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My Email Buddy, Barack Obama

Posted: 08/28/2008 11:44 pm

I want to share a correspondence that has taken place between myself and Senator Obama. Since I closed the DNC with a benediction on Monday, people have asked whether I know the Senator and whether we've met. Barack Obama and I have had an ongoing e-mail correspondence for several months, the bulk of which I have posted for you.

It all started when I attended a rally here in Portland at which more than 75,000 people showed to support the Senator. Somehow, I managed to get a spot close to the stage and during his speech the Senator pointed at me and told me "Yes, I could," something I think he stole from the Black Eyed Pea's, but oh well. Anyway, I was moved by the speech, but I had questions. I can do what? At the time, I was trying to pick paint colors for the living room, but was frozen between Icelandic Blue and Mossy-Rock Green.

To my amazement, Barack e-mailed me shortly thereafter. I don't know if it is appropriate to share our personal correspondence, but I offer it to you anyway. I've posted Barack's e-mails followed by my responses.

FIRST E-MAIL FROM BARACK:

Dear Donald,

You did it!

Not just yesterday, but every day for more than a year, you did what the cynics said we couldn't do.

You said the time has come to get beyond the same old tactics that divide and distract us, and you gave people a reason to believe again.

We're within reach of the nomination, and we are ready to take this country in a new direction.
Thank you for your continued support, and for everything you've done to make this possible.
Barack

MY RESPONSE:

Mr. Obama,

Wow. I'm shocked. How did you get my e-mail address? I gave my e-mail address to a cute hippie with a clip board. Did you get my address from her? Do you know her? Can you ask her to call me? Anyway, no biggie, just cool that you wrote.

I wanted to talk to you after the rally but the guy with the curly earphones said you were busy. As for your e-mail, I don't remember saying "the time has come to get beyond the same old tactics that divide and distract us," but that's exactly how I feel. I say a lot of things I don't remember. My roommate Jordan said I said he could eat my leftover calzone from Pizzicatta but I don't remember saying that and I know I was planning on having it for breakfast the next day.

Anyway, I hear you are going to Europe. I was thinking about trying to get over there myself but the exchange rate is nuts. My friend Karl said he paid nine bucks for a pint. That's out of my league. Are you backpacking? Staying in hostels? Watch out in Amsterdam, that place is crazy. Write back about that hippie girl.

I gotta go.

Don

SECOND E-MAIL FROM BARACK:

Donald -

Right now you have a unique opportunity to go head-to-head with George W. Bush.
This week, John McCain and George Bush gathered behind closed doors, away from the cameras, to raise money for McCain's campaign.

McCain used Bush to raise a reported $3.5 million from a group of about 500 Republican contributors.
That's a lot of money that will undoubtedly be used to attack us and make the case to continue George Bush's policies.

John McCain can run from the cameras, but he can't hide from the fact he's aiming to continue George Bush's policies for a disastrous third term.

Let's show that we're ready to take him on. Donate to the campaign today.

Thank you,

Barack

MY RESPONSE:

Barack, dude, that first line freaked me out. For a second I was like, no way, he's surrounded by secret service. And then I was picturing some kind of fight club in the basement of the White House where Dick Cheney and Karl Rove pummel each other in order to "feel." Did you see that movie? Chuck Palhniuk is from Portland, you know. He's a bit strange.

To be honest, man, I'm strapped for cash right now. I bought a couple t-shirts at the rally and a bumper-sticker but that's all the money I had. I should have some money coming in next week and I'll float you something. Do you need to pick up a flag pin? I've got one if you need it. It was my uncles.

Later,

Don

P.S. My friends call me Don, so it's cool.

THIRD E-MAIL FROM BARACK:

Donald -

I'm about to take the stage in St. Paul and announce that we have won the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.

It's been a long journey, and we should all pause to thank Hillary Clinton, who made history in this campaign. Our party and our country are better off because of her.

It's going to take hard work, but thanks to you and millions of other donors and volunteers, no one has ever been more prepared for such a challenge.

Thank you for everything you've done to get us here. Let's keep making history.

Barack

MY RESPONSE:

Barack,

Sorry I missed your e-mail. Did you already give your speech? Do you get this on an I-Phone? My friend Wade and me (he was standing next to me at the Portland rally) ran down to the river because somebody said Starbucks was giving away Frappacino's. Half true, though. It was just free samples. But Wade and I kept walking around this pole to get back in line and I filled up half a Nalgene before they told me to stop.

Very cool about Hillary. Sometimes you just have to talk it through, you know. I just think it's cool you guys can be friends. I'm not married but I know my married friends are always looking for other couples to hang out with.

Let me know how that speech went.

Don

P.S. Also, did you give Al Gore my e-mail address? It's cool, I just hadn't heard from him before. We're friends on facebook, but what does that mean anymore. And please, everybody calls me Don.

An E-Mail from Michelle Obama, came shortly after I was asked to give the closing prayer at the DNC.

FIRST E-MAIL FROM MICHELE OBAMA:

Donald -

Barack likes to tell a story about the two of us standing backstage before his speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention.

The way he tells it, he was too busy in the days before the convention to feel any pressure -- but about an hour before the speech, I could tell he was getting a little nervous.

To break the tension, right before he went out on stage I leaned in close and said, "Just don't screw it up, buddy."

We laughed. And then Barack brought the house down.

Barack's speech at this year's convention will be a culmination of the unlikely journey that has brought all of us so far over the past 17 months.

Seeing it in person will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I'm excited about being there, and if you make a donation of $5 or more before the deadline, you could join Barack backstage. Donate today and you will be registered to join us!

Thanks for everything you've done to get us here.

Michelle

MY RESPONSE:

Mrs. Obama,

It's a pleasure to hear from you. You look lovely all the time. Are we all going to hang out in Denver? I think it's awesome they asked me to pray.

I just want you to know, I'm not one of those cigar-smoking guys that is going to have your husband out on the back deck shooting b.b. guns till midnight. I don't know if you made contact to try to feel me out or not, but I'm not like that. I like a cigar every once in a while, but it's not that big of a deal.

That is awesome what you said to Barack before the 2004 speech, about not screwing it up. That was the first time I saw him speak and I was blown away. But could you not say that to me before my prayer? Please. I just get really, really nervous. I nearly wet my pants before that talk at Harvard. I know it's just a three-minute prayer, but could you just kind of nod at me when it's my turn to walk out there? I am just going to listen to my headphones beforehand, like Michael Phelps.

Also, I don't have to follow him, do I? He's not going to do the yes you can one, is he? Think he'd be willing to tone it down a bit, so I don't look bad?

I look forward to meeting you. I don't hardly watch football anymore. Just on Sundays, and never when I am at somebody else's house. No biggie, just saying.

Sincerely,

Donald

P.S. So do I have to register to get a pass. A lady named Kitty called and said there would be a packet at the hotel. What room are you guys in?

FINAL E-MAIL FROM BARACK:

Donald -

As you may have heard, 10 supporters will be joining me backstage before I accept the nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

The people who make up our movement are of all different ages, races, and backgrounds -- and these folks are no different.

They each bring their own unique perspectives and experience, and they are united by their hunger for change.

If you cannot make it to Denver, you can get together with your friends and family and watch my acceptance speech at a Convention Watch Party.

Thank you for your belief in our ability to bring real change to this country. You continue to grow and strengthen our movement in ways no one thought possible.

Barack

MY RESPONSE:

Barack,

Cool about the other guys. Are they fraternity guys? It's just not my crowd, that's all. But no big deal.

I can make it to Denver. I told Michelle but she hasn't e-mailed back. Kitty said my rehearsal would be on Sunday and I could use the teleprompter. Do they control the text from the sound-booth or can you scroll up and down with a button of your own? Have you ever looked through the teleprompter and got eye-locked with somebody and messed up?

Are the other guys giving a prayer, too?

It's really cool you guys invited me to come. It's an honor, to be honest. I think it's great that you pray. I pray too. Tell Michelle I say hello. See you soon.

Sincerely,

Donald

P.S. Can you get Hannah Montana tickets? They aren't for me, they're for my niece. I told her I would ask.

•••••

So that's it. I'm not saying we're best friends, but I think he's a pretty good guy for making contact and keeping in touch.

The convention was great. I actually did meet Michelle Obama and she was striking and friendly. She, her brother Craig, and the Obama children came into a room where I was sitting backstage, and for a few minutes it was just us. It was so strange to see this woman who was about to go out and address the nation and I'm telling you, she wasn't nervous at all. She was just another mother hanging out with her kids. I don't know how she remained so composed. It was really an honor to be back there.

So this is the new blog. I'll try to keep it light and funny, because I'm not big on controversy. I think most of it is hype, to be honest. But if you want to chime in, I've finally got a way for you to leave comments.

Best,

Don

Crossposted from donmilleris.com.

 
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