Missouri a Midwest ‘must win’

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“For the last eight years, we’ve had nothing but failed policies, and that’s basically all I can remember,” she said.

One thing that’s surprised Miss Blazis is how receptive Republicans have been to Team Obama’s message. She says it’s because people are fed up with President Bush.

Another thing giving her hope is that Mr. Bush won Boone County by 158 votes in 2004. “On some days I’ve registered more than 100 new voters,” she said.

On a recent Wednesday evening, more than two dozen volunteers streamed into the office - which has housed Democratic campaigns for years - to participate in a phone bank.

One of the 10 staffers paid by the campaign asked the volunteers to say why they were there.

“I can’t take four more years,” said one middle-aged woman, doing political volunteering for the first time.

“I want the government to stop depressing me. My wife tells me we have to move to Canada if McCain wins,” a male volunteer said.

The walls are decorated with Obama drawings and slogans (“Yes we can!”), along with precinct maps. But they also include talking points for volunteers to use to aid statewide candidates.

“McCain/Hulshof oppose choice … contraception … children’s health,” one sign declares, tying Mr. McCain to the Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Kenny Hulshof.

Also on display was a T-shirt bearing Mr. McCain’s image and the Oscar-winning film title he often joked about, “No Country for Old Men.”

The phone bankers were getting encouraging signs when dialing their list of Democrats.

“That’s good to hear,” one caller told the voter on the other line. “We were wondering if you were willing to help. Please spread the word to anyone you know about why you’re voting for Senator Obama.”

Missouri also is a prime target for the viral e-mail smears that have been floating around the Internet for more than a year.

A Kansas City retiree who tends to vote Republican says he receives three to four nasty messages about Mr. Obama each day - from e-mails that question his faith and patriotism to debunked claims about his tax plan.

Some of the Obama supporters think the e-mails give voters an excuse to be racist.

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About the Author

Christina Bellantoni

Christina Bellantoni is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times in Washington, D.C., a post she took after covering the 2008 Democratic presidential campaigns. She has been with The Times since 2003, covering state and Congressional politics before moving to national political beat for the 2008 campaign. Bellantoni, a San Jose native, graduated from UC Berkeley with ...

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