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Obama Launches 50-State Voter Registration Drive

By Garance Franke-Ruta
Sen. Barack Obama may not yet be the Democratic Party's presidential nominee, but Saturday morning his campaign launched in more than 100 other locations across the country a national voter registration drive intended to transform the electorate - or at least register more Democrats -- in advance of November's general election.

Dozens of men and women - black, white, Asian and Latino - turned out to Busboys & Poets, a cafe cum bookstore in Arlington's Shirlington Village, to pick up voter registration packets and then head out to find new voters amid the strip malls and supermarkets of Northern Virginia, politically significant region and Obama stronghold.

A lot could rest on their success: No president in modern times has won office without winning some Southern states. Virginia -- once a solidly conservative Southern state -- is now in political flux, thanks especially to rapid population changes in its north, and it has a history of having elected an African American governor. Many believe Obama needs a strong performance in the state to sustain his presidential hopes.

Many of those picking up packets were longtime Obama hands, having volunteered for him already. Some were part of his drive to win the Feb. 12 Potomac Primary, what analysts at the time called a turning point in the presidential nominating contest.

The Obama campaign doesn't yet have a Virginia office -- the pre-primary ones existed for just weeks -- and has only a handful of paid staff on the ground, preferring for the time being to continue to rely on its volunteers. "We're focusing on our primary right now," said Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan, "but we're building a nationwide grass-roots effort ... Obviously, this registration drive is part of that."

Some canvassers met with more success than others did in their two- to three-hour stints. Josh Shear, 24, president of George Washington University Law for Obama, spent the morning with a blonde female friend at the Rosslyn Metro station and reported back in with "eight or nine" completed new voter registration forms. Vernell Gibbs, 47, a Verizon employee from Front Royal who came out for her first-ever Obama volunteer event, brought back five forms from shoppers at the Van Dorn Center Giant. Paul Wilmot, 42, a technology account manager, skipped the Panera Bread restaurants and Giant food stores urged on him by the two Obama staffers at Busboys. Instead, he went door-to-door in public housing projects in Old Town Alexandria. He picked up one just new voter, and only after doing two swings on the same street, slowly winning residents' trust.

Gene Kippins, 55, a contract manager for a government agency, had more luck in the same Old Town area, which he visited with Wanda Savage and Monica Thompson. They not only registered seven voters in the public housing projects, their infectious enthusiasm got them invited back for a block party Saturday night where, they were told, they would win many more.

"If Obama is elected, Lord have mercy, this country is going to change," Kippins said. "This country is going to be the country our forefathers intended it to be."

"This is the first time in my life, as an American of African descent, I have felt proud, and, after 26 years in the military serving my country, I finally understand why I did that," he added, emphasizing that he was a U.S. Air Force veteran.

Theodore Fikre, 33, of Alexandria, came back from canvassing eager to talk about the Ethiopians for Obama group he has organized, while Cristina Chiappe, 31, the Northern Virginia Latino outreach grass-roots coordinator for the campaign, made sure to emphasize that Obama's appeal to minorities regionally was broader than in other areas.

"It's not just Latinos we are trying to reach out to, but all minorities," she said. "Ethiopians, all East Africans come out in huge numbers for Barack Obama." She pointed out that the region's Latinos had, unlike Latinos in Texas and California, preferred Obama to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. And. like Kippins, her reasons for backing Obama were deeply felt.

"If Barack Obama is the president, the message it will send to my children, to all minority children, is that there is a place for you in this country," said the Peruvian immigrant, now a naturalized American citizen, tearing up at the thought while sitting next to her two toddlers. "It's so personal to me."

By Post Editor  |  May 10, 2008; 6:31 PM ET
 
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Posted by: datitesgna | May 20, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

I think it's a shame that Obama doesn't reach out to independent voters abroad. I think there are more independent voters abroad than there are Democrats Abroad.

Posted by: Jerry Phail | May 14, 2008 1:07 AM | Report abuse

Wow Wash Post needs to start blocking IPs from political offices

Posted by: LOL | May 11, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

DON'T BE DUPED !!!

IT'S ABOUT ELECTABILITY !!!

Large numbers of Republicans have been voting for Barack Obama in the DEMOCRATIC primaries, and caucuses from early on. Because they feel he would be a weaker opponent against John McCain. With Hillary Clinton you are almost 100% certain to get quality, affordable universal health care very soon.

But first, all of you have to make certain that Hillary Clinton takes the democratic nomination and then the Whitehouse. NOW! is the time. THIS! is the moment you have all been working, and waiting for. You can do this America. "Carpe diem" (harvest the day). You will have to work together on this and be aggressive, relentless, and creative. Americans face an even worse catastrophe ahead than the one you are living through now.

You see, the medical and insurance industry mostly support the republicans with the money they ripped off from you. And they don't want you to have quality, affordable universal health care. They want to be able to continue to rip you off, and kill you and your children by continuing to deny you life saving medical care that you have already paid for. So they can continue to make more immoral profits for them-selves.

Hillary Clinton has actually won by much larger margins than the vote totals showed. And lost by much smaller vote margins than the vote totals showed. Her delegate count is actually much higher than it shows. And higher than Obama's. She also leads in the electoral college numbers that you must win to become President in the November national election. HILLARY CLINTON IS ALREADY THE TRUE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE!

As much as 30% of Obama's primary, and caucus votes are Republicans trying to choose the weakest democratic candidate for McCain to run against. These Republicans have been gaming the caucuses, and open primaries where it is easier to vote cheat. This is why Obama has not been able to win the BIG! states primaries. Even with Republican vote cheating help. Except North Carolina where 35% of the population is African American, and approximately 90% of them block voted for him. African Americans are only approximately 17% of the general population.

Hillary Clinton has been OUT MANNED! OUT GUNNED! and OUT SPENT! 4 and 5 to 1. Yet Obama has only been able to manage a very tenuous, and questionable tie with Hillary Clinton.

If Obama is the democratic nominee for the national election in November he will be slaughtered. That is crystal clear now. Because all of the Republican vote cheating help will suddenly evaporate. And the demographics, and experience are completely against him. All of this vote fraud and republican manipulation has made Obama falsely look like a much stronger candidate than he really is.

You will have another McGovern catastrophe where George McGovern lost 49 of 50 states. And was the reason the super-delegates were created to keep that from happening again. Don't let that happen to the party and America again super-delegates. You have the power to prevent it. The only important question now is who can best win in November. And the answer is HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON. That fact is also now crystal clear.

And YOUNG PEOPLE. DON'T BE DUPED! Think about it. You have the most to lose. As do African Americans. Support Hillary Clinton. She will do her best for all of you. And she will know how to best get it done on day one.

The democratic party needs to fix this outrage. Everyone needs to throw all your support to Hillary Clinton NOW! So you can end this outrage against YOU the voter, and against democracy.

The democratic party, and the super-delegates have a decision to make. Are the democrats, and the democratic party going to choose the DEMOCRATIC party nominee to fight for the American people. Or are the republicans going to choose the DEMOCRATIC party nominee through vote fraud, and gaming the DEMOCRATIC party primaries, and caucuses.

Fortunately the Clinton's have been able to hold on against this fraudulent outrage with those repeated dramatic, and heroic comebacks of Hillary Clinton's. Only the Clinton's are that resourceful, and strong. Hillary Clinton is your NOMINEE. They are the best I have ever seen. Probably the best there has ever been. Maybe it's time for Hillary to start thinking about switching to an INDEPENDENT run for the presidency. Wipe the slate clean. After all she is running to be the President of all the people. Hillary, Bill, and Chelsea would cream everyone. You know it's true. :-)

"This is not a game" (Hillary Clinton)

Sincerely

jacksmith... Working Class :-)

p.s. I have been under heavy attacks for some time now. But it wont stop me. :-)

Posted by: jacksmith | May 11, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

DON'T BE DUPED !!!

IT'S ABOUT ELECTABILITY !!!

Large numbers of Republicans have been voting for Barack Obama in the DEMOCRATIC primaries, and caucuses from early on. Because they feel he would be a weaker opponent against John McCain. With Hillary Clinton you are almost 100% certain to get quality, affordable universal health care very soon.

But first, all of you have to make certain that Hillary Clinton takes the democratic nomination and then the Whitehouse. NOW! is the time. THIS! is the moment you have all been working, and waiting for. You can do this America. "Carpe diem" (harvest the day). You will have to work together on this and be aggressive, relentless, and creative. Americans face an even worse catastrophe ahead than the one you are living through now.

You see, the medical and insurance industry mostly support the republicans with the money they ripped off from you. And they don't want you to have quality, affordable universal health care. They want to be able to continue to rip you off, and kill you and your children by continuing to deny you life saving medical care that you have already paid for. So they can continue to make more immoral profits for them-selves.

Hillary Clinton has actually won by much larger margins than the vote totals showed. And lost by much smaller vote margins than the vote totals showed. Her delegate count is actually much higher than it shows. And higher than Obama's. She also leads in the electoral college numbers that you must win to become President in the November national election. HILLARY CLINTON IS ALREADY THE TRUE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE!

As much as 30% of Obama's primary, and caucus votes are Republicans trying to choose the weakest democratic candidate for McCain to run against. These Republicans have been gaming the caucuses, and open primaries where it is easier to vote cheat. This is why Obama has not been able to win the BIG! states primaries. Even with Republican vote cheating help. Except North Carolina where 35% of the population is African American, and approximately 90% of them block voted for him. African Americans are only approximately 17% of the general population.

Hillary Clinton has been OUT MANNED! OUT GUNNED! and OUT SPENT! 4 and 5 to 1. Yet Obama has only been able to manage a very tenuous, and questionable tie with Hillary Clinton.

If Obama is the democratic nominee for the national election in November he will be slaughtered. That is crystal clear now. Because all of the Republican vote cheating help will suddenly evaporate. And the demographics, and experience are completely against him. All of this vote fraud and republican manipulation has made Obama falsely look like a much stronger candidate than he really is.

You will have another McGovern catastrophe where George McGovern lost 49 of 50 states. And was the reason the super-delegates were created to keep that from happening again. Don't let that happen to the party and America again super-delegates. You have the power to prevent it. The only important question now is who can best win in November. And the answer is HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON. That fact is also now crystal clear.

And YOUNG PEOPLE. DON'T BE DUPED! Think about it. You have the most to lose. As do African Americans. Support Hillary Clinton. She will do her best for all of you. And she will know how to best get it done on day one.

The democratic party needs to fix this outrage. Everyone needs to throw all your support to Hillary Clinton NOW! So you can end this outrage against YOU the voter, and against democracy.

The democratic party, and the super-delegates have a decision to make. Are the democrats, and the democratic party going to choose the DEMOCRATIC party nominee to fight for the American people. Or are the republicans going to choose the DEMOCRATIC party nominee through vote fraud, and gaming the DEMOCRATIC party primaries, and caucuses.

Fortunately the Clinton's have been able to hold on against this fraudulent outrage with those repeated dramatic, and heroic comebacks of Hillary Clinton's. Only the Clinton's are that resourceful, and strong. Hillary Clinton is your NOMINEE. They are the best I have ever seen. Probably the best there has ever been. Maybe it's time for Hillary to start thinking about switching to an INDEPENDENT run for the presidency. Wipe the slate clean. After all she is running to be the President of all the people. Hillary, Bill, and Chelsea would cream everyone. You know it's true. :-)

"This is not a game" (Hillary Clinton)

Sincerely

jacksmith... Working Class :-)

p.s. I have been under heavy attacks for some time now. But it wont stop me. :-)

Posted by: jacksmith | May 11, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

McSame doesn't know how to use the microphone and needs training. This is a sure sign that this man has lost his bearings long time ago.
Does American need this man as a president?

Posted by: Ron Smith | May 11, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

OBAMA! He must lead us out of the "dark ages". And also spearhead a comprehensive immigration reform with path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. America of Billy Bob is no more!

Posted by: Cohen | May 11, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

His middle name is Hussein? You mean like the Iraqi dictator? Wow, didn't know that. He must be a bad man.

Posted by: Mike | May 11, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

good to see the mudraces are pleased with obama hussein.

Posted by: hillaryclintonspenis | May 11, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Pay To Attention To Obama's Voter Registration Drive.On election day, Obama might have more than a million individuals volunteering on his behalf. That should scare the beejeesus out of the McCain campaign and the RNC.

Posted by: JR | May 11, 2008 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Senorita Chiappe is either from Chile, or Ecuador(Politically at least).

Peru is a capitalist haven trapped in a Socialist Hell that is called South America.

The ONLY reason she is here, is to spread the Cancer of Socialism in the Bastion of Capitalism itself! Figures she would be so attracted to Obasama-He's her type! Him and people like Chavez, Morales, and their Socialist pals in Chili, and Ecuador are Hermonos!

Posted by: RAT-The | May 11, 2008 2:53 AM | Report abuse

I think Obama will be a great President
and turn our country around. I hope that when
we have him in the White House America
will have the respect and honor she once
had. It is so sad that our country has
hit rock bottom in 8 short years.
But I feel confident we will turn
around in the right direction.
YES WE CAN!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Katie | May 11, 2008 1:29 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to those who volunteered.
Malama Makena, I saw pictures of people lined up to volunteer in New York and I have to tell you it was seeing all the seniors in the line that moved me to tears. Well in part it is seeing people of all ages and races standing together but for seniors to take part in the waiting and the working, knowing there will be a crowd but wanting to take part in a movement for change just fills my heart, Thank you.

Lisa, great stories. You made a difference for them. I wonder if the retired man would have gotten registered if he hadn't been approached. He will feel so good to take part.

I understand the Air Force veteran feeling so proud for the first time. I'm a middle aged white woman and I feel a pride I haven't known seeing so many people taking part in this. I love Obama but even more I love the activism and energy moving through people, reclaiming our country, the joining together of people of all ages, all races wanting to help create a better tomorrow and believing we can.

I like this registration drive too because it's not just for Obama voters, it is to encourage all people to take part and have a voice in their country. Thanks to all.

Posted by: Joyn | May 11, 2008 1:14 AM | Report abuse

John F. Kennedy got me interested in working in politics in 1960.

Now I am 72 and another young, fascinating man has lit the fire.

I am thrilled to be working for the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States of America!

Posted by: Malama Makena | May 11, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Obama 08.

McCain too worn out it shows in his face his body language and his mistakes mixing up names in the middle east. In this day and age the last thing we need is a president who may get up one morning and forget he is president. "Oh am I president?

Posted by: carmen | May 10, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

I participated in this voter registration drive in Los Angeles. It was amazing to see 400 others in a parking lot at 9am on an unusually chilly Los Angeles morning eager to spend the day doing unpaid work. ;-) It was truly inspiring.

I registered several voters. My favorite was a woman, a security guard I feared had come to ask me to move. Instead, she asked for help filling out the voter registration form. She had only become a citizen a few months ago, and didn't know how to get involved. She thanked me and my volunteer team member for coming out and making that possible for her.

My second favorite was a man who had retired, but had never voted in his life. This time, he wanted to vote. Who will he vote for? He was adamant about registering as a Democrat!

Posted by: Lisa Pease | May 10, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

People are beginning to see what many of us saw long ago, the greatest political figure in 50 years.

Posted by: joseph marcucilli | May 10, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Would be presidential candiate assassin Arthur Herman Bremer, age 58, was released in November. Has anyone kept track of this guy??

Posted by: Phil | May 10, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

He's not doing politics. He's doing patriotism of the highest order, the engagement of all of us in the American dream.
I was not even a teenager in 1960 but JFK's call to service continued into my youth.
How fortunate I am to have lived to see that uniquely American patriotism, that can do spirit, celebration of E Pluribus Unum come again.

Posted by: Miriam | May 10, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Mike Lukovich has had some wonderful cartoons this week. Google his name and cartoons and you can see 4 great ones.

Posted by: majorteddy | May 10, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I heard that Grandpa McSame does not drink alcohol very often--if ever-- and that's probably a good thing; can you imagine what sort of angry drunk McSame would be? I bet he really loses his bearings when intoxicated.

http://www.savagerun.com == free weird fiction

Posted by: gerald clough | May 10, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

I heard that Grandpa McSame does not drink alcohol very often--if ever-- and that's probably a good thing; can you imagine what sort of angry drunk McSame would be? I bet he really loses his bearings when intoxicated.

http://www.savagerun.com == free weird fiction

Posted by: gerald clough | May 10, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

That veteran who spent 26 years of his life serving his country is so "un-American" for not being proud of his country sooner!

Posted by: Colin | May 10, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

He is a political machine rewriting the way you do politics in the 21st century. Every other politician better be taking notes. This is a new day and that in the final analyses may be Clintons biggest mistake. Same with Mccain, the old ways don't work any more. The same thing happened when TV came out. It was a whole new day. I think on the heels of Obama we are going to see new young politicians bursting onto the scene. Mccain already is off message stumbling around in the dark. Or should I say "dark ages".

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

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