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What you need to know for 01/16/2018

Obama backers call Texans for votes

Obama backers call Texans for votes

Niskayuna resident Elizabeth Brunski was making a long-distance phone call to a complete stranger on
Obama backers call Texans for votes
Elizabeth Brunski of Niskayuna, right, Johnathan Finn of Schenectady, left, and Kevin Terrell of Schenectady, all members of, make phone calls from their cellphones to stir up support in Texas for Sen. Barack Obama.
Photographer: Meredith Kaiser

Niskayuna resident Elizabeth Brunski was making a long-distance phone call to a complete stranger on Sunday afternoon.

“We all want to see Barack Obama become the next president,” Brunski said into her cellphone.

Brunski went on to tell the person on the other end of the line that she had not been involved in politics for about 40 years, but decided to change that because “I feel something really special is happening.”

Brunski was one of about 15 volunteers who gathered at the home of Sandra Flores on Sunday afternoon to make phone calls to voters in Texas to urge them to vote for Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary. Obama has won 11 straight contests against former first lady and New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Voters in Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island also head to the polls on Tuesday. Obama currently has the lead in delegates to secure the Democratic presidential nomination.

Brunski said at the start of the event that she is supporting Obama because he can offer a “new beginning” for the country. She said Clinton would make an excellent president, but “I think we gain more credence for having someone whose last name isn’t Bush or Clinton.”

Participants used their own personal cellphones and scattered to different areas of the house. The advocacy group is organizing these parties. The organization claims the parties are going on in almost 2,000 living rooms across the country. The goal was to call 400,000 voters in a few hours, according to its Web site.

Flores, who organized the party at her home, said she backs Obama because of his vision.

“I think he has energized the country. He has brought youths into the system, people who were totally dissatisfied with the last 71⁄2 years. It reminds me of Bobby Kennedy,” she said.

She also said Obama will reach out to work with world leaders.

Supporters at Flores’ home made 20 calls each. They could improvise about why they liked Obama or work from a script saying that they were supporting Obama because “he’s really inspired people with his message of change and bringing the country together around a progressive agenda.”

Julie Panke of Scotia said she believes Obama has the best chance of beating the Republican nominee — likely to be Arizona Sen. John McCain.

George Wilkerson of Schenectady said he is concerned with human rights, especially for gays, lesbians and transgenders. He said he believes Obama is less likely to “waffle” on that issue than Clinton.

Jim Sherry of Scotia said his top concerns are the economy and the war in Iraq, which he says is a “ridiculous drain” on the country’s resources that could be spent on domestic programs. “He speaks like a leader. I really enjoy listening to him tell his vision for America,” he said.

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