Now, Obama exhorts you to call voters for him

March 3rd, 2008 - 4:53 pm ICT by admin  

By Parveen Chopra
New York, March 3 (IANS) Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s campaign, which has acquired the patina of a messianic movement, continues to come up with unconventional strategies to get mass support. After claiming that over one million people “own this campaign”, each having donated amounts up to as little as $10, his regular mass emails have now been asking recipients to call people to vote for him in Tuesday’s crucial primaries and caucuses in Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island.

Already ahead of rival Hillary Clinton in the race, the senator from Illinois aims to deliver the knockout punch to her and clinch the Democratic party’s nomination in this poll round.

Obama’s campaign set itself a target of over one million phone calls to help “get out the vote” in the week ahead of the March 4 primaries. The digital ticker on his website showed that the target was already crossed on Sunday night.

The campaign mail signed by Obama smacks of language and techniques generally used by motivational gurus and marketing wiz kids. It says: “I want your voice to be heard today - literally.”

Coming to the point, it says: “All you need is a few minutes, a phone line, and a passion for change. Start making calls right now.”

The mail thrice gives the link to his website which has a phone-banking tool and a list of phone numbers to call in each polling state, and a readymade script for you to use.

Women are urged to call women voters from the lists, Hispanics to other Spanish speaking people, and students to fellow students.

The mail then provides testimonials, one from a supporter who successfully canvassed a voter in Texas and another from one who was helped by a call to make up her mind to vote for Obama instead of Clinton.

The mail calls the Obama campaign a movement and blurs the line of joining it with personal growth: “You have helped accomplish some extraordinary things during this campaign. But the most extraordinary things happen at the personal level, when you can make that personal connection to a voter and discover that you share a common vision of what ought to be.”

Obama, who has been given epithets from populist to charismatic, seems to be following through a well thought-out strategy in his bid for the White House.

The pointed message that adorns the masthead of his website reads: “I am asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington… I am asking you to believe in yours.”

Obama’s approach, rare in American politics in recent times, has been succeeding in energising people, particularly the youth, and arousing them to get involved in politics - in his favour, of course.

“It’s so rapturous, everything around him. All these huge rallies,” Lee Cowan, the NBC reporter assigned to Obama’s campaign, has been quoted as saying in a New York paper.

The otherwise hardnosed journalists have not remained unmoved by the Obama phenomenon. Though they have claimed objectivity in merely reporting what they witness on the ground, they have been depicted as fawning over Obama in a “Saturday Night Live” skit last week, a characterisation now invoked frequently by Clinton and her aides.

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