Saturday, May 05, 2007

"Obama's Illinois workers train to help campaign elsewhere"

Lynn Sweet (Chicago Sun-Times):
Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama has state directors and paid staff in the early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Based in his national campaign headquarters on Michigan Avenue in Chicago -- the home office for Camp Obama -- Obama is building a separate political operation in Illinois.

The point is not just to win the Feb. 5 Illinois primary -- Obama has a lock on that election -- but to tap into his tremendous strength in Illinois and train people on his behalf.
The Illinois Obama operation has already started to train workers to send to the other states to help.

Recent Illinois Obama for President organizing meetings have been attended by Comptroller Dan Hynes; Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn and Attorney General Lisa Madigan; Secretary of State Jesse White is also on board.

These statewide officials -- and of course, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), one of Obama's earliest boosters -- have name recognition in neighboring Iowa, where the first caucus vote will be held next January.

In 2004, Howard Dean made a big mistake in Iowa by sending in squads of out-of-state volunteers wearing orange hats (the hats backfired because it pegged them as outsiders) who were numerous and exuberant but ineffective in the Hawkeye State.

Intent on not repeating problems of past presidential campaigns -- and leveraging the proximity of Illinois to neighboring Iowa -- the Illinois Obama operation is:

• Organizing sister city programs. One getting off the ground is between Illinois communities and Iowa. For example, Obama backers who live in Evanston or the Lake View neighborhood on the North Side would be assigned precincts to get to know in Cedar Rapids.

• Training volunteers to canvass voters -- which means shoe-leather door knocking to find out whom a registered voter supports, leans toward, or wants to know more about.

Obama canvassers will be fanning out across the country -- including Iowa -- in June. The idea is not to have strangers making calls and house visits but to use all the social networking tools available to make real people-to-people sustained connections.

• Building networks for low-dollar fund-raising.

• Opening an office in the Loop where volunteers can come, work and just hang out.

• Creating Camp Obama. No, there's not going to be cabins with bunks. But it will be in Chicago. Camp Obama is a training program -- run by campaign professionals -- being launched by the campaign. People who do well in the four-day training will be put in the pipeline for internships and paid jobs. Training topics will include canvassing, phone banking and recruiting volunteers. Camp Obama applications can be found at

Veteran field organizer Jon Carson has been tapped to be the Illinois state director. Before the Obama campaign, Carson managed Tammy Duckworth's general election congressional bid last year.

Nate Tamarin is the Illinois political director. Tamarin moved back to Illinois after serving as the political director for Obama's political action committee in Washington, the HOPEFUND. Before re-upping with Obama, Tamarin was working for Pete Giangreco's Strategy Group, the political direct mail firm based in Evanston. Tamarin was in the Obama presidential campaign from the start; last January, he organized the telephone conference calls to supporters in which Obama announced his exploratory committee.

The Illinois Downstate director is Anita Decker, who is moving over from Obama's Quad Cities Senate office; deputy Illinois director is Keevin Woods, who comes out of Madigan's political operation. Camp Obama chief is Jocelyn Woodards, who worked for South Suburban College and the Democratic National Committee.

What's interesting in Illinois is that the local campaign is drawing in people who actually know Barack and Michelle Obama. At one recent organizing event, I'm told Michelle Obama's Whitney Young High School principal showed up as well as a person who worked with Obama in the days when he was a community organizer in Chicago.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do Not Mail Opt-Out Law would be fair to everyone.

The proposed recent "Do not mail" is an Opt-Out law. Only those not desiring advertising mail need opt-out. Anyone desiring advertising mail can do nothing - and continue to receive it. Why deny those wishing to avoid advertising mail the power to do so?

I do not consider handling unwanted advertising placed against my will on my personal property to be a civic obligation!

The US Supreme Court said in the Rowan case in 1970, ““In today's [1970] complex society we are inescapably captive audiences for many purposes, but a sufficient measure of individual autonomy must survive to permit every householder to exercise control over unwanted mail. To make the householder the exclusive and final judge of what will cross his threshold undoubtedly has the effect of impeding the flow of ideas, information, and arguments that, ideally, he should receive and consider. Today's merchandising methods, the plethora of mass mailings subsidized by low postal rates, and the growth of the sale of large mailing lists as an industry in itself have changed the mailman from a carrier of primarily private communications, as he was in a more leisurely day, and have made him an adjunct of the mass mailer who sends unsolicited and often unwanted mail into every home. It places no strain on the doctrine of judicial notice to observe that whether measured by pieces or pounds, Everyman's mail today is made up overwhelmingly of material he did not seek from persons he does not know. And all too often it is matter he finds offensive.”

Furthermore, the Supreme Court said, “the mailer's right to communicate is circumscribed only by an affirmative act of the addressee giving notice that he wishes no further mailings from that mailer.

To hold less would tend to license a form of trespass and would make hardly more sense than to say that a radio or television viewer may not twist the dial to cut off an offensive or boring communication and thus bar its entering his home. Nothing in the Constitution compels us to listen to or view any unwanted communication, whatever its merit; we see no basis for according the printed word or pictures a different or more preferred status because they are sent by mail.”

We need a nationwide “Do Not Mail” law to create a one-stop, convenient place for homeowners to give senders the aforementioned affirmative notice that we do not want certain kinds of mail sent to our homes.

Ramsey A Fahel