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We have given them beds and use of our laundry machines plus the occasional early morning glass of orange juice and a cup of coffee. Other volunteers provided home cooked meals at the downtown Toledo headquarters. We had as many as six sleeping in our guest rooms and in the hall between during the '08 election run-up. One young man was part of the legal team that advised the campaign staff and came from David Boies' law firm in New York. He shared his personal life stories with us and we kept in touch for more than a year after he went to work in DC.
This year we had at one time four women sharing our two guest rooms. One told her astonished husband she absolutely had to go to Ohio - this being the Thursday before the last weekend - and she lived in Seattle. She caught a plane to Detroit the next day, rented a car and arrived unannounced at headquarters. They placed her with us during which time she walked the streets to canvass in downtown Toledo, rising early and working deep into the evening, grabbing a bite at headquarters and collapsing in our bedroom after 10:00. Another woman came from the Jersey shore and once she found her house was OK put her shoulder to the wheel as well in Toledo doing anything that was needed including the demanding work walking the neighborhoods to get out the vote. Our guest who stayed the longest had taken unpaid leave from Congresswoman Maxine Waters' office in DC four weeks before the election to work where she knew the need was most critical, Ohio. She was exhausted by the time the votes were all in. She had risen at dawn every morning, canvassed all day - eventually working as one of the team leaders placing volunteers where they were most needed - and she didn't return until after 11:00 at night. The Tuesday of the voting she finally got to bed around 2:30 Wednesday. When she left two days later we hugged and exchanged addresses. I'll never forget her or the stories these great women shared with us, some of them hilarious, some frustrating but a lifetime of memories for them and for the two of us.
Obama's machine stayed dormant after the '08 election and then retooled and expanded to the vast organization you saw that blew away the competition. I see this happening again in Ohio. The name is a bit different now; it's Organization For Ohio today, but it will be in place when needed for the off-term elections and beyond. The e-mails are already beginning. They know me and they'll call on me again.