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At Cafe, Obama Campaigns One-on-One

Barack Obama speaks with patrons at the Fireside Restaurant during a campaign stop in Georgetown, Ohio, Oct. 9, 2008. (Jim Young/Reuters)

By Robert Barnes
GEORGETOWN, Ohio -- Amidst fields of brittle soybeans and brown stalks of corn, with a shiny half-moon replacing a golden sun, a couple celebrating their 48th year as husband and wife and a diehard Republican cafe owner and a little boy with big ears met a man who has big ears himself, and says it is time to give Democrats a try and who is of the opinion that "nothing's better than a good marriage."

They all came together at a little place called the Fireside Restaurant, where Barack Obama for a few minutes Thursday evening put aside million-dollar television buys and debates watched by millions and rallies where his name is chanted by thousands and tried to convince one man to vote for him.

"Hello, everybody, how are you?" Obama said, as a handful of reporters and camera crews recorded the event, and many more waited outside.

The restaurant's pie counter immediately caught his attention -- "I'm gettin' some pie, I don't know what you're gonna do" -- and so, of course, did something called the Big O: a double cheeseburger, which Obama ordered to go, with lettuce, tomato and mustard.

He shook hands with a 7-year-old and mentioned his own 7-year-old, Sasha.

He met a woman named Kayla and said, "I almost named my daughter Kayla."

He introduced himself to Pat and Don McElroy, who were having an early dinner for their anniversary. Don told Obama that he generally does what his wife tells him to do, and the Illinois senator laughed and said he does the same. "Whatever she tells me to do, I do that," said the man who would be president. "That's why we've been married 15 years.''

He posed for a photo with a little boy with big ears, and remarked on his own prominent lobes.

"We got the same ears," Obama told the boy. "We got power in 'em."

After employees told him that their boss was a diehard Republican, Obama sought him out.

"What you're going to do is you're going to decide for the first time in your life to vote Democratic," Obama told Fireside's owner William Seip. "You're you're going to vote me into office.

"I'm serious, you think about it -- who's been in charge these past 8 years?"

Seip: "The Republicans."

Obama: "How's it going so far?"

Seip: "Down the drain."

"Well, why wouldn't you want to just try something new for a while?" Obama asked. "If you keep on hitting your head against the wall and nothing happens, you might just think to yourself, 'Well, let me just try it out. Democrats can't do any worse. They might do better.' So you think about that."

Obama's order was ready, and far down the road, thousands were waiting for another Obama rally. In the parking lot there were three buses, and a half-dozen SUVs and the Secret Service and a squad of motorcycle cops, waiting to ferry the candidate away.

Seip did not tell reporters how he would vote. "You never know," he said.

By Washington Post Editor  |  October 10, 2008; 6:31 AM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama Buys Primetime Slots on CBS and NBC
Next: Thursday Night's SNL Special


"I almost named my daughter Kayla!"

Mm hmm. And in Florida...

"I almost named my daughter Tiffany!"

Yep. And in Iowa...

"I almost named my daughter Mary Ann!"

Nah, no politician has ever before done the one-on-one showing at a local cafe...or kissed a baby...or shaken hands with the local populace in an effort to get votes.

In a state that sprouts electoral votes (ready for harvest in November) even as the October moon waxes bright in the clear night sky, a charming and glib man does the same predictable thing politicians have done for countless elections...but manages to somehow get a story out of it...

Posted by: KittenKlawz | October 11, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Americans should try somebody "new and genuine and capable" this time and get out of 8years of disasterous rule by republicans.

Posted by: AnjuChandel | October 11, 2008 2:22 AM | Report abuse

I would like to congratulate Ms. Strassel on her post. You certainly have a way of wording your message. Thank you so much for direct and truthful message. You have written exactly how Sen. Obama feels. He thinks he is the ONLY one to do this job.
He is arrogantly acting now, and has been for months, as he is already the Prersident of the USA. He is trying to make everyone that HE alone will keep all those promises he is making, all the while knowing he canno. If he convinces enough people that he is the "Greatest", that is mostly what he wants. The title of President is what he wants and will do anything possible, or otherwise, to win the election. Interested in finding out the results of the fraud charges brought against ACORN,in which he is very envolved.

Posted by: smaggie | October 10, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

It seems everyone..(die hard republicans)
just can't make sence here...because they have only lies and NRAs targeting rural areas with more lies....
go to check out the facts on gun control at shouldn't blast info without knowing the facts fully, researching why NRA supports McCain (gun show magazine)
We am happy knowing we have a loving,gentle and intelligent man to place in the white should be too!...
He's leaving no stone unturned as he enters the White House.
Pssst..."It's okay to change sides-no one will tell).
McCain meets Russia President.......???Not good!

Posted by: wlwanda | October 10, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

The Cannula:

I was thinking to myself: This is one of the most lucid and grammatically correct rants I've ever read, despite its pessimistic outlook and one-sided argument.

Then I realize it was 100% plagiarized from the Wall Street Journal. Cut and pasted actaully.


Try Linking. You still get to show off that you're literate, but it doesn't leave to question whether you're trying to pass off a professionally written editorial by a right-wing pundit as an epiphany of your own.

And while I'm here - way to go Obama!!

Posted by: Nemotoad | October 10, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Check yourself.

If you're slinging the mud here, check yourself against that story about a man who would be president talking to real people where they live.

Look at how positive he is.

Look at how confident he is.

Look at how he focuses on the people.

The ask yourself why you'd want to tear that down.

Why would you want to spit on the only hand that's reached out to you in 8 years.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | October 10, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

From toda's Wall Street Journal-

October 10, 2008
Obama's Magic
By Kimberley Strassel

And now, America, we introduce the Great Obama! The world's most gifted political magician! A thing of wonder. A thing of awe. Just watch him defy politics, economics, even gravity! (And hold your applause until the end, please.)

To kick off our show tonight, Mr. Obama will give 95% of American working families a tax cut, even though 40% of Americans today don't pay income taxes! How can our star enact such mathemagic? How can he "cut" zero? Abracadabra! It's called a "refundable tax credit." It involves the federal government taking money from those who do pay taxes, and writing checks to those who don't. Yes, yes, in the real world this is known as "welfare," but please try not to ruin the show.

For his next trick, the Great Obama will jumpstart the economy, and he'll do it by raising taxes on the very businesses that are today adrift in a financial tsunami! That will include all those among the top 1% of taxpayers who are in fact small-business owners, and the nation's biggest employers who currently pay some of the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world. Mr. Obama will, with a flick of his fingers, show them how to create more jobs with less money. It's simple, really. He has a wand.

Next up, Mr. Obama will re-regulate the economy, with no ill effects whatsoever! You may have heard that for the past 40 years most politicians believed deregulation was good for the U.S. economy. You might have even heard that much of today's financial mess tracks to loose money policy, or Fannie and Freddie excesses. Our magician will show the fault was instead with our failure to clamp down on innovation and risk-taking, and will fix this with new, all-encompassing rules. Presto!

Did someone in the audience just shout "Sarbanes Oxley?" Usher, can you remove that man? Thank you. Mr. Obama will now demonstrate how he gives Americans the "choice" of a "voluntary" government health plan, designed in such a way as to crowd out the private market and eliminate all other choice! Don't worry people: You won't have to join, until you do. Mr. Obama will follow this with a demonstration of how his plan will differ from our failing Medicare program. Oops, sorry, folks. The Great Obama just reminded me it is time for an intermission. Maybe we'll get to that marvel later.

We're back now. And just watch the Great Obama perform a feat never yet managed in all history. He will create that enormous new government health program, spend billions to transform our energy economy, provide financial assistance to former Soviet satellites, invest in infrastructure, increase education spending, provide job training assistance, and give 95% of Americans a tax (ahem) cut -- all without raising the deficit a single penny! And he'll do it in the middle of a financial crisis. And with falling tax revenues! Voila!

Moving along to a little ventriloquism. Study his mouth carefully, folks: It looks like he's saying "I'll stop the special interests," when in fact the words coming out are "Welcome to Washington, friends!" Wind and solar companies, ethanol makers, tort lawyers, unions, community organizers -- all are welcome to feed at the public trough and to request special favors. From now on "special interests" will only refer to universally despised, if utterly crucial, economic players. Say, oil companies. Hocus Pocus!

And for tonight's finale, the Great Obama will uphold America's "moral" obligation to "stop genocide" by abandoning Iraq! While teleported to the region, he will simultaneously convince Iranian leaders to peacefully abandon their nuclear pursuits (even as he does not sit down with them), fix Afghanistan with a strategy that does not resemble the Iraqi surge, and (drumroll!) pull Osama bin Laden out of his hat!


You can clap now. (Applause. Cheers.) We'd like to thank a few people in the audience. Namely, Republican presidential nominee John McCain, who has so admirably restrained himself from running up on stage to debunk any of these illusions and spoil everyone's fun.

We know he's in a bit of a box, having initially blamed today's financial crisis on corporate "greed," and thus made it that much harder to call for a corporate tax cut, or warn against excessive regulation. Still, there were some pretty big openings up here this evening, and he let them alone! We'd also like to thank Mr. McCain for keeping all the focus on himself these past weeks. It has helped the Great Obama to just get on with the show.

As for that show, we'd love to invite you all back for next week's performance, when the Great Obama will thrill with new, amazing exploits. He will respect your Second Amendment rights even as he regulates firearms! He will renegotiate Nafta, even as he supports free trade! He will.

Ms. Strassel is a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board.

Posted by: thecannula | October 10, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I wish Obama would ask me a question as I would respond by inquiring what did the Reverend Jeremiah Wright mean at the National Press Club this summer when he stated "Barack Obama is a politician and he will say anything to get himself elected".
I would like toknow if this statement is factual?
Posted by: mwhoke | October 10, 2008 9:18 AM |


That was an opinion not a fact. It was an opinion about politicians, not Obama. That means he would hold the same opinion about McCain. Was that of help?

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 10, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Smart and personable. Why wouldn't Seip want him to be Prez?
Thanks for sharing this story. Any chance of a video?

Posted by: grandsophy | October 10, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I wish Obama would ask me a question as I would respond by inquiring what did the Reverend Jeremiah Wright mean at the National Press Club this summer when he stated "Barack Obama is a politician and he will say anything to get himself elected".
I would like toknow if this statement is factual?

Posted by: mwhoke | October 10, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

McCain doesn't eat with the help.

Posted by: seemstome | October 10, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Watch the highlights and, outtakes from debates.

Posted by: pastor123 | October 10, 2008 7:24 AM | Report abuse

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