Saturday, March 29, 2008

Maps, scripts and barking dogs

Henry Rome/The SPOKE

By Henry Rome
Managing Editor

VILLANOVA—It was her first time, and as she approached her first house Nancy Rainey quickly glanced over the script. The house sat at the end of an exclusive cul-de-sac in Villanova. As she approached the house, she was not met with a registered Democrat, but with a large, black lab, barking loudly—the dog was charging, much like the stereotypical mailman hunter of the movies. Rainey backed away cautiously and quickly marked down "inaccessible" on her sheet of potential voters.

Rainey, 62, of Villanova, was among a group of canvassers who were out in force Mar. 29, trying to rally support for presidential contender Barack Obama and attract volunteers to his campaign. Both the Clinton and Obama campaigns have canvassed extensively, trying to garner support and volunteers in the pivotal Main Line.

Rainey and a partner canvassed for about two hours that Saturday morning, visiting around a dozen houses and distributing literature, signs and bumper stickers.

The canvassers were given spreadsheets of registered Democrats in the area, along with printouts of maps and directions and scripts for addressing potential voters.

"This is not as easy as it looks," Rainey said, as she shuffled through stacks of voter information and maps, organizing with her partner their plan of attack.

Rainey decided to volunteer because she said she likes Obama's stance on issues--such as healthcare--and feels he can turn Washington in a new direction.

Rainey's beat this morning involved many of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Villanova, and more often than not she was met with locked gates than residents.

But, overall, Lower Merion Canvas Coordinator Art Matusow said that this morning's canvassing yielded "terrific results." Matusow said the Obama Main Line Office has volunteers canvassing almost every day.

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