Area Obama backers already looking ahead

Whittier Daily News (California)
January 26, 2008 Saturday

Area Obama backers already looking ahead

By Kenneth Todd Ruiz, Staff Writer

PASADENA – As their candidate triumphed over other Democrats in South
Carolina, local Barack Obama supporters hardly found a moment to look
eastward as they fixated on Feb. 5.

Minutes before polls were set to close in Saturday’s Southern
contest, volunteers staffing Obama’s regional headquarters in
Pasadena talked about setting up a television to track exit poll
results, but hadn’t found the time amid fevered phone banking.

Lance Mungia of Monrovia was among volunteers from throughout the San
Gabriel Valley to converge on the recently opened office on Union
Street in Old Pasadena to work the phones.

"People show up at the Monrovia meetings and they don’t feel like
they’re a part of the movement," said Mungia, who has been organizing
coffee klatches and phone banks from private homes. "This gives
everyone a place to go."

State Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles and Pasadena Councilman Chris
Holden opened the office Saturday morning with a goal of reaching
6,000 undecided voters during a 12-hour drive as part of a statewide
campaign to contact 100,000 voters on Obama’s behalf.

Although Holden left after making some calls of his own, his wife
Melanie Holden remained to work throughout the day, saying she was
invigorated by an "awakening" among voters, particularly among youth.

All major polls place Sen. Hillary Clinton well ahead of Obama in
California, with former Sen. John Edwards a distant third.

That gap has narrowed in recent months, but Clinton remains about 10
points to 20 points ahead.

The Republican field, once dominated by Rudy Giuliani, is much
tighter. Sen. John McCain enjoys a slight edge over former
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, according to most recent polls.

Obama campaign volunteers, some using their personal cell phones,
crowded the Union Street office in Old Pasadena 10 days before what
could prove candidate-elimination round on Super Tuesday.

Instead of cold-calling voters in the Palmetto State, however, they
reached out to nearly one-fifth of California voters that have
"declined to state" a party affiliation.

Those unaligned voters won’t be able to cast ballots in the
Republican primary, but Obama supporters – like those of Clinton and
Edwards – want them to know they are welcome to weigh in on the
Democratic contest.

Artin Panossian, 29, of Glendale was on hand Saturday to talk to
native Armenian speakers. His message to them was simple: Adam

"The Armenian community is a very strong supporter of Adam Schiff,
but it’s news to many he endorsed Barack Obama, who’s pledged he will
recognize the Armenian genocide," Panossian said of the 29th
District’s Democratic Congressman.

Saturday was quiet for the Clinton camp in the San Gabriel Valley,
with phone bank events held in surrounding communities.

They also plan a Super Tuesday blitz, however, with outreach efforts
at several San Gabriel Valley locations and a march to the polls in
Monterey Park.