Today I seem to be having an Obama mañana.
First, I run into Max, who tells me that on Saturday the campaign is going to try to knock on 50,000 doors in South Carolina. Every county is organized, hundreds of volunteers are ready in-state, and hundreds more are expected to come from elsewhere to help. Should be quite an impressive feat if they pull it off — and if any campaign can, it’s Obama’s.
Then I read this on the front page of The Wall Street Journal. It’s getting to where I’m as likely to run into the names of local folks I know in national publications as in The State. The theme of the story is that all politics is local — and in this case, "local" means Greenwood, S.C. Such local characters as Rep. Anne Parks and Obama spokesman Kevin Griffis are characters in the tale. Anyway, the piece is a good read if you can call it up. And if you can’t here’s an excerpt:
GREENWOOD, S.C. — When Barack Obama wants to get a campaign crowd really fired up, he tells the story of a whistle-stop a few months back in this out-of-the-way town.
He was having a down day; the weather and his mood were both foul. And he had driven to Greenwood — "an hour and a half from anywhere" — to keep a promise to a state legislator. Just a handful of well-wishers were there to greet him.
Suddenly, the Illinois senator heard a voice sing out from the back of the room: "Fired up! Ready to go!" It came from a tiny woman in a big-brimmed church hat. She repeated the chant. Before long, everybody joined in, and Mr. Obama himself was again feeling the spirit.
"Here’s a lesson for you," he said while telling the Greenwood story at a rally in Carroll, Iowa, this month. "If you’re fired up and ready to go, we can change the world."
But beyond Mr. Obama’s soapbox rhetoric about Greenwood is a more complicated story, of small-town politics, snubs and jealousies — and a reminder that even presidential campaigns can be very personal and very local. Mr. Obama’s appearance in Greenwood may have left him fired up, but it also left bruised feelings among local Democrats and left his campaign with a damage-control job that continues to this day…
Finally, I overhear somebody at another table at breakfast talking about Obama, and I find myself wondering if the guy is taking over South Carolina. But it’s just someone mentioning the candidate’s appearance at a couple of churches here in the Columbia Sunday, and I had already read about that.