Pop in Obama campaign office in Salem
I hadn’t thought of coming to any campaign office of President Barack Obama until Monday when I received a message at dinner time from 62262, which read “President Obama is coming to Manchester this Thursday! Free tickets are available starting at 5:00 p.m. today. Find out where to get yours: http://txt.bo/al/g3onz.”
With the thought that Manchester was in Massachusetts, I dropped my half-eaten dinner immediately and visited that website because I do want to see him in person and how an American election campaign looks like. That was also when I knew I was wrong because that upcoming rally will be in Manchester, the largest city in New Hampshire, a neighbor of Massachusetts, which also has a city of Manchester.
That link led me to the website of President Barack Obama’s Campaign http://cp.barackobama.com, which asks me to submit my email address, area code and telephone number to sign up for a ticket. After I clicked a button at the end, it showed a list of places in New Hampshire where I can go to pick up my tickets from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. At the same time, I got an thank-you email with the same content.
I have been to New Hampshire last Thanksgiving but then I was going to visit a local friend’s family. I had no idea of Manchester. I Googled the bus to New Hampshire and then texted a classmate from New Hampshire for a recommendation of transportation to Manchester.
She suggested Boston Express. But later I decided to go to Salem, a town considered as the gateway to New Hampshire, instead to get the ticket because it takes just 30 minutes to go there by bus and there is a bus back to Boston every hour. I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t miss a meeting at Tufts University in Medford, a city adjacent to Cambridge, at 2 p.m.
The Boston Express bus with only me and another girl on board arrived in Salem at almost 11 a.m. With the help from a nice woman at the Boston Express station, I caught a cab from the station to what is called OFA (Obama for America) in Salem at 202 Main Street. When the cab got there, I saw a lot of cars in front of the brick building and a woman entering its main door.
“Are you coming to get a ticket for Obama’s rally in Manchester on Thursday?” I asked when she walked out just a moment later.
“Yes I am. But there is no one inside. Let’s me check the address,” she replied and walked to her car.
“I think we are in the right place.”
“Unit G-1,” she said and we stepped inside together.
She and I stopped at the directory on the right, which shows Unite G-1 in the basement.
The OFA sits right next to the stairways with a big photo of the Democratic candidate and the words in yellow on a black board which read “Teamsters for Obama.” The letter A in his first name is in white and contains a star in the center. Right below it is a Teamster logo.
On the left behind the door is two Obama life-size standup posters. A smiling guy at the desk cross from the posters said “hello” to us. A lot of tickets and sign-up form filled his desk. I said that I came for a ticket.
“How many tickets do you need?”
“I think two. Can I get for another person?” – the woman asked him.
“Yes. Do you have their address?”
I asked how many tickets a person can get, he said some as long as I know their address.
“So I get two. I’m not sure if that person can come with me. But I want to have another one just in case.”
While that woman and I were filling the form with name, address, phone number and email address, two more persons came and like us, they asked for tickets.
“Are you going to vote?”
“No. I’m not. I am an international student and interested in observing the rally.”
The man asked the woman the same question and if she wanted to become a volunteer. She gave him a nod, and then they discussed with the two newcomers about volunteering for the campaign. While they were exchanging talks, I looked around and asked another guy just coming out of a smaller room inside if I could take some photos.
My classmate said she would drive me to the rally. It is more than wonderful to me because I can learn from her politics reporting and I will feel more confident when I join the rally for the first time.
According to New Hampshire newspapers, the state of more than 1.3 million people is a battleground where Obama and Mitt Romney share the same supporting rate of 48%. This will be Obama’s fifth trip to New Hampshire this year.
The rally will take place in Veterans Park in downtown Manchester. The Union Leader said the public are allowed the park beginning at 9 a.m., as of Sunday night organizers said they did not know the exact time the President is expected to speak.
I returned to the bus station by 11:30 where only the woman I met in the morning and I occupied the clean-looking building. I said I just returned from the Obama campaign office and asked if she would vote for Obama.
She said she supports the Democratic Party but she is unsure because she wanted to see more improvements in economy and foreign affairs.
I said four years is too short for Obama to do all the things he promised in 2008, especially he inherited a lot of legacies from the former government.
If I were she, who comes from Massachusetts, I said I would give Obama another four years.
What the woman shared is also what the cab driver told me when he drove me back and forth from the Obama campaign office.
“I love him but I’m not sure.”
I know the Boston Express woman and the Salem Green Cab driver aren’t alone. They represent an increasing number of uncommitted voters. And New Hampshire is the key land of swing voters.
For me, I feel lucky to be here in the Election Year, especially have a chance to join the Obama campaign tomorrow. That’s what I never thought of before I came to the United States.
(Salem – New Hampshire, October/16/2012)