Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ohio for Obama, Rock Star Volunteer, Episode II

Special note: I'm struggling a little bit with getting pics and video up. You will have to use your imagination a little bit. It will probably hurt!...on to the blog...

One of the tasks I quickly dominated was phone banking. Basically, you call people to determine if they are Obama supporters and if they can volunteer. After a few good hours of this, it became like shooting fish in a barrel. I even remarked to handsome Obama staffer, Luke, who I was actually starting to like after our shaky introduction from Episode I, "Putting me on phone banking is a little bit like having Pele play foosball. Of course, he could do it, but what a waste of his talents!"

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Luke seated, Dave at right


I should be running the phonebanking operation. Soon, I was, with a little help from volunteer Dave. One of my most important tasks was making sure that Dave knew his place, which was beneath me. For instance, I made nametags for us. Mine said, "Phonebank Captain" and his said "Phonebank Co-Captain" or mine said "Phonebank CEO" and his said "Phonebank Middle Management".

One of my favorite stories was, after a long night of phonebanking, I talked to super dedicated volunteer Diane Durham. I asked her how her night had gone, and she said she had had some really negative calls right in a row at the end of the night. I could tell she was discouraged, so I said, "Maybe we should just quit!" :)

I was looking for more and more leadership roles, and I was promised by my field organizer, Carrianna, that I could run the canvassing (door to door) operation the next day. I could just see myself training people so well that I was essentially cloning myself, so there would be about 50 Fulchers out there dominating the doors, and I could sit inside where it was warm, yuck it up and drink hot chocolate. When I got there, Carrianna sent me to the other office to pick up computers. Since it was assigned to me, I was pretty sure this was the most important task ever and critical to our canvassing operation. I went to the downtown office expecting to be treated like royalty. Instead, I was ignored while all of the important people were on some conference call. They even made me answer phones while I waited. I remember a call from a father from Virginia that said he, his wife and four kids were going to drive to Dayton for a day, just to volunteer and go to church there. He said he never does anything like this, but was just so inspired. I told him not to come and that we'd probably lose by about 10 points no matter what. ;) Many of the calls I got were people looking for information about the Dayton office, which did not have a phone yet; I funneled them all to my friend from Iowa, Girish. Good guy, great mustache.

The stress built as I waited on the computers, and they gave me other tasks to accomplish. I had visions of angry potential canvassers burning the other office down because of our lack of Dells. I ended up waiting for about an hour and returned with no computers. Now, that's the Fulcher efficiency that is known from Iowa to South Carolina!

When I got back from whiffing on the computers, Carrianna told me that I was needed as a canvasser. I went out for about an hour, and one sentence describes my experience: it was a lot like hell only it was cold instead of hot!

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I decided I need a really bad chicken sandwich to brighten my mood, so I stopped off at a dive bar that was openly defying the Ohio smoking ban. The barflies were even trained to hide their cigarettes when anyone walked in. Good thing carbon monoxide is odorless.

I contemplated turning this place in for its civil disobedience, but, once I listened to the regulars, I couldn't help but like them. Two were discussing why Congress was investigating steroids while they should be ending the war in Iraq. Another leaned towards me and said, "how do you spell arbitrarily?" You can't make this kind of stuff up...and, of course, I just had to start smoking to fit in, and I've never really looked back.

My rock star volunteer status really started popping when I appeared in my first video of the campaign season.


Not my best work, but solid video making by Bexley High School student Jake Beech. Although it could have used more of me and less of everyone else. :)


I met the person with the best job in the world. Her name is Caitlin Harvey. The first time I met her she was leaving the downtown office to go and see Teddy Kennedy speak in Youngstown. I gave her my card and told her to slip it to Teddy. On 2-22, she shows up to interview me. She conveniently forgot the one task I had trusted her with. I soon forgave her, and the reason I say she has the best job in the world is that she is paid to listen to my stories. She's a blogger for the campaign and knows a rock star volunteer when she sees one. It wasn't long before she was eating out of my hand. A few hours later, my sister called me. She had been browsing http://www.barackobama.com/ and came across my profile. Thanks to Caitlin Harvey, my good looks and enthusiasm, I had made the main page. Woo hoo! Obama himself has been trying to make the main page for over a year. Keep trying, buddy!

Lastly, I weaseled my way in front of yet another camera to talk about canvassing. I hadn't planned on going canvassing that day (that's for people that I boss around). 10TV was doing some lame story about the campaign until I sat down and made the story about ME!!! If you look on Obama's website, it says "This campaign is about YOU!" I take that quite literally.
I know that if you look at the site from your computer it says "This campaign is about FULCH!" :)

As the interviewer guy throws me softballs, I'm knocking them out of the park with lines like "this is the center of the political universe" and "friends don't let friends vote for hillary" (the latter I actually didn't say...it came from my brother...you can tell we are close!) Soon, the interview guy is asking me if I would go canvassing, and he could film me. I just happened to wear my OSU jersey with my name on the back (marketing, baby!).

It was very neat for students to come up to me the next day and say, "I saw you on the news!" My first thought was, "kids watch the news? I hate the news! It's so boring." Of course when I am on it, it is slightly less boring.

Thus ends the tale of Fulcher, the rock star. There's still a lot left to tell, but my 15 minutes of fame was pretty much over. I'm actually pretty famous now, but not rich. So, please send me money, so I can quit my job and be a full time celebrity.

A few questions remain:

Would Carrianna be able to work her way back into my good graces after the canvassing betrayal? Would I be able to make any national news services? Would I be able to encourage any out of state volunteers to join me? What role would DC play in our big win on March 4th?

In case you are wondering about my apparent bombastic claims and attitude, keep in mind I am working through many of these issues with my psychologist, and I didn't even include how I think I can box like Muhammad Ali, dance like Michael Jackson, and sing like...well, if you saw my South Carolina blog, you know I can't really sing...

Until Episode III...

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