Obama captain: "I may have to resign" over flier

Nevada volunteer made pitch to Republicans, independents: Vote for Obama to stop Hillary.

By Tim Grieve
January 15, 2008 3:29AM (UTC)
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A precinct captain for Barack Obama in Nevada tells us that he may have to resign from the campaign after distributing a flier that's drawing complaints from Hillary Clinton supporters on the Web.

Retiree Bob Buchanan, who is walking a Reno precinct for Obama, has been passing out a flier in which he urges Republicans and independents to vote -- as they're allowed to do -- in the Democratic caucuses in Nevada Saturday. "Be a Democrat for a Day," the flier says. "You can make the difference if you think a Democrat is going to win in November and you don't want Hillary." The flier cites reasons voters might not "want" Hillary: She voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq; she has "taken money" from "special interest groups"; and her nomination will "continue to polarize the country."


In the flier, Clinton supporters see proof that the Obama campaign is too much about Obama and not enough about the Democratic Party or its ideals. After Taylor Marsh posted the flier, a poster at TalkLeft said that it shows that "Obama is a fighter for Obama" rather than for "the Democratic Party or Democratic values." Another critic, this one at MyDD, said, "I don't believe in being a Democrat for a day. I just don't know what is going on these days with Obama."

The answer from Buchanan: Nothing's "going on" with Obama, because the flier was his effort and his alone. Buchanan said he's been frustrated that the Obama campaign in Nevada hasn't tried harder to reach out to Republicans and independents, and that he came up with the idea for the flier as a way to make the pitch. "My sense is that there's a whole group of disgruntled Americans out there -- not registered to either party, or frustrated Republicans," Buchanan said. "I'm just saying, 'Hey, folks, you have an opportunity'" to cross over and vote in the Democratic caucuses.

Buchanan said he tried to show the flier to Obama staffers in Reno but that they declined to look at it, saying they didn't want to be involved in approving or disapproving whatever he was distributing. He also said that he's changed the flier since he first started distributing it -- that the one he's using now no longer cites reasons voters might not "want Hillary" and emphasizes reasons for supporting Obama instead. "Because Obama is positive, I said, 'Oops,'" Buchanan said.


Buchanan said he hasn't spoken to anyone in the Obama campaign about the reaction the flier is getting but that he plans to "call headquarters and say, 'Here's what happened.'" "I may have to resign as precinct captain or something," he said. "I don't want to screw his campaign up."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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