Thursday, January 17, 2008

Rep. Betty McCollum endorses Barack Obama

From December 12th, 2007


Cross-posted at MyDD and One Million Strong

Today my representative endorsed Barack Obama. I was going to write something else but it's not every day that you're congresswomen endorses you're canidate. So I'll postpone my post until tomorrow and talk about Betty's endorsement today. This endorsement is the third anti-war women endorsement in three days. Congresswomen Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) also endorsed Obama.

Here is McCollum's statement:

"The Iraq War has been the most disastrous foreign policy decision of our lifetime and Barack Obama got it right when he opposed this war of choice from the start," said Congresswoman McCollum. "Barack Obama has the courage to move our country forward by challenging Washington’s tired conventional thinking. I’m endorsing Barack Obama for President because I trust his leadership – for my family, for our country and for a more secure world. We need a President who can unite the American people to confront the serious challenges facing our nation, especially ending the war in Iraq, and that is Barack Obama."

Here is Obama's statement accepting McCollum's endorsement:

"Congresswoman McCollum has been an outspoken leader on the challenges facing communities across America, and I’m grateful for her endorsement," said Senator Obama. "Betty McCollum had the judgment to oppose authorizing the war in Iraq, and she has worked to end the war as quickly and responsibly as we can. As a former teacher, McCollum has fought for strong schools, well-trained teachers, and affordable and accessible education programs for all students. Above all, Congresswoman McCollum knows that to make progress, we need leadership that will unify the nation to get things done."

And here is some more from the press release:

In 2000, McCollum made history as the second woman in Minnesota state history to be elected to Congress. McCollum serves as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, as well as a co-founder of the Global Health Caucus.

In Minnesota, Obama has also been endorsed by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Congressman Keith Ellison. Obama for America was the first presidential campaign to open an office in the state – the headquarters is located in St. Paul. In the past ten weeks since that opening the campaign has held a caucus and grassroots training in St. Paul that drew a crowd of 400; caucus and grassroots trainings in every congressional district, every week; an eight-city canvass of Minnesota where 80 supporters knocked on over 2,500 doors on a single Saturday; individual canvasses every weekend in cities across the state; phonebanks every night of the week; and a Turn the Page in Iraq rally at Macalester College.

Let add on to those numbers on the grassroots support for Obama. Here is another number. Back during the Minnesota State Fair (the largest in the country!) we had 7 volunteers while I was there and we had to turn one of them away because there wasn't anything for her to do. I was there on a weekday morning, it was raining for most of the day. Hillary had one volunteer who seemed board and talked on her cell phone most of the time. Richardson had a overenthusiastic volunteer and that was it. That was before we had any staffers in Minnesota. That was before we had canvasses every weekend, phone banks every night, regular grassroots trainings, organizing meetings and so much more I can't even think of it. But then again this is the state were we had our largest cites mayor endorse Obama before he even had a exploratory committee in a Draft Obama march. Check out the DraftObama post from then here. Fox News even used footage of us while talking about a sex offender story. We must have done something right!

The endorsement was rolled out on a conference call with Obama for America campaign manger David Plouffe and he said some very interesting things. Some key points from the Swamp:

Campaign manager David Plouffe said Obama now has offices in 17 of the 22 states expected to hold primaries or caucuses on Feb. 5.


"We are the most aggressive campaign to date in making sure we win on Feb. 5," he said, adding that the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York has offices in "maybe four."

I have written about Obama's offices here and here I even got into OFA New Media Director Joe Rospars diary and was linked on the front page of the HQ's blog on a comment about his offices! I think this is a very important part of Obama's campaign and I hope if he's the nominee he opens offices in all 50 states just for the hell of it. He might not win all the states but who knows, maybe he will win 60 percent of the popular vote then. And in any case he is certainly poised to do well on in the February 5th states.

Especially in states like Minnesota that will hold caucuses on that date, Plouffe maintained that early organizational efforts to make contact with voters are essential.

"We have real voter contact going on every day," he said. "You do have to get started months before that contest."

Real voter contact like 1,000 calls to Minnesota voters a day? That's about right.

Betty McCollum isn't Barbara Lee but she is a good progressive congresswomen and there is something special about having you're representative, you know, represent you.

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