THE BLOG

Campaign Journal: Something Old, Something New

05/25/2011 12:50 pm ET

I have made a personal commitment to give at least twenty hours a week to the Obama campaign serving in whatever capacity they need. At the moment, I've been made a team leader for my district in East Orlando. In order to effectively lead the team I've been on the phones myself and I've been visiting the neighborhoods knocking on doors to get a sense of what's happening here so that I can better advise the team.

Mon. Oct 6

This is the last day to register people in Florida. All applications are to be delivered to The Supervisor of Elections before 9:45 P.M., or they need to be postmarked before midnight. The push is on. Our office has volunteers with forms at every gathering place you can think of. Every supermarket, strip mall, library and truck stop is being covered. There's even a registration table at the dog park and it's active.

I decided to go into Waterford Lakes, a huge shopping area with almost every kind of chain outlet you can imagine and just walk around to every store, clipboard in hand rather than stay at a table in one place. That way I can talk to people at Best Buy, Joanne Fabrics, Office Max, Pet Supermarket, Target, Party City, Old Navy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kinko's plus every kind of restaurant and hair care shop you can imagine. There's also a huge cinema complex, so I can register a multitude of people from all walks of life with myriad reasons to be there. In most places the people let me know they are registered and few of them thank me for caring.

The most interesting place I visited was Starbucks (yes, this one was still operating). A bunch of young people in their early twenties had shoved some tables together and were just "hangin' out." It was after 5:00 P.M. and I was tired of walking. I was invited to join them and registered four of them immediately. Most of them were UCF grads that were looking for work besides flipping burgers or doing hair. That led to a spirited discussion led by me of the Clinton economy which they were entirely unfamiliar with. I got several promises that they would vote for Obama, so we'll see what happens.

Back at campaign headquarters there was furious activity checking all the applications for accuracy and making sure that all spaces were correctly marked. I have no idea of the totals, but in my head I figured that it was well over a thousand with all of us working out there.


Tue. Oct 7

There is lots of work to be done before we all go to the debate party. Today we are going to man the phones for volunteers. The next big push is to get as many volunteers as possible to come in Saturday for a strategy session to get out the vote. The phone banks are busy. I take a list and make calls for volunteers. Three hours and 137 calls later it's time to quit for the day. The phone results were good today. We got a lot of promises--let's see what happens Saturday.

The party was held in a volunteer's living room. Everyone's reactions are pretty similar as John McCain continues to lie. Every time we catch him in an untruth or a distortion there are shouts of disbelief that he is not challenged--not by Obama, but by Brokaw, who was clearly not up to the job. It was either that or he was purposely tilting things to keep McCain competitive. I, frankly, can't stand Brokaw and at best have only ever tolerated him. Later in this series I'll do a perspective on him. We all agree that Obama won this one handily and that McCain looked like he was self-destructing.


Wed. Oct 8

I have plans to be away for the next four days so I need to wrap up what I can before noon. I bring my lap top to headquarters and download software that will enable me to keep tabs on my team and also make phone calls from wherever I happen to be. Tomorrow is Yom Kippur with Kol Nidre services beginning at sundown this evening. I suspect that most of the Jewish campaign workers will not actively participate, however there is no real way of knowing. I plan to make calls wherever I am when I am able to, and I do. I e-mail my totals to headquarters.


Thur. Oct 9

Today is a day of reflection, rather than atonement for me. My grandfather died on Yom Kippur in 1972, thirty six years ago. Members of my family told me that dying on this holiest of days is the highest honor a man can receive. He was a remarkable man who quit school in the fourth grade in order to support his very large family. He became a successful merchant and manufacturer and continued to support his brothers and sisters well into the great depression. At 9:30 this morning our daughter, Nancy, is in labor with her pains four minutes apart. Margaret Paige Gorczynski emerges from the womb at 4:15 P.M. delivered by her father, Erik, the old fashioned way. The midwife didn't arrive until 10 minutes after her birth. I surmise that her being born today is an additional honor for my grandfather and that she will achieve great things in her life. I recall that the late Gertrude Berg's paean to the family, The Goldbergs, was all about family and generations. Yes, today was a day of reflection and observance. The campaign will have to wait a few hours.

Fri. Oct 10

I change my schedule to be back in the campaign over the weekend. I'm back at the desk in the evening and I manage to make about 50 calls for volunteers before we have to get ready for tomorrow's event. The UCF organizer has about 20 students in a meeting getting ready for the day's events.

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