Obama’s kin works phones for caucus
The half sister of the senator urges Hawaii supporters to show up on Tuesday
Urging supporters to not take anything for granted, the half sister of Hawaii-born presidential hopeful Barack Obama joined volunteers last night to make calls and drum up support for next week's statewide Democratic presidential caucus.
"He's excited about Tuesday," said Maya Soetoro-Ng before joining the ranks of volunteers at a phone bank on her brother's behalf. "He certainly wants a good showing here in Hawaii."
Tuesday is when Democrats across the state will head to caucuses to vote on who they would like to see as the Democratic presidential nominee.
Obama heads into the Hawaii contest, and a concurrent primary in Wisconsin, with full momentum following eight straight primary or caucus victories, including a sweep of the three Potomac primaries on Tuesday. Those victories helped him take the lead in the delegate count against rival Sen. Hillary Clinton for the first time in the campaign.
Soetoro-Ng said she spoke with her brother the day of the primaries in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
"He's doing pretty well," she said. "He's just very grateful. ... He really feels like this is a movement, and that goes for Hawaii and elsewhere. It's not simply a campaign."
About 20 volunteers joined Soetoro-Ng last night at the Ward Warehouse campaign headquarters of U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie to call supporters and urge them to turn out for the caucus vote.
With only two phone lines at the office, volunteers used their own cell phones and fanned out along the upper floor of the shopping center to make calls.
Among them was Cade Watanabe, a community organizer with Unite Here, Local 5.
"It's been very positive," Watanabe said during a break from calls.
He spoke to one Kailua resident who had never registered with a party before but contacted the Obama campaign through its Web site.
"He's going to register this year as a Democrat -- he feels very strongly about Sen. Obama," Watanabe said. "I spoke to another woman in Kailua who said that the entire neighborhood has organized a car-pooling event for the caucus, so they're excited as well."
Obama's Hawaii campaign has events set for every day leading up to Tuesday's caucus.
Those events include daily phone banks and rallies at the University of Hawaii and Kapiolani Park. Soetoro-Ng, who campaigned on Kauai last week, is scheduled to attend the UH rally, along with actress and Hawaii native Kelly Hu, then head to Maui for an event there, campaign officials said.
She plans to deliver a message from her brother.
"He asked me to remind everyone that Hawaii is very important," Soetoro-Ng said, "that the country and indeed the world is going to be looking at Hawaii and that it is so important that we all participate."