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D.C. Obama Volunteers Rally, Canvass

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Mayor Fenty rallies Obama supporters Saturday.

Hundreds of Barack Obama volunteers rallied at the Democratic National Committee headquarters today in downtown Washington, then left in cars and buses to canvass and make phone calls in Virginia. With just over a week remaining before the Nov. 4 election, a diverse group of mostly young supporters were sent off by a collection of District officials, including Mayor Adrian Fenty, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Shadow Senator Paul Strauss and D.C. Council members Marion Barry, Harry Thomas, Kwame Brown and Muriel Bowser. Washington Wizards center Etan Thomas surprised the crowd by delivering an impassioned speech that touched on foreign policy and at times sounded like spoken word poetry.

"I've supported Obama and this is an important election," Etan Thomas said in interview. "I decided I couldn't not be involved." Thomas's speech lasted about five minutes, but he said he delivered a shorter version of a 10-minute address he has given at other rallies.

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Supporters turned out in Obama garb.

Organizers said a bus of 50 Obama volunteers went to Norfolk and a bus of 30 went to Richmond. Car caravans were sent to the Northern Virginia suburbs, all the way to Leesburg.

"You have wrapped up D.C. You have wrapped up Maryland. Now you have to wrap up Virgina," Norton said. "Soon, you'll have a president who will sign the D.C. Voting Rights Act."

The crowd cheered.

Fenty gave the volunteers advice.

"As someone who has made a career out of knocking on doors," he began, a nod to his mayoral campaign, "I will tell you that when you go door-to-door, don't worry about anything except telling people your personal story. All the undecided voters will have lots on their minds, but when they go to the polls, they'll remember that someone came to their door to ask them to vote for Barack Obama."

By David A Nakamura  |  October 25, 2008; 5:40 PM ET
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