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Archive for the ‘Decision 2008’ Category

Many of you have read about my conversations with my mother regarding Barack Obama and the state of our country here and here. In particular I have spoken about how it pains me to hear my mother, a Thai woman once married to a white American man, talk about her doubts about Barack Obama because of the color of his skin. While it pains me to hear her words, I applaud her for her honesty. We can’t get beyond where we are now without honestly reflecting on our prejudices.

In the days before the election, I thought that I was gaining ground with her. I thought that I may be able to convince her to vote for Barack Obama to “give it a try” as I said. If she wasn’t satisfied she could vote for someone else in 2012. She admitted to me that she could not vote for John McCain given the last 8 years of Republican rule, and so I naively thought that the step to vote for Obama would not be that big of one. I thought to myself that if I couldn’t get my mother, an intelligent woman greatly disillusioned with the Republicans, to vote for Obama, what hope did I have that anyone would vote for him? In the end, she didn’t vote for President at all.

After four days of knocking on doors for the Obama campaign in Colorado, I was in the ballroom of the Sheraton hotel on election night along with thousands of people as we all heard the election declared for Obama. At that moment, I still had hope that my mother had voted for Obama and I briefly contemplated giving her a call in my happiness. The noise in the room prevented me from doing so.

The next day I flew back to Seattle and I called my mother as soon as I got back. I was elated after my hard week of working for the campaign. When I got her on the phone, her voice was bitter. “You may think that this person will solve all your problems, but you are wrong. And it doesn’t matter that everyone likes him in the rest of the world. The world loved Kennedy, but in America he was not well liked.” The conversation was not what I expected.

This past week, these wounds have been reopened. I spoke to my dad who was bemoaning the stimulus package talking about how this was debt I would be paying for the rest of my life. Don’t I know it, I thought.  But I told him that he and every Republican lacked any credibility whatsoever in this argument. The Republicans were responsible for needlessly increasing the debt which he somehow never cared about before, and they themselves were responsible for the removal of the regulations that would have prevented a collapse in the financial industry that resulted in the need for a bailout in the first place. My mom has been making comments about how Democrats love to spend. That’s what they are all about, she says.

It struck me this morning as I woke up, that even they cannot ruin this day for me. I am sure they must be completely flabbergasted at the spectacle that is this inauguration. This inauguration is surely unprecedented in its national importance not just in my life but in theirs. The crowds, how can they be this big, they may be thinking. I suppose when your confidence and respect for your country has been systematically chipped away at for the last eight years, you will be elated at the possibility of restoring its image. And this is the thing that the Republicans seem not to understand. People want Obama to succeed. People want to hope that there is something better around the corner. Any obstruction the Republicans create will be taken badly. It’s a difficult position that they are in though I can’t feel sorry for them considering it is one of their own creation.

It’s a changing of the guards. We are weary of bitterness and division. We want to hope. We want to have something to believe in. We want Obama to succeed. I don’t know what the next four years will bring. Despite my hope, I am a realist and I know that there is the potential for Obama to fail in my estimation. I worry about my job and my life and what this recession will bring. Nonetheless I hope for the best, and I have faith in the man who will lead our country in the next four years.

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Hope

True, I’m not that old but this has never happened in my lifetime.

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It wasn’t too long ago that just the sight of a Gore/Lieberman bumper sticker would sting me instantly with sadness. Why, why I thought haven’t these people removed that sticker. Well now there is no excuse. From the Minneapolis Star Tribune via the Seattle Times:

Q: The election is over. How do I remove a bumper sticker without damaging my car?

A: Try using a blow dryer to soften the adhesive, then pull off the sticker. A petroleum-based solvent such as Goo-Gone, available at many discount and hardware stores, also may work. After saturating the stickers with the solvent, wait a couple of minutes for the adhesive to soften. Then use a plastic spoon or ice scraper to remove the stickers. Another suggestion is to saturate the area or remaining sticker with any oil — baby oil, vegetable oil — to remove the residue. Remove the remaining oil spot with a standard carwash.

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Another great one from David Horsey.

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A great interview on Salon.

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ISFED

While sitting at my Obama booth on election day I was visited by the group the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy. I hope I got that name right. The ISFED observes elections around the world. The group consisted of a Dane, Swede, American and Georgian Ambassador Lasha Zhvania.

Amb. Zhvania was the only one of the group to talk to me. He seemed curious as to what my role was. When I told him I was a volunteer and I coordinated rides to and from the polls, he seemed satisfied. He was smoking while he was talking to me and he handed me his card. It’s impressive. At the top it says Parliament of Georgia and his title is Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. You can view his wikipedia page here.

I’ll admit he was a little hard to read. He was very serious, so much so that I felt a need to perhaps rile him up a bit in a friendly way. I told him that it was an interesting flip to have observers for the American elections. Of course, anyone who reads this blog knows that I skeptical of both the 2000 and 2004 elections. Perhaps I was trying to get him back for his assumption that I didn’t know that Georgia was a country when he introduced himself. He started to say that he was not from the state in America when I said “oh yes, I know, home of Stalin.” He laughed. I think he was having a hard time reading me as well.

I asked him how the election was going based on his observations. He said that the provisional ballots were at a slightly high percentage. They were at 15%. I asked him what a good percentage would be and he said 5%. The whole group had finished their cigarettes by then and so they went away. It was an interesting part of the day.

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The Set Up

After canvassing for three days we had a list of people who needed rides to and from the polls. I and a few other people came up with a dispatch operation where we would bring everyone to the same polling place to make the drops and the pickups so that they would run more smoothly. When our lead coordinator got wind of the idea, she asked me if I could be a “runner” since I was going to already be stationed at the polling location. She put my name and number on a flow chart sheet with “runner” next to it. Not two minutes later, a person came up and told me that they heard I was a runner and asked if I recruit and send volunteers to a staging area three blocks from the polls. Then another person came up to me and said they too heard I was runner. Five minutes later a volunteer came up to me and said “so I hear your the lead polling coordinator.” I was moving up the ladder quite quickly.

I was stationed at Fletcher Elementary School 100 feet away from the polls per law. I had a table and Barack Obama swag along with some informative flyers about other polling locations. The most common query I got was that a person was at the wrong location and they needed to know the correct place to go. For that I would have to call someone at our office in order to look up the information. There were lots of other volunteers with me. Some from the Obama group and some not. I won’t dwell on it, but it was extremely chaotic. Lots of emotionally charged, sleep-deprived, well-meaning volunteers can be a bit much. What you really need is one reallly calm person to give answers.

Voter Demographic

The neighborhood where Fletcher Elementary is located is in a lower income neighborhood. Many people who live in the area work multiple jobs. Canvassing, I would notice an equally high percentage of African Americans and Hispanics with a small minority of Caucasians. As it turned out it was not a demographic that favored John McCain. While canvassing I ran in to a few McCain supporters but I only saw one at the polls — at least so far as I could tell.

I made a point to ask voters “how it went” as they were exiting. There were a lot of provisional ballots which we believed was due to bad training of the poll worker who looks up a person’s name on the rolls. Apparently this person would send people straight to the provisional line without troubleshooting. Of course this is hearsay since I wasn’t inside the polls to confirm.

Many of the African Americans I talked to were first time voters and there were children everywhere. They wanted stickers and posters and signs — basically anything Obama. I told a group of three kids that they could pull some of the yard signs out of the ground and take those home if they wanted. They screamed and ran directly to the signs to pull them out. Not ten minutes later another kid came by and after a couple of minutes of small talk got to the point that he heard I had yard signs. By that time I was out of swag so I asked the office to send some more over. At the end of the night a SUV pulled up and a woman told me she’d heard I had signs. They were a hit.

There is something quite special about the enthusiasm of the voters that day. I really need to say this. Barack Obama is greatly indebted to the Hispanic voters of Colorado. I don’t mean to diminish the African American support Obama receives. That of course is great but it is well known. I did not know how much support he had from Hispanics. They were proud to vote Obama. They were proud to vote Democrat in fact. One man came up to me and pointed to the Obama sign. You a democrat, he asked. Yes I said. Do you have a list of everyone I should vote for, he asked. For the initiatives I directed him to a volunteer from Vote Colorado who had a flyer, but I told him if he wanted to vote for candidates that were Democrat to check the box next to Democrat on each person’s name. He said “yes that’s all I want. Only Democrats.” Karl Rove, you have your work cut out for you.

I actually saw people whose doors I had knocked on in previous days. I made a point to tell them that I was glad they made it out. Maybe they would have come anyway even if I hadn’t knocked on their doors but it felt great thinking that I made have been responsible for a vote.

Unions

I read today some speculation that one of Obama and Pelosi’s top priorities is to pass legislation favoring unions. Here’s what I have to say to that. Obama is greatly indebted to unions also. I have never in my life seen people work so hard for a political organization. We volunteers would knock on maybe 100 doors a day. The union folk: 400. They are machines with clear objectives and systems to accomplish those objectives. I may not be pro-union on everything, but there is no doubt in my mind that unions protect workers rights and more importantly they force employers to provide health insurance to their employees — something that would not happen in some jobs without unions. I guess what I’m saying is that unions are a good thing and we shouldn’t begrudge unions from benefiting from an Obama administration. They deserve it.

We closed up shop at 7:00pm and within two hours Colorado was called for Obama. I’m glad it’s over.

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Today was a big day for me. I started out doing some data entry, but I had some free time in the afternoon so I went to see Michelle Obama’s last rally before the election. We were a little late. After the auditorium had reached capacity people were ushered to an outside area where speakers were set up. I was thinking that I didn’t want to stay if I wasn’t going to be able to see the speech when a volunteer told me that Barack and Michelle always greet the overflow folks first before starting their speeches. I didn’t know that. These aren’t the best pictures, but my camera ran out of batteries at the opportune moment. These are a friends.

Today will be a busy day. I’ll be acting as a sort of dispatch for people who need rides to the polls. I’m looking forward to being home in Seattle tomorrow.

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So I’ve read a couple of things about McCain volunteers in Colorado. Here’s one from CNN today. Usa Today says that Aurora, the place I’m working out of for Obama, is the new bell weather for the election.

Aurora is a suburb of Denver. On my first day we were visiting Obama supporters making sure they have all the information they need to vote. Many of the supporters we visit have already taken advantage of early voting. We tick them off the list so that we don’t visit them again. It’s hard to compare our ground game to the McCain supporters. We haven’t run in to any of them yet despite seeing them on a local news program. I have come across a few McCain flyers, but there is definately more material out there for Obama. As I said earlier we initially targeted Obama-leaning or Obama supporters. We’ve been so effective at getting them out to vote that we actually had to open up our territory to persuadable voters meaning people who could be supporting McCain.

Yesterday I woke up a man who told me he’d already voted for McCain. He told me he couldn’t wait until the election was over. I said many of us feel the same way. Today we’re driving a few people to the DMV to turn in their mail-in ballots, and we’ll probably be driving a few in to the polls tomorrow.

My only complaint about this trip — the  guys I’m working with don’t really seem to know how to have fun. It’s really hard to find out when/if people are going out. There doesn’t seem to be any consensus on what we’re doing on Tuesday night either. I tell you I’m dreaming about all the pubs on Capitol Hill in Seattle having election night drinking binges. Maybe I should try and crash a Republican party. Maybe Seattleites are just alcoholics. Maybe I’m just an alcoholic, but come on guys, all work and no play does not make Jack happy. Or whatever the quote is.

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No one said knocking on doors was going to be easy. And it isn’t. Our objective: get Obama elected President — and while that may seem like a tall order for people knocking on doors in suburban Denver, that is what we do.
At this point, we are knocking on the doors of Obama leaning voters and telling them what they need to do to get their vote counted. If they have Mail-In ballots we tell them where to turn them in. If they are going to the polls on Tuesday we make sure they know where the polls are. We also offer to give them a ride if they need it. So far, I think I’ve encountered a couple of McCain voters. The small number is due to the fact that we are not knocking on the doors of known McCain supporters. That would be a waste of time.

One man told us he was thinking of doing a write-in for Ron Paul, but he would vote for Obama if it were close. He then closed the door on us. As we were walking away he reopened the door and yelled out that he didn’t want to vote for Obama because Obama would be assassinated. We thanked him for his trouble and then left.

There were some “cool” teenagers that saw us walking down the street. I heard “oh no, Obama supporters” which made me laugh. Truly, we all wish it were over. In the morning our neighborhood was predominantly African American. They were optimistic and excited. For many, this is the first election they will vote in. The kids in the neighborhood are very excited too. Zak, who I picture below, told me he brought some Obama stickers and posters to this neighborhood in the morning. After one kid got stickers, a pack of kids descended upon him. He said he felt like the ice cream man. Zak and I found out we both went to U.C. Santa Cruz. A happy coincidence. Go banana slugs!

1. Zak is an arborist. He drove all the way to Mississipi after hurricane Katrina to volunteer.

2. Lots of prairie dogs in the suburbs of Denver.

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I’m in Denver today set to begin my volunteer work for the Obama campaign. I’ll be working through Tuesday. So far Denver is pretty cool. Hopefully I’ll manage to get some photos in, but I’m not sure what the internet situation will be like.

Why Colorado? At the time I booked my ticket it was more of a toss-up.

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My husband’s sense of humor makes a little more sense to me after reading this. Check out these excerpts from the BBC about the joint meeting yesterday between Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

As they were walked towards the lecturn there was a lot of touching, as is common in a new relationship. All evening they were attentive to each other. An arm across a shoulder, a little touch on the arm, a full embrace.

Barack Obama is a natural toucher. An arm around Mahmoud Abbas. An arm around Sarkozy. The arm is outstrectched because he is consensus man who believes that his warmth, his magic can cross any divide. (The only time I have seen him recoil was when he was leaving the Elysee and Sarkozy tried to kiss him goodbye. As Sarkozy stood on his toes Obama turned his head.) But last night touching, embracing was in.

Bill Clinton was neither coy nor coded.

Afterwards came the full embrace, the hug, their arms lingering around each other.

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I saw the enlightening film Why We Fight when it came out a few years ago. In this article filmmaker Eugene Jarecki describes his unsettling experience with McCain. The whole article including video from the film is worth a look.

John McCain was featured prominently in my documentary film Why We Fight, which premiered at Sundance in 2005. In pre-screenings of the film across the country before its theatrical release, John McCain wowed audiences with his outspoken words onscreen. On the subject of misguided U.S. foreign policy, he said “Where the debate and controversy begins is how far does the United States go and when does it go from a force for good to a force of imperialism?” About defense industry corruption, he declared, “President Eisenhower’s concern about the military-industrial complex — his words have unfortunately come true.” In specific, McCain criticized not only the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war but even the contracting and billing practices of Halliburton.

Later when Jarecki talked to McCain’s advisor:

When next I heard from Salter, panic had grown to fury. He said the Senator’s critical comments
about the dangers of preemption and of American imperialism could give the mistaken impression McCain was opposed to the Iraq war and the Bush Administration broadly. But the moment in the film that was his greatest concern was when, responding to a question about the controversial awarding of no-bid contracts to Halliburton, McCain concedes, “It looks bad. It looks bad. And apparently, Halliburton more than once has overcharged the federal government. That’s wrong.” When pressed on how he would tackle this problem, McCain boldly declares, “I would have a public investigation of what they’ve done.”

At that moment in the film, a phone rings off-screen and Senator McCain is advised by a staffer
that Vice-President Cheney is calling. With a nervous laugh, the Senator excuses himself. “The
vice-president’s on the phone,” he stammers, rising and scrambling off-screen, leaving the
camera rolling on his empty chair. Different people see this scene differently. Some see McCain’s sudden departure as perfectly normal. He’s a high-ranking Senator, and the Vice-President is calling. Others see McCain’s departure as evidence of a too-close relationship with Cheney. They note a certain embarrassment in McCain’s body language. To yet a smaller, third group, McCain’s reaction underscores Dick Cheney’s omnipotence in Washington. Given the Administration’s penchant for wiretapping, one viewer laughingly told me he thought perhaps “Cheney had decided the interview had gone on long enough.”

Jokes aside, when McCain’s office voiced their concern about this moment, I expected, if
anything, they might fear the suggestion of uncomfortably close ties between McCain and Cheney. When Salter instead declared to me that I was “making it look like John McCain was critical of the Vice-President,” and that “Vice-President Cheney has nothing to do with Halliburton,” I realized that what he was objecting to was not that McCain might appeared too close to Cheney but rather not close enough. Mr. Salter demanded that I send him a transcript of the Senator’s interview, not just the parts that appear in the film. Since none of the film’s more than twenty other interviewees had been provided such a thing, and since I valued the film’s independence from political pressure, I told Mr. Salter I would seek advice from other journalists and get back to him.

Salter next resorted to threats, saying that, unless I complied, he would smear my name in the
media and exert pressure on the film’s principal funder never to work with me again. I said I
thought the BBC would be unlikely to welcome such pressure from an irate chief of staff to a
senator. Salter then changed gears, appealing to my sense of fairness. “When Senator McCain
sat down to talk to you,” he explained, “he thought he was talking to a television crew from the
BBC.” I said that that was true, but that the film had then gone on to win Sundance and secure a
theatrical release. But then something troubling about his remark dawned on me.

“If you don’t mind my asking,” I said, “are you suggesting there are things Senator McCain will
say to a British audience that he isn’t comfortable saying to the American people?”Needless to say, this didn’t help matters. But I wasn’t trying to be snide. My question was just the logical extension of what Salter had intimated. But it clearly touched a nerve. He became enraged and, after hanging up, sought to make good on his threat to tarnish my name and career.

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Giving further proof that right-wing Republicans haven’t a clue what socialism is, we find this statement from Rush Limbaugh:

We’re going to get some rank and file, average American Democrats that are going to vote for McCain.  But these hoity-toity bourgeoisie…

Well, they’re not the bourgeoisie, but… Well, they are in a sense. They’re following their own self-interests, so I say fine. They have just admitted that Republican Party “big tent” philosophy didn’t work. It was their philosophy; it was their idea. These are the people, once they steered the party to where it is, they are the ones that abandoned it.

Gee Rush, you toss out words like socialism, communism and marxism and yet here you are whining about the bourgeoisie. Do you know who popularized the term bourgeoisie in his Communist Manifesto when he vilified the middle class? That would be Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. By your own standards you’re as commie as they come.

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Happy Days Reunion

I have to admit I like this video. There’s something about seeing The Fonz again that makes you happy.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Happy Days Reunion", posted with vodpod

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The best photographers show us the moments that we can’t see in moving pictures. Earlier I wrote about how pictures of Obama’s family reminded me how in the end he is just a father, a husband, a man, and a human being.

Lola has some great photos of children and Obama which you can find at the Chawed Rosin. Today, I found some more great photos.You can see more photos from the set below at Callie Shell’s Digital Journal which also include the photographer’s captions. I highly recommend you check them out.

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The Explainer on Slate tells you how to do it. I’m not sure when this will come in handy though.

At a Seattle fundraiser on Sunday, Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joe Biden warned supporters that, if elected, Barack Obama will be tested by “an international crisis” early on in his first term. He also advised the crowd to “gird your loins,” since the tasks ahead for the next president will be “like cleaning the Augean stables, man.” What’s the best way to follow Biden’s advice?

With a belt. To gird means to bind or encircle, and loins refers to the area between your hips and ribs. (Note: In this case, loins does not refer to the genitals, as with Nabokov’s “light of my life, fire of my loins.”) So, “to gird your loins” means, literally, to wrap a belt around your waist so that your clothes don’t flop around. The phrase stems from the Bible and is scattered throughout both the Old and New Testaments—composed during notoriously floppy sartorial eras. When Elijah “girded up his loins” (1 Kings 18:46), he was probably wearing a knee-length robe. It’s likely that he fastened a cord tightly around his waist, then shortened his garment by pulling it up and letting it flounce over the belt. Or he might have taken the hem of his robe and tucked it into his belt, creating a makeshift pouch or pocket.

Romans prepping for a fight also needed to gird their loins. Especially if he needed to ride a horse, a Roman might have gathered up the skirtlike portion of his outfit, passed it through his legs, and fastened the whole mess with a girdle (a leather belt, basically, also used to hold tools or weapons).

Biden, of course, was advising his supporters to gird their loins in the figurative sense—that is, to brace themselves for a test of mental or emotional endurance. He was perhaps unintentionally echoing the apostle Peter, who recommended “girding up the loins of your mind … and [setting] your hope perfectly on the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). Also, Paul, who in the Epistle to the Ephesians, mentions “having your loins girt about with truth” (Ephesians 6:14).

Picture via LurgenFreePresbyerian.

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McCain supporters ask this question to the guy giving out Obama/Islam bumper stickers.

The strategy is not working guys. You’re going to have to talk about the issues.

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You can become a 4-star General in the U.S. Army, hold the office of National Security Advisor under Ronald Reagan, go on to become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under George H.W. Bush and then finally Secretary of State under his son. But in the end to some people, you’re nothing more than a black man.

Rush Limbaugh

“Secretary Powell says his endorsement is not about race… OK, fine. I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I’ll let you know what I come up with.”

George Will

There will be “some impact,” Will declared. “And I think this adds to my calculation — this is very hard to measure — but it seems to me if we had the tools to measure we’d find that Barack Obama gets two votes because he’s black for every one he loses because he’s black because so much of this country is so eager, a, to feel good about itself by doing this, but more than that to put paid to the whole Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson game of political rhetoric.”

There will be more. Just wait.

Update 1 (I’m expecting more):

Pat Buchanan

Later in the day, Pat Buchanan echoed Limbaugh’s refrain. “Alright, we gotta ask a question,” he declared on MSNBC, “look would Colin Powell be endorsing Obama if he were a white liberal Democrat…”

Update 2:

Gordon Campbell (cartoonist)

“The only reasonable explanation for such a public political “about-face” in the midst of this important election is that Colin Powell, perhaps understandably, wishes to see someone who looks like himself in the White House,” Campbell said.

“It’s my opinion that General Powell has based his endorsement of Barack Obama on the color of his skin, not his qualifications, his experience or the content of his character.”

Update 3:

Mike Gallagher

right-wing talker Mike Gallagher declared on his radio show today that “race is the factor I think that drives much of this” because Powell is “enamored and in love with the concept of a black man being president of these United States.” Gallagher then suggested that Powell might not “have the intellectual capacity to, you know, make a distinction and realize the difference” between Obama and the “long list of black Americans who would make fine presidential candidates.” Listen here:

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Great story.

Obama arrived at the barbecue joint around 12:30 p.m., where an older and majority white clientele of several dozen were eating lunch after church services. Many patrons applauded as he walked into the diner, but Diane Fanning, 54, began yelling “Socialist, socialist, socialist — get out of here!”

Obama did not look directly at her, as she was across the diner, but it was loud enough that he most likely heard her.

The gentleman next to Fanning, Lenox Bramble, 76, flashed an angry look at her. “Be civil, be courteous,” he admonished her. Another woman, Cecilia Hayslip, 61, yelled back at Fanning (per Reuters), “At least he’s not a warmonger!”

Bramble told Reuters’ pooler that he wasn’t voting for Obama because he didn’t think he had enough experience. Bramble’s wife, Kit, 75, said after meeting Obama, “He was very nice,” but added she’d been a conservative Republican since Barry Goldwater’s era and said she wouldn’t vote for Obama.

Fanning said she’d heard that former Secretary of State Colin Powell had endorsed Obama but said that “Colin Powell is a RINO, R-I-N-O, Republican In Name Only.” Later, Obama came to the long table where Fanning and other members of a local First Presbyterian church were gathered. He held out his hand to her and asked, “How are you, ma’am?” but she declined to shake his hand.

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I found these pictures of Obama’s family a reminder that in the end Obama is just a man. He’s a father of two little girls. He’s a husband. He lives a life strikingly similar to many Americans. To every Sarah Palin comment and to every GOP mailer or robocall that goes out trying to convince people that he is evil and a terrorist, I say Obama is you and me.

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I had to laugh at this:

He is the Alpha Male on this stage, and McCain the bristling teen – aged 72. No wonder women seem to be so disproportionately pro-Obama.

Yeah, women don’t care anything about issues.

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Slate features pro-life women who used to vote on the single issue alone and are now voting for Obama despite their beliefs. Meanwhile I’ve been going in the opposite direction. I’ve gone from thinking voting on a single issue was silly to now thinking that maybe some issues (war, torture, abortion) are important enough. What has George Bush done to the Republican party?

It isn’t that Turnbach’s stand on abortion has shifted any, she says. But her view of the Republican Party’s commitment to seeing Roe overturned has: “Even if McCain does get in, he’s not going to do anything” that would lead to a reversal of Roe. The legality of abortion “is not going to change,” she’s concluded, “and I really don’t think it should be an issue” in this presidential race.

Like others who told me they had based their vote on the single issue of abortion the last two times around, Turnbach’s says her ’08 calculus takes other matters—like the economy, the economy and the economy—into account: “McCain was on my nerves the other night, prancing around” at the debate in Nashville, she says, while Obama” strikes her as “level-headed, intelligent, and someone who doesn’t fly off the handle; I like him.” Age is another strike against McCain in her view: “McCain is so old,” says Turnbach, who is retired. “If he passed away, we’d have someone so inexperienced it’s scary.” Most of her pro-life friends who went for Bush in 2000 and 2004 are also Obama grandmamas now, she says, including one who is really sweating the switch but “doesn’t think McCain is mentally stable.”

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And now the Conservative pundits are jumping ship. There’s no question that McCain is responsible for his lackluster campaign. There’s no question that a seventy-two-year-old man should have selected a more viable vice-presidential candidate. A McCain presidency scares the begeezus out of me.

Yet let’s be honest here. What was McCain given to work with? How is it that these guys are assigning the blame to McCain when the most powerful message Obama has given is that John McCain will be a continuation of the last four years. Who is responsible for the economic collapse? Who has increased our national debt? Who supported a unilateral war with no clear plan or goal? These are the things that preoccupy the American psyche, and John McCain’s support of each of these issues will determine his downfall.

But let’s not forget where the responsibility really lies: George W. Bush.

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