- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 23, 2007

The new Obama Girl is “fired up” over the Democratic presidential hopeful, but she prefers a church hat to the skimpy shorts favored by her predecessor.

Edith Childs, 58, had no idea her chant for Sen. Barack Obama would become a campaign slogan. In fact, the Illinois Democrat regularly invokes Mrs. Childs on the stump as a way to prove “the power of one voice to change the world.”

The way Mr. Obama tells it, Mrs. Childs started chanting “Fired up! Ready to go!” at a campaign appearance on a day when his spirits needed boosting.

Mrs. Childs, a Greenwood, S.C., County Council member, is locally famous for her get-out-the-vote cheerleading.

But Mr. Obama said he didn’t understand why “this little woman, maybe 5‘1”, 5‘2”, she’s got an outfit on, got a big church hat” started chanting, “Fired up! Ready to go!” as he worked the room.

“My staff and I, we’re looking at each other, we don’t know what to do,” he says on the stump. “But here’s the thing after about a minute, I’m starting to feel kind of fired up. And I’m starting to feel like I’m ready to go.”

Mr. Obama even gets crowds to start repeating “Fired up! Ready to go!” before instructing them: “Let’s go change the world.”

Mrs. Childs, a retired nurse, was surprised when a friend who visited Ottawa, Iowa, told her the politician was using her chant.

“I’ve never been a campaign line for anyone except myself,” she told The Washington Times.

Mrs. Childs first heard the chant at a state NAACP convention in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

“It stuck with me all this time,” she said.

Mr. Obama visited Greenwood — known as the “Emerald City” — in June, but only recently started telling the story of the slogan.

It goes something like this:

Mr. Obama had agreed to visit Greenwood — a community of 22,000 people that’s an “hour and a half from every place else” — in hopes of getting the endorsement of a South Carolina legislator. He arrived at midnight, “exhausted” after a busy campaign schedule.

He tells crowds he was irritated when his staff informed him they would need to be on the road by 6 a.m., “because you promised we would go to Greenwood.”

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