Friday, 1 August 2008

Join the Search Party - Monday Night

As our Presidential campaign heads into high gear, the Obama campaign is constantly seeking new volunteers with energy and creativity to help us find and register Americans all across the UK. We are launching a weekly series of volunteer training and coordination sessions each Monday in Central London, and we are really hoping you will be able to join us for the first one – where we we will also enjoy a dash of Hollywood, with the launch of our new Vote From Abroad video (starring a glamorous Mystery Celebrity Guest).

Join us on Monday, August 4 - and come prepared to pound the pavements as part of our American voter search party! We’ll be hitting the streets straight after the training to find those elusive unregistered voters.

Monday, August 4
From 7:00 PM
Yorkshire Grey (Upstairs Room)
46 Langham Street
London, W1W 7AX

International Voter Day - August 9th

The Obama campaign has challenged our activists around the world to find as many American voters as we can on the 9th of August. I am asking each of you to commit to dedicating your time on that day to tracking down and registering American voters wherever we can find them.

  • Why not leaflet in the lobby of hotels and youth hostels?
  • Or hang posters in Kensington cafes?
  • Or canvass people on the South Bank, or in Hampstead, or in the City?
  • Or hold a House Party for Barack in your neighborhood?

I’d like each and every one of us to commit to some action for voter registration on this day. Can’t get out and about? No problem – spend the day dialling your whole phone book to check that they are registered. Remember, they can register online using – it couldn’t be easier. Please commit to celebrating our International Voter Day with us – to give a real kick start to our International campaign as we head into election season. And don’t forget to e-mail me to let me know what you’ve done, so I can report our success back to the campaign.

Obama East to West Rally for Barack August 16th

On August 16, our Obama East to West Bridges rally will take place on London Bridge. Please invite all your friends, grab together your Obama t-shirts, badges and signs (paint your own) and meet us outside the Barrow Boy and Banker pub ( on 6-8 Borough High Street, London near London Bridge at 1:30 PM, followed by a meeting on the balcony at the pub ending from 2:30 to 4:00.

See here for a map of the pub location:

Please drop us a line at to let us know you’re coming.

(And by the way, if you’ll be in town for the rally, why not round it off by attending this fabulous grassroots fundraiser with what sounds like a really rocking band:

Details, Details!

Barack Obama has issued many more policy papers offering far more detailed proposals than his opponent.
Yet who is calling whom an airhead?
Politico today quotes a number of analysts including conservatives, who conclude, like Robert Bixby, executive director of the bipartisan balanced budget advocacy organization Concord Coalition, "The Obama people are much more detailed,"
No wonder Senator McCain has been crafting ads that distract people from the issues.

Channel surf for five minutes here in the States, and it’s clear his ploy is working. Reporters spin their coverage of Barack Obama with a great show of exasperation, citing “lofty promises and lack of specificity”. Yet they ask nothing more of John McCain than to justify his ad campaign.
Which he is more than happy to do, getting free air time to supplement the slots he’s bought and paid for.

You may hear a version of this among people you know—friends and cohorts who claim to have a superficial impression of Senator Obama but no knowledge of what he’s proposing with regard to the economy, foreign affairs, health care, civil liberties...Please spend some time this weekend familiarizing yourself with his positions, or at least posting the following link to everyone who trusts your judgment, so the next time someone parrots John McCain’s prime talking point, you can provide an informed, enlightening response.

Clueless in WIsconsin

At a town hall meeting in Wisconsin on Thursday, John McCain didn’t have a response to the challenge Barack Obama issued from his forum in Iowa: "Is that the best you can come up with?" While noting that John McCain’s negative ads won't do a thing to lower gas prices, Senator Obama went on to discuss his alternative energy plans.

John McCain merely reprised his discredited assaults on Obama’s judgment, providing no particular policies for voters to consider.
While in Wisconsin, John McCain made time to meet with Debra Bartoshevich a Hillary Clinton supporter who flouting her own candidate’s advice, has pledged her support for the GOP nominee. Perhaps Bartoshevich is not concerned about John McCain’s merited zero rating from abortion rights groups.

And perhaps she’s unaware that Senator McCain has a ZERO percent rating from the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities and the American Nurses Association, each of which has given a 100 percent rating to Barack Obama.

And she may be unaware as well that every major educational advocacy group, from curriculum advisory boards to the National Education Association has given John McCain a failing grade, while awarding an A to Senator Obama. (It’s important to note that Barack Obama does not rubber stamp the interests of the NEA. As an outspoken advocate of merit pay, he has stirred up some dissent, but the Union will back him over his opponent handily.)

Perhaps you know someone like Bartoshevich who who could benefit from logging onto Project Votesmart. Because anyone who'd backed the Democratic agenda as represented by Senator Clinton, supporting John McCain is about to do anything but.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Know Your Stuff: The Mother Lode

There is a simple to use online source of hard facts about each candidate, where you can find out how each voted on every pertinent issue in this campaign, as well as the names of everyone who has endorsed him and how interest groups have rated his performance-for instance, the Childrens Defense Fund has given Obama a 100 percent rating twice, and John McCain a high of 22, and most recently a 10. And the Campaign for America’s future, dedicated to sustainable energy development, gave John McCain a 17, and Barack Obama 100.

If you’re not familiar with Project VoteSmart, please bookmark these pages: AND
With this tool you can provide objective information for anyone curious about each candidate’s proven positions on the critical issues the next President will confront.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Rock Stars

Interesting tactic. John McCain would like to win your vote by insulting your intelligence.

Well, let’s see if you’re smart enough to spot the difference.

Barack Obama is the one with a job creation plan tied to massive investment in infrastructure, foremost the creation of state of the art public transit networks that will at once relieve the nation’s highways of congestion, allow communities to thrive, provide access to jobs for people who can’t afford automobiles, sharply reduce dependence on fossil fuels and correspondingly cut our country’s carbon emissions.

The other one is Brittney Spears.

Barack Obama is the one who knows we can’t drill our way to lower fuel prices, and who has proposed we innovate our way instead, offering a visionary plan for a green economy that would comprise a constellation of social, economic and strategic benefits, including improvements in education, particularly at primary level; and job creation, all culminating in the development of diverse sources of renewable energy. :

The other one is Paris Hilton.

Now let’s compare and contrast.

Here are the latest ads from Obama for America. And a reminder: these ads are your contributions at work to persuade those Americans who aren't yet familiar with the candidates that Barack Obama will better represent, preserve, and promote their interests.

Spot the difference, indeed.

The Smart Girl in the Glasses or the Pretty Girl Who Can’t Do Math?

There’s a prevailing media myth – born I suppose of the need to draw "contracts" wherever possible – that any positive quality a person holds must be offset by a corresponding negative one.

Thus, in classic Hollywood teen-movie format – the smart girl has to wear glasses and be socially awkward or unattractive, the pretty girl must be dim. A star athlete must be cloddish and insensitive, the artistic or dramatic types must be physically frail and frankly kinda wussy.

A similar dynamic seems to be at place with media coverage of Barack Obama. Since very early on in the primary there has been this reflexive assumption that because Obama gives powerful and inspirational speeches that excite large crowds THEREFORE, we can assume his actual policy prescriptions and proposals are necessarily thin and lacking in detail.

Those of us who admire the total package (“That girl is pretty AND smart! Weird!”) have long been capable of seeing that while, granted, Obama’s speeches ARE beautifully crafted, well delivered and crowd pleasing it seems that he ALSO has all these detailed and well thought-through policy statements.

What can account for this impossible paradox?

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Big Picture Talking Points

Kudos to the McCain campaign for mastering the art of separating the particles of major issues and offering these disembodied fragments as if each were a meaningful whole. Consider offshore oil drilling. John McCain promotes this single proposal as if finding new sources of old fuel is policy enough for a nation desperate for cheap power. The GOP nominee’s energy proposal offers no link to economics other than the candidate’s promise that more oil will bring lower prices.
Senator McCain has had no particular economic policy, other than to promise to extend the Bush tax cuts, presumably as a stimulus. Again, unlike Senator Obama, he makes no link between a new energy policy and the potential for economic renewal, boosting education standards or clearing some moral high ground in international affairs.
With regard to education, Senator McCain’s policy seems to comprise providing vouchers for children in failing school districts, and after saying he would freeze discretionary federal funding, which would include money for schools, Senator McCain now says he will fully fund No Child Left Behind. (For a keen analysis and comparison of the two candidates’ education plans please read David Brooks

John McCain’s policy proposals bring to mind the opposite of an impressionist painting. Up close, each element looks sharp. But step back, and it’s a mess.

Barack Obama by contrast has a coherent policy. He has integrated energy, economics, education and foreign affairs into an expansive plan for national renewal. His plans are so comprehensive and well-entwined that it’s tempting to reckon that McCain has been able to determine the terms of debate with his pitiful particulate policies because Senator Obama’s sweeping yet fundamentally sensible—and wholly necessary-- vision is a bit much for people to get their heads around.

So I am hoping that as advocates for Barack Obama, we can start talking about his joined up policies and the promise they have for our country. Let’s start with energy, the economy and education.
Simply put, Barack Obama has called for an Apollo Mission level investment in clean energy technology. This would necessarily involve lots of money for education, particularly in those areas where American students presently under perform: math and science. It would also necessarily involve creating new jobs, and not just openings for new workers in existing fields, but altogether new types of employment.
Please take a look at the following links to familiarize yourself with the big picture. Over the coming posts I hope to be able to reduce a number of the points that emerge from these documents to the kind of thing you can convey quickly, and with a smile in casual conversation. We only have a few weeks to convince those who are not yet persuaded that change is not only necessary and possible, but as rich with promise as we have come to believe.
On Energy:
On the Economy:

Volunteering For Obama

A huge thanks to the many of you who came to our Obama for American training session on Sunday afternoon, and also to those who couldn’t make it but wanted more information.

As we discussed on the day, we have very ambitious goals for our voter registration efforts around the world, and I am so lucky to have such a dedicated group of people to help me deliver them.

I’ve uploaded a bunch of valuable tools to the Obama London group page (, which you should all download and print for use in your own activities:

1) London Training – This is the volunteer training document Ali used on Sunday
2) Sign Up Form – This is a template sign in sheet please print off some copies of this keep them with you at any events and canvassing activities you attend, so that you can easily capture people’s details and report the info back to me.
3) FPCA – This is a PDF version of the Federal Postcard Application form, the form used by overseas voters to register to vote. Each state has different rules and specific information relating to how overseas voters should complete this form, but you can get state by state information to help voters fill out this information either in the printed Voting Assistance Guide book or on this page:
4) Voter Registration Deadlines – this is a state by state list of voter registration deadlines, both alphabetically (so you can look up a specific state) and chronologically (so you can see what states have the next deadlines).

How You Can Get Involved

We badly need people to register voters for us all across the UK (and the world). I will send out volunteer opportunities for voter registration when I know about them but I would urge you all – don’t wait for me! Is there a farmers market near you where Americans like to buy their fresh veggies? Are there American parents at your kids’ school? An American Football club that plays in your local park? A show on at your local theatre that draws an American crowd? Give it a try! Then just drop me a note to let me know how it went.

Also - go viral. Call and write to all your American friends and family – are they registered? If not, get them registered through

Then ask them to introduce you to any other Americans they know who live abroad. Call those people – get them registered. Then ask them if they know any Americans living abroad.

Repeat as needed.

If you are looking for more specific locations and support, Democrats Abroad runs an amazing voter registration program and they are always looking for more volunteers. Here’s their current list of forthcoming voter registration needs:

1 Aug - 11:30 - 2:00 - Deutsche Bank voter registration
4 Aug - 7:00pm - American Meet-up Happy Birthday to Obama - location TBD - Need one person to register voters
6 Aug - 7:00pm - DA August Speakeasy - The Duke of York Pub - Cavendish Street - Need one person to register voters
6 Aug - 2:00 - 4:00 - Federal Voting Assistance Program Voter Registration Training - US Embassy - Attend and encourage people to join the DA Voter Registration effort
8 Aug - TBD - Olympia Camera Beer Fest American Meet-up - Need one person to leaflet outside the venue as people go in.
16 August - Obama East to West Bridges Rally - S. Bank of London Bridge - Need one person to leaflet
20 August - ACS Hillingdon Welcome Picnic for new families - Stephanie S to take leaflets
24 August - 12:00 - 3:00 - The American School in Surrey (TASIS) New Family Picnic
30 August - ASL Scoop back to school event 8 September - 5:30pm - The Pilgrims and English Speaking Union panel on the US election - Dartmouth House, W1J - Need one person to register voters
11 September - 9:00 - 11:00am - Kensington & Chelsea Woman's Club - Royal Geographical Society - Need one person to register voters
12 September - 11:30 - 2:00 - Deutsche Bank voter registration - Need two more people to register voters
13 September - Obama East to West Bridges Rally - Millennium Bridge - Need one person to leaflet
17 September - 9:00 - 11:00 - Hampstead Woman's Club - Need two more people to register voters
18 September - 6:30pm - ASL HS Back-to-School Night - Need one person to register voters
18 September - 11:00 - 2:00 - FOCUS Voter Registration -
7 October - American Society Autumn Cocktail at Wynchwood House - Need one person to register voters
11 October - Obama East to West Bridges Rally - Waterloo Bridge - Need one person to leaflet (take deadlines list with you!)

I would urge all of you to join the DA voter registration Yahoo Group.

Monday Meetings

Each Monday night in London we will hold a meeting for our volunteers. This will be your chance to get fully trained on how to register voters, to learn about what voter registration and canvassing opportunities are taking place that week, and to brainstorm about what else we could do. Join us for the next one on Monday, August 4 from 7:00 at:

The Yorkshire Grey - Upstairs
46 Langham Street, London, W1W 7AX

The Yorkshire Grey is very convenient for Oxford Circus, Goodge Street and Great Portland Place tubes.

The main thrust of next week’s meeting will be to plan for our August 9th International Voter Registration Day

International Voter Registration Day

On the 9th of August, the Obama campaign is asking all its overseas activists to participation in a massive voter registration drive around the world. I am asking each and every one of you to commit to working for us on that day in your neighborhoods to find and register American voters – whether that means standing outside your tube station or dialing your whole contact list!

Or perhaps this is the right opportunity for you to hold a house party to talk about Barack with all your friends?

Please either come along on Monday night for the planning, or drop me an e-mail to let me know what you will be doing on this day.


And finally, many of you were interested in how you can help to raise funds for the campaign overseas – that’s great and we so appreciate it, especially since tomorrow is the deadline for our July fundraising figures, so now is a great time to be encouraging people to make those donations.

We are asking all Americans Abroad to use the specific URLs that have been created for them when they make a donation. In the UK that page is:

Remember: only US citizens can donate. No one can give you money for the purposes of donating it. Campaign finance laws are very specific about what information we need to collect from our donors and who may or may not give – in addition, the campaign has some further rules that they have imposed upon themselves, such as not accepting money from registered lobbyists. To avoid all sorts of difficulties – just use the donation link. It’s easy and it’s legal.

If you are thinking about doing a grassroots event or a fundraiser, please just drop me a line – or stay tuned for my comprehensive Grassroots event guide, which I am working on and will hope to get out to you over the weekend.

Thanks a million for all your hard work and energy! I look forward to working closely with you all in the coming months.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Got Hope?

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Easy To Imagine...

....what John McCain would be saying if Barack Obama had gone to visit the wounded troops in Germany who the GOP nominee now accuses Senator Obama of snubbing. Of course he would have accused Senator Obama of exploiting those injured soldiers for political purposes. Senator McCain would have cited the Penatgon's proscription on the visit and further accused Senator Obama of flouting instructions from the military.

Here is an excerpt from an Obama for America surrogate's press release concerning John McCain's peculiarly transparent attack: John McCain is an honorable man who is running an increasingly dishonorable campaign Senator McCain knows full well that Senator Obama strongly supports and honors our troops, which is what makes this attack so disingenuous. Senator Obama was honored to meet with our men and women in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan this week and has visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed numerous times. This politicization of our soldiers is exactly what Senator Obama sought to avoid, and it's not worthy of Senator McCain or the 'civil' campaign he claimed he would run.

Touche. (More at