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“If you turn on the news, you would just get the bite of the speech, but to go on the Internet and hear whole speeches. That’s what sold me,” she said. “To see his passion and to feel a person versus that 30-second thing on the news, it was just transforming for showing the difference between the candidates, diving in to really learn what their voting records were.”

Patricia Moseley, an administrator at Strom Thurmond High School in Johnston, S.C., said Kytall Malik, a University of South Carolina student who also volunteered for Mr. Obama, introduced her to YouTube.

She said it was awkward at first, “but now at work my solution to everything is: Let’s make a video of it and put it on YouTube.”

Carlota Salazar, of Taylor, Texas, used the Internet to sign up to be a Spanish-speaking translator involved in registering people to vote.

“I just wanted this so badly because I wanted Obama to win. I was trying to get everybody,” she said. “And when he did, I cried and hollered and screamed.”

Motivations

Why did people flock to the Obama movement in such big numbers?

For Miss Moseley, it’s because she found him to be a real person. In January 2008, the former Republican participated in a round-table conversation with the then-candidate about health care and education during the South Carolina primary season. He even mentioned her in his victory speech a few days later.

“It was as if I was talking to you, to someone that I knew,” she said. “I felt as if I had known Barack Obama for 10 years. I felt like this is just a friend.”

She even noticed he was checking his BlackBerry, and told the others at the lunch that the rumors he’s “addicted” to the device are completely true.

Everyone laughed, and attendees started talking about all of the “normal” things they’d witnessed Mr. Obama and his family doing. From the way Mr. Obama listened to music at the Lincoln Memorial concert, to his daughters, Malia and Sasha, being “real” because they weren’t so “prim and proper” like many politicians’ children, they agreed they found the family to be genuine.

“They actually represent America the way I see the U.S.,” Miss Benz said. “Our last few leaders and their families, they don’t represent me, they don’t represent my ideals, and they don’t represent what I think our country is.”

Ann Landers, of New Martinsville, W.Va., said even her difficult task of working to convince voters in that red state was made easier by Mr. Obama’s attitude.

People who didn’t support him at first are starting to come around, saying they are impressed with Mr. Obama, she said.

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