I've put in a lot of phonebanking hours in the past week, left countless answering machine messages, and talked to a handful of people (usually one out of every ten calls results in an actual contact).
Most of the conversations were very brief: "Yes, I'm supporting Obama, kthxbai," or "No, I support McCain, get off my phone." I was able to talk to one woman about how she could start phonebanking herself. No one, unfortunately, seemed interested in learning how they could support Obama by voting early.
But, in all this mess, I did get to have a substantial conversation with one undecided voter.
She said "Listen. I don't know who to support right now because I don't know who is going to have the better economic plan. They're all talking and talking but first of all I can't tell which plan is better to begin with, and second of all I have no idea whether either of them will actually follow through."
I thought for a moment, and this is what I told her.
"I can't say for sure that Obama is going to do everything he is promising to do. I'd like to think he is, but you're right, we can't ever say for sure. But if you're thinking about the economy, if you're thinking about who is going to take care of your money and of the country's money, think about this: Obama made the choice, early in the run, not to accept public funding and instead to run his campaign on donations from supporters. McCain chose public funding. But Obama's choice allowed him to raise more money than any other presidential candidate in history.
Think about this, too. In his personal life, even before he decided to run for President, Barack Obama had no credit card debt. John McCain has thousands of dollars in credit card debt, despite his wealth and his seven houses.
So I don't always understand the details of these economic plans either, but I know which of the two candidates seems to have a better idea of how to manage money."
There was a pause. Then the undecided voter said "That's a really good point. I never thought of it that way before."
Truth be told, until that moment, neither had I.
(And now I think Obama needs to make it into a commercial. ^__^)