McCain's Center City headquarters are located in the heart of Philadelphia's Chinatown. Here and elsewhere in this Democratic-leaning city, support for Obama is readily apparent in store and home windows. Photo: RANDALL MAH
BY RANDALL MAH
PHILADELPHIA, PA, 7:40 a.m., Oct. 26 - I got into Philadelphia about three in the afternoon yesterday. Because I have come to cover the McCain campaign's strategy in this heavily Democratic city, it was very serendipitous that the bus dropped me off right in front of McCain headquarters in Philly's Chinatown. The office windows were completely plastered with McCain-Palin posters. With the sky gray and rain imminent, I decided to step in and take a look.
On the first floor, there were about half a dozen McCain volunteers sitting at long desks on their cell phones calling up voters. Vicky Honohan, a 60-something volunteer who came from Long Island to volunteer for three hours, told me a little about the McCain strategy in Philadelphia.
Volunteers calling voters at McCain's downtown Philadelphia headquarters. Photo: RANDALL MAH
In this Democratic-leaning city, Honohan said that "the purpose is to get out to as many people as possible, not to debate specific issues." With that in mind, campaign volunteers are trying to persuade undecided and Obama supporters to switch to McCain by encouraging them to visit JohnMcCain.com and read up on McCain's positions. Honohan tells voters, "before you cast your vote, you may want to" look at John McCain's website and see if you like what you read. As Honohan puts it, she is "planting a seed," with the hopes that the voter will grow into a McCain supporter.
But, if you look around downtown, the one thing you will notice is that there are a lot of Obama-Biden posters placed in store and home windows. With most polls putting Obama ahead of McCain in Pennsylvania, including an Oct. 23 Muhlenberg College/Morning Call poll that puts McCain down at 40 percent to Obama's 52 percent, McCain volunteers have their work cut out for them.
To get Republicans to come out and vote, the McCain campaign will be targeting the more Republican northeast areas of Philly. This afternoon, there will be a motorcycle rally starting at McCain headquarters. There, I'll be able to learn more about how McCain supporters are going to get the city enthused for their candidate.