First published at WashingtonTimes.com
Call it Real World: Inauguration.
What happens when you bring together 10 strangers, with nothing in common save one incoming president, for a conversation about what his candidacy means to them and how they may continue their work to help the administration?
We decided to give the experiment a shot, hosting a group of Obama supporters hailing from coast to coast and from just about every demographic.
Most of the people in the room have appeared in the paper and on this blog before — the South Carolina Republican who worked for Strom Thurmond, the Ohio woman whose fervency at an Obama rally made her YouTube famous, the West Virginia volunteers who faced tough odds.
The result was a great discussion over several hours, held on the eve of President Obama's inauguration, and a front-page story today:
President Obama's grass-roots supporters remain energized and ready for him to call them to action and service, pledging they will mobilize around the new administration's policies.
Obama loyalists who knocked on doors, gave money and made phone calls for more than a year are still glowing from his ascension to the presidency, but say they recognize it's time to roll up their sleeves again.
"That whole strategy and network is going to keep building," said Carol Myers, a former high school principal from Indianapolis.
"I see people getting mobilized. ... He's going to push that, and it's not just him, it's this whole network of people who are now saying, 'What can we do?'" she said. "If there's a flood in Cincinnati, it's not just going to be Cincinnati that's going to be dealing with it. It's just the beginning of that kind of compassion and commitment and action and that feeling that we're all part of this."
"You're right," responded Marie Engles, of Springboro, Ohio. "We're all in it together."
The Washington Times captured that conversation between the two voters, who had nothing in common except Mr. Obama.
The newspaper recently hosted a luncheon for 10 people living in areas ranging from San Francisco to rural South Carolina who came to Washington for the Obama inauguration, helping to bring together the coalition that contributed to his win.
Read the full story here.
Here's some video of the group discussing how they will remain active for Obama:
And a conversation on race:
— Christina Bellantoni, White House correspondent,
The Washington Times
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