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Ron Kaye: Uniting with the 'enemy' camp

September 09, 2012

Anewsie like me needs an angle to lure you into the spider's web of the world he sees, but I wasn't sure I had one Thursday night as I walked out of the South Lake Avenue headquarters of the Pasadena United Democrats, where I had spent the evening among 150 true believers sharing the reelect Barack Obama experience.

It was a full house of convention watchers for the third night in a row — a mixed-race crowd, nearly all middle-aged and elderly, enthusiastic Democrats who wanted to feel like they were in Charlotte themselves, at least a little bit, for a few hours, watching the show together rather than in their homes.

Like those in the convention hall listening to the speeches, they clapped, cheered and chanted on cue. And with the president's rousing finale and call to action, they gave him a long standing ovation, screamed and shouted in excitement, roared their approval and for several minutes clapped loudly in unison as if they could be heard 3,000 miles away.

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The woman at the cash register who had been ringing up sales all night of Obama campaign merchandise was overcome with emotion.

“I'm a crier,” Caroline Hine explained with a laugh. “I believe in him so much. He's a great man.”

Obviously in a nation so profoundly divided, split down the middle between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, not everyone would agree with that assessment.

I had come to the event hoping to understand whether Obama still was generating the passion among his supporters that he did back in 2008, whether the young people who played such a vital role were still so involved, whether he could mount the kind of field operation his campaign pulled off four years ago, whether it really matters here in California, where Obama is a certainty no matter what happens in the rest of the country.

“It's not the same as it was back in '08,” said Darla Dyson, field director for the Pasadena's United Democrats. “He's president now. But you can see there are a lot of people here, and most of them are ready to go to work on the phone-banking, registering new voters, walking precincts. This is really important for the new 41st [Assembly] District and the ballot measures.”

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