- The Washington Times - Friday, January 16, 2009

The South Carolina woman who came up with President-elect Barack Obama’s signature “Fired up, ready to go” campaign chant is coming to Washington for the inauguration.

“You know I would not miss it even if I were 6 feet under the dirt,” said Edith Childs, 60, of Greenwood, S.C. She was invited by the official inaugural committee and plans to frame her 5-by-7-inch invitation.

For months during the election season, Mr. Obama was regularly telling the story about how she chanted, “Fired up, ready to go,” which became an unofficial creed for campaign staffers.

She learned the chant at a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People convention decades ago but gave it to Mr. Obama in June 2007. Mr. Obama, then a long shot candidate, heard the Greenwood County Council member’s voice rise from the back of a tiny room when he was asking for votes from just a few dozen people.

He was in a foul mood but heard someone say, “Fired up?” And the crowd responded, “Ready to go!”

“My staff and I, we’re looking at each other, we don’t know what to do,” he would say 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.”

He said her story proves “the power of one voice to change the world.”

Mrs. Childs, who first appeared in The Washington Times in a September 2007 profile, this week detailed a little-known story.

She told The Times she had trouble sleeping before the next time she was to see Mr. Obama. “If it’s two or four o’clock in the morning and I’m awake, I know the Lord has something to say to me,” she said, and that was the night she decided to change the words of the chant.

The original lyrics were to “go out and vote” and then the date of the election. But when she saw the Democrat in Aiken, S.C., that next day, she added: “Senator Obama, Senator Obama, will be, will be, our next president, our next president.”

“It just came into my spirit,” she said. “And after that I had no doubt in my mind. He would win.”

“I do what I believe in, and I believe in him,” she said.

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