Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Obama: On Being Helpful and Hopeful

Although it's very narrow indeed, Obama has opened up a slight lead over McCain in the latest CBS/NY Times and Reuters/Zogby polls. This suggests that the GOP convention/Palin "bounce" has been damped out, and that the disasters on Wall Street are reminding voters that the economy matters more to them than lipstick and moose (mousse?). McCain is trying to distance himself from the Bush administration on the economy, but it doesn't seem to be working very well. I'm sure they're cooking up some fresh lies and dramas for the coming weeks to try to distract voters from the issues as Palin has done for a couple of weeks now.

Meanwhile Obama remains cool and unflappable, good qualities in a president I think, though some supporters think he needs to act more passionate. I think he and his team are just running with their game plan, efficiently doing what it takes, and since I've been watching the update videos from campaign manager David Plouffe, I've been impressed with how focused and methodical they are in covering all the bases. They are doing well with money, but they still need more to cover all the battleground states. I've given a few $25 "matching fund" donations to encourage first-time contributors this week - it's nice to receive their personal notes.

I too am trying to stay focused, even in the face of phone call frustration. It seems New Hampshire voters are wise to this political calling thing, and most seem to use their answering machines to screen their calls. I have gotten through to some undecided voters, providing some information that could possibly affect their decisions, and working to get someone in the NH campaign to help an elderly lady I spoke with to vote by absentee ballot (she wants to vote for Obama but didn't think she'd be able to get to the polls). I even had a few enjoyable discussions with Obama supporters - very energizing. This weekend I'll be back in New Hampshire to canvass some more. It's pretty small stuff, but if thousands and thousands of people do this sort of small stuff (and they are), it could add up to something big. I'm nowhere near complacent about this - I'm guessing it will be a very close election and we will need to push all the way - but I am feeling somewhat helpful, and somewhat hopeful.

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