvenir from my time in NH. I also got to see Chad, Marcus, Jon, and Amy, which was cool.




OK, back to work…

January 13, 2004

Back to the negative temps

Damn, I’m tired. We left the farmhouse at 7:30 to do some rush hour visibility, then spent some time putting up 2 huge 4×8 ft Clark signs, which is fun to do when the temp is in the 20s, its snowing, and the ground is practically frozen. Twenty degrees actually isn’t too bad…we were lucky to have this warm spell so we could get a lot of outdoor activities done. It’s back to the negative temps for the next 3 days, though, and 9am tomorrow it’s supposed to “feel like -35″….ooooh fun.

We’ve got Clark for 2 events on Saturday – a town hall meeting and pancake breakfast – so we are building a crowd for that and getting a lot of positive responses (even from a large number of Republicans). It’s funny – the people here get really excited when you tell them Wes will be flipping pancakes.

I’m so glad I decided to come up to NH for 3 weeks…it’s so exciting here. The weather could be a tad bit warmer though (see, I told you I was going to complain about the weather).