As Sandy blows through the campaign, Obama volunteers in Ohio weather handful of paper cuts

October 31, 2012

Jack Schnedler is making me look bad. However, I have a real job. Here’s his latest report from the front lines of the 2012 campaign.

By Jack Schnedler
BDA Special Correspondent

Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have canceled campaign appearances this week in Ohio as national attention focuses on the vast East Coast destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy.

But the President’s re-election ground game in the Buckeye State keeps rolling along, with volunteers like wife Marcia and I in the trenches. We Little Rock Schnedlers, retired at age 69, are working for nine days based at an Obama field office in suburban Dayton — where snow flurries and whistling wind made Tuesday morning feel like winter.

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Both of us have already been wounded in action here, though not via any fisticuffs with rabid Romney supporters. We’re nursing a variety of paper cuts inflicted while handling a seemingly endless flow of get-out-the-vote material for next week.

So far we haven’t met any actual Obama voters other than our fellow volunteers and paid campaign staffers at the office in a Trotwood strip mall. Those face-to-face encounters will come Saturday, Sunday, Monday and on Election Day next Tuesday.

Each of those days, we’re scheduled to spend four or five hours knocking on doors to help make sure our side’s potential voters actually go to the polls. We may also be out early on Monday and Election Day attaching “Be Sure to Vote” messages to doors.

That’s the material we and another 15 or so volunteers prepared during these past two days — more than 40,000 door hangers to be placed Monday with customized reminders of each household’s poll location and another more than 40,000 detailed stickers to be placed early Election Day as a final nudge to vote. (Similar preparations, we’ve been told, are going on at more than 100 other Obama offices in Ohio.)

The paper cuts are evidence of the 14 hours of this honest and repetitive labor the Schnedlers put in over the two days while getting to know our fellow Obama partisans. One of them, hearing that we’re from Arkansas, made a wise crack about Mike Huckabee that labeled him as “The Huckster.”

We figure to be doing some telephone canvassing the next three days to likely Obama voters before we hit the streets Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Election Day.

If all this get-out-the-vote effort seems excessive or redundant, especially in a state where widespread early voting has already taken place, the Obama campaign clearly believes will pay off.

“You can never do too much in a race this important and this close,” said Monica, the organizer running the Trotwood office.

While we volunteers did the counting and folding of those myriad Election Day door stickers on Tuesday, another paid staffer was calling elsewhere around the country seeking more workers to come to Ohio for the final push starting this weekend.

Evidently, there are never enough volunteers and never enough reminders aimed at your side’s identified voters. The energy Marcia and I are seeing here makes evident how high Obama’s campaign sees the stakes for the 18 electoral votes of Ohio, where most polls continue to show the president ahead but not by very much.

P.S. Our first direct voter pitch took place Tuesday evening when we dined at a pleasant Oriental restaurant called Shen near our extended-stay motel.

At the end of the meal, our jolly young waitress asked why we were in Dayton.

When we told her, she said, “That’s great.”

I asked, “Are you voting for Obama?”

“Yes.”

“Have you done early voting?”

“Not yet.”

“We hope you will.”

“I should. My vote will cancel out my step-father’s. He’s a hopeless Republican.”


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