As they ponder a political map that has spelled defeat for Democrats in the last two presidential elections, Barack Obama's campaign strategists are quietly laying plans to draw African American voters to the polls in unprecedented numbers by capitalizing on the excitement over the prospect of electing the nation's first black president.
In addition, a coalition of liberal advocacy groups, led by the Assn. of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is trying to register 1.2 million voters -- with a special emphasis on blacks.
While the NAACP is nonpartisan and its officials say their efforts to register new voters are not specifically designed to help Obama, they say there is an added excitement among potential new voters.
"Hope is at an all-time high, and when hope is raised, people are moved to action," said Sybil Edwards-McNabb, president of the Ohio NAACP.