Posted by: pattiandben | November 5, 2008

3 More Days! Obama’s Swing State Visit & GOTV

Again, thanks to everyone for all their great, warm words of support. I’m sorry if I can’t write back to you personally just yet….gimme 4 more days… But how do I have time to write these long winded updates? Our daily county field office call is at 9:30pm and our statewide conference call is at 10:30pm… this is my time on the computer these last two nights.

Highlights of this email:

*  A look back at Obama’s historic visit on Sunday
*  What I’m doing now to Get Out The Vote!


Here’s a link to some great pix of Obama’s visit:

Here’s a link to my photo blog of the day’s events:

Man, it seems like eons ago when Obama was in town last… but it was only 5 days ago. He’s back here again tomorrow for his 3rd visit since the DNC, to Pueblo which is some two hours south of Denver. If he gets anywhere near the reception he had on Sunday, it will be another one for the books.

I know it’s a word that’s being used a lot, but the Obama rally here in Denver on Sunday truly was historic. This was THE BIGGEST rally Obama has ever seen. Over 100,000 strong came to see the next potential president of the United States speak. The rally started at 11:30am and at 7:30am (when I started working there) there were already several hundred people in line. More than a thousand volunteers came to help and every single one of them was needed.

What did I do? I ‘staffed’ the event, which sounds waaay more lofty than it was. Don’t get me wrong though, what I did really was extremely important. First, I froze my ass (it was about 20 degrees with wind chill). And I was ‘in charge’ of about a 4 foot slab of sidewalk….  to digress a bit, I have to say how amazed I am every single time I see how organized this campaign is. The people running this show are brilliant. It truly blows my mind away.

While people were waiting in line, we had every single person fill out a sheet of paper with their contact info, if they’ve already voted, who they voted for (Obama of course!). And most importantly, while they were filling it out, we tried to convince them to come volunteer during the most critical part of this election… during the last 4 days. We even asked folks to take off election day to help. They had to have this sheet of paper filled out in order to get in the gate. The result, of the 100,000 attendees, 20% signed up to volunteer. Amazing! I also made it my special job to scope out every Asian person I saw to give them a special “Asian Americans for Obama” pin and convince them to come to our Get Out the Vote rally. (It worked!)

It was a beautiful, perfect, sunny day. The atmosphere was jubilant, almost feeling like a big family reunion bbq in the park. The line snaked for I don’t know how many city blocks… 10?? But there weren’t any complaints and people moved in pretty quickly for such a massive event.

After most folks were let in, it was my turn to go stake some ground to see Barack. Luckily I work at the HQs and was able to snag two VIP tickets, one for me and one for my brother Al. This allowed us and 2,000 other lucky folks (mostly our hardest working volunteers) to stand in the area in front of the stage. We were pretty much underneath the huge flag flying on the left (see link for pix). Not knowing it, this was also the prime area to see Obama’s bus pull up and to see him step out of it… I was actually only two rows from the gate and 15 feet from him. Woo hoo! Before he hit the stage, he ducked into the tent next to us and spent some one on one time with the most deserving volunteer… an 86 year old man who lost his wife several months ago and has been volunteering day and night since then. You have to see the video of it… it literally made me cry.

Barack of course, was inspiring. He nailed the major points… the economy, his tax plan, health care, and making this a united nation, not a divided nation. He was also funny, joking that his tax plan will not raise taxes to those making less than $250k… and to about 99.9% of plumbers. I can’t believe I had the opportunity with Al to see Barack just days before the election. A once in a lifetime experience….


Everyone is now “out in the field”. Meaning the main HQs has been emptied out and we have all been assigned to field offices for our massive GOTV efforts (Get Out The Vote). I have set up a volunteer network to continue our AAPI (Asian American) canvassing at 3 Asian grocery stores on Saturday so I can work on GOTV.

I’m stationed in the Arapahoe county head field office in Aurora, which was a republican stronghold until 3 weeks ago when we changed the balance thru voter reg… we went from 7K more registered republicans to 5K more registered dems…. A 12K increase in new democratic voters, making this a democratic county for the first time in history. This is also the county with the greatest amount of Asian Americans. (You see why I was stationed here.)

The field office has so much more energy than the main HQs. There are volunteers constantly streaming in and out. And there’s FOOD! I am finally eating regularly… ok, more than regularly. Local volunteers bring in food throughout the day… from platters of veggies and bags of apples to a 7 quart Le Creuset filled with homemade split pea soup and crockpots of fried rice and burrito stuffing and more. Yay!

I spent all of Thursday afternoon sorting through 50 boxes (about 20 pounds each) of informational door hangers for about 5 hours with Camilla… we split them by precinct and before sunrise on the 4th they’ll be put on the doors of each dem that has not voted and undecided voter. Yes, that’s how good our database it… it gets updated every single night and knocks out all the voters who are McCain supporters and who’ve already voted so we don’t waste our time contacting or bothering them. The door hangers remind them what ID to bring to the poll and where their polling location is. Apparently I’m a superstar at this job… it took us half a day to do this. The folks who sorted the first round of door hangers for tomorrow took 2 days to do it. Maybe I should target a job with this skill set when I get back?!?!

The evening was spent calling volunteers to confirm that they’ll actually be coming to fill their shift on Saturday. Everyone I contacted said yes… except 2 maybes… one was a guy who definitely sounded excitable… here’s the conversation:

“Yeah, I want to volunteer but don’t know if I can yet… can I call someone back?! Um… my wife is in labor right now!” … in the background you can hear his wife having a contraction! I congratulate him and tell him don’t worry about it. We completely understand. He still says, “I dunno, but I might be able to do it. Lemme get a pen to call to confirm….. wait. I can’t find one here. I’m in the hospital right now.” I tell him, “Don’t worry, I’ll call your cell phone back and leave a message with all the information.” Man, is that dedication or what?!?

Time for my half hour ride home….

Go ‘Bama!


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