Tales from the Trail

Philly supporters to Obama: pay up

April 11, 2008

Democratic candidate Barack Obama, who has built his candidacy on the promise of a “new kind of politics,” has run up against the old kind of politics in Philadelphia.

obamaspeakThe Los Angeles Times reports that Obama’s refusal to pay “street money” to volunteers in Pennsylvania’s largest city may cost him support in the state’s April 22 primary.

Local party leaders in Philadelphia expect candidates to deliver cash to help them get out the vote, the Times says. Teens who hand out leaflets typically get a $10 bill, while more experienced volunteers can get up to $100. The total for America’s sixth-largest city could come to $500,000.

“This is a machine city, and ward leaders have to pay their committee people,” ward leader and Obama supporter Carol Ann Campbell told the Times.

Obama often rails against the influence of money in politics, and his campaign has told Philadelphia officials they should expect no street money.

That could cost him support in an area where he will have to run up large margins to counteract rival Hillary Clinton‘s strength elsewhere in the state, the Times said. Local officials expect the Clinton campaign will have no qualms about handing out street money, which is legal and has been a fixture in previous presidential campaigns.

Obama’s stance could also cause resentment among the city’s poor, black voters, who see the black candidate’s well-funded campaign spending lavishly on TV ads but freezing out field workers for whom a $50 bill would be a big payday.

“They view it that the white people are getting all the money for TV,” said state Rep. Dwight Evans, who is neutral in the race.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Frank Polich (Obama campaigns in Gary, Indiana on April 10)

Comments
61 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

TO TIFFANY who posted: “i think obama iz wat it takes to run dez contry the right way and fix bush’s mess!” – I think we are in real trouble if you represent a even a small minority of Obamas voters. I’d hate to see this county supported by people who can’t take the time to spell out their thoughts. Obama will count on his supporters to support his ideas. If your idea of support “iz lazy spellin” what does that say about your work ethic?

Posted by Jane | Report as abusive
 

and on the topic of money – Has any one of Obamas volunteers researched into the cost of a 30 second commercial? Do you know how much the CEO of American Red Cross makes? Or how much the head of any 501(c)3 organization makes? Nothing is absolutely free.

Posted by Jane | Report as abusive
 

Wow. Many of you applaud raking in 50 million a month and paying millions for TV/Radio advertising but NOTHING for the people who could use a couple of bucks. That’s corruption. He should be donating a large part of that 50 million to help the people he claims he wants to help. Prove that you care…prove that the people below your station in life are important to you. He’s just WRONG! If you want to voluteer for free…do so. But advertising costs. Please…NO Obama 08…

Posted by Lisa | Report as abusive
 

Oh…and the $10 he might slip a young adult – if he was generous enough to share in some of his millions of dollars – doesn’t FORCE that person to vote for him. It is NOT buying votes. TV advertising is much more effective for buying votes. I couldn’t listen to the radio for 2 months in Ohio – every 4 minutes – “I’m Barrack Obama and I approve this ad”. Geez. Throwing money out the window to coorporate America saying up yours to the people who support him…for whatever reason.

Posted by Lisa | Report as abusive
 

What’s the big deal! If people want to “work” for Obama then he should pay them. It would be great if everyone good give up their time for some greater good, but that’s not the case for everyone. It’s a fact of life. If they can’t support him by volunteering, then I guess they could just vote for him.

Posted by Shaun Cespedes | Report as abusive
 

I have to say, I’m not surprised that Philly expects to be paid for “volunteering”. Ever since I moved to the Philly area 4 years ago, I’ve become more and more disgusted with this city. From corrupt politics to the ridiculous “city wage tax” (I paid more in tax to the city of Philadelphia this year than I did to state … and I don’t even LIVE in Philadelphia. I don’t even live in the county!), this city is constantly looking for handouts, left and right. They expect these kinds of payouts because it’s how Philadelphia operates. Obama’s entire message is about getting people to want change and doing something to make that change happen. Paying off the volunteers in Philly would completely go against that message. If it’s important to the wards to pay their volunteers, they should hold their own fundraiser and pay them out of their own pockets. And I think the argument that people in Philadelphia deserve to be paid because Barack spends money on TV ads is absurd. If you care about Obama’s message for change, then out out and pound on doors because you care. And if you don’t, then don’t.

Posted by Tara | Report as abusive
 

I think some people are getting the wrong idea from the article. They are not paying people to vote; they are paying people to hand out literature and such. What is wrong with this? Obama has a very large war chest. Would it hurt to help someone who doesn’t have a wife with a 6 figure income?

Posted by Dee A | Report as abusive
 

If those in Philadelphia that are supposed to be engaged in the political process need to be paid, then it is business as usual: money buying votes.

If this is true; then these people are not ready to invest in a better brighter future and Mr. Obama should leave them to their own vices.

Maybe they should vote for Mr. Mc Cain so as to ensure a fourth term of bushism.

Posted by Desdemondo | Report as abusive
 

hi, it’s called VOLUNTEER, look it up in the dictionary.

i once had to live in philly for 2 years. philly has been a stagnant slum for decades now.
the people should wake up, roll up their sleeves and get out there and speak up for barack obama, someone who finally offers a real alternative.

Posted by telyawot | Report as abusive
 

Just like the Clintons, Robert Johnson has forgotten that change is necessary to get to be a President and a CEO. That’s why where Obama’s going; they have already been, without experience day one in either positions –to affect change. Of all people he should revisit his past, present and future to see an opportunity to change the game. Times have changed now for uplifting people to come together and bringing them to the table for solutions to make that change. It’s time to get rid of the dynasty and the slimy politics as usual campaign to be President of the United States. It’s a job and someone’s got to do it but Hillary can’t be trusted among many other issues. McCain’s age should be a factor in this equation — he’s just too old and cranky with a bad temper. It’s the old adage, jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Obama is just like Robert Johnson; with an opportunity to deliver the goods. The difference is the audience, the world is watching this time!

Posted by peggy | Report as abusive
 

Just like the Clintons, Robert Johnson has forgotten that change is necessary to get to be a President and a CEO. That’s why where Obama’s going; they have already been, without experience day one in either positions –to affect change. Of all people he should revist his past, present and future to see an opportunity to change the game. Times have changed now for uplifting people to come together and bringing them to the table for solutions to make that change. It’s time to get rid of the dynasty and the slimy politics as usual campaign to be President of the United States. It’s a job and someone’s got to do it but Hillary can’t be trusted among many other issues. McCain’s age should be a factor in this equation — he’s just too old and cranky with a bad temper. It’s the old adage, jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Obama is just like Robert Johnson; with an opportunity to deliver the goods. The difference is the audience, the world is watching this time!

Posted by peggy | Report as abusive
 

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