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Will Work For Obama Sign

Tim Craig

As thousands of people streamed out of GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain's (Ariz.) rally last week in Fairfax County, nearly everyone who wanted one was handed a lawn sign.

Some McCain supporters were clinging to three or four McCain-Palin signs as they walked to their cars, an apparent effort by the campaign to bolster visibility in neighborhoods across Northern Virginia.

In a traditional election, candidates are honored - and sometimes have to beg - to have someone place a yard sign on their lawn. But Democratic nominee Barack Obama's campaign team see Obama-Biden signs as a reward that should flatter volunteers after a hard days work.

Steve Hildebrand, Obama's deputy campaign manager, sent an email to Obama's Virginia supporters tonight titled, "Volunteer and get a free yard sign."

The email was aimed at recruiting volunteers for a massive canvassing effort this weekend. To get an Obama sign, Hildebrand said a volunteer had to knock on at least 40 doors.

"After you knock on just 40 doors, make sure you stop by the office in your area to pick up your free Obama-Biden yard sign," the email stated.

Clark Stevens, an Obama spokesman, said the campaign usually requests a donation of about $3 for a yard sign because "demand often outpaces supplies."

"There is obviously a lot of excitement for Senator Obama, and sometimes the demand for yard signs and materials do outpace supplies," Stevens said. "Signs and other materials are available at our statewide offices and supporters can receive them for a small donation or in exchange for volunteering."

But in several neighborhoods in Fairfax County, the shortage of Obama signs was apparent today. McCain signs outnumber Obama signs three to one, although it's possible those neighborhoods in McLean and Fairfax City still lean Republican.

By Tim Craig  |  September 18, 2008; 11:42 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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I'm an Obama supporter, and I don't disagree. On a related note, I have been amazed at the Obama campaign's sluggishness at getting Obama-Biden materials out to its supporters. Outside of the Obama Fairfax office yesterday sat a huge pick-up truck with a McCain-Palin bumper sticker. I have yet to see a car with an Obama-Biden sticker. I think all of this ties in too much with the Obama aura, with his celebrity status. And that is bothersome.

Posted by: Chris | September 19, 2008 6:56 AM | Report abuse

I just got that e-mail, and I was really annoyed by it. I've given them hundreds of dollars, but I don't merit a stupid yard sign? No wonder there are so few signs in my neighborhood. This is really dumb.

Posted by: Arlington Obama supporter | September 19, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Yard signs don't vote and when the candidates have near universal name ID, they are near point-less.

I'm amazed every year at the utter stupidity of yard sign activists, on both sides of the aisle. Suck it up and engage your neighbors in the important discussions of the day. Our community will be better for it.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I was at the Fairfax Obama office on Wednesday, when signs came in. If you need a sign, I will find one for you (if I have to print it myself!). Shoot me an email:

Posted by: Denis O | September 19, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Is the WaPo that blatantly biased? If this was the McCain campaign, it would be a story about a campaign in disarray, something like: "In a sign of a campaign in total disarray and raising questions of its commitment to winning Virginia, the McCain campaign has been requiring free volunteer work in exchange for basic campaign supplies."

The fact that this post doesn't even allow for this obvious interpretation demonstrates that the WaPo continues to hold to its roots as a paper founded as the voice of the Democratic party.

Of course, why would Obama spend any money on campaign signs, when he gets all this free advertising in VA's highest circulation paper (for now)?

On a related note, it is good that the era of the 'objectivity charade' in journalism is over, and the WaPo (and other media outlets - of all stripes) can return to their roots as open advocates for their political agendas.

Posted by: About Time | September 21, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Who cares? Visibility is pointless with the current level of media saturation for both candidates. Heck, I bet the net effect of a neighborhood plastered with McCain signs is that the Obama supporters are more likely to get involved or vote. If people put as much work into actually talking to their neighbors as they did finding a yard sign, this election wouldn't even be close. McCain has $ for yard signs because he doesn't open offices, and doesn't have people who care enough to volunteer.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 21, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

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