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An early look at the Obama campaign – from a stage manager's perspective

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Actual distribution didn't begin until 22 minutes after the advertised time, with no explanations offered. Instead, we were assaulted by a steady barrage of clipboard-wielding campaign workers ballyhooing voter registration forms (I updated mine) and begging for volunteers (I didn't see them nab one); when the 12th one accosted us in 10 minutes, I feared the restive masses behind me would assault them all. After the line began inching forward, I pried some intel from an anonymous staffer: The delay was due to uncooperative Wi-Fi. Instead of having ticket-seekers fill out paper forms for volunteers to input later, the campaign kept hundreds sweating for over an hour as they slowly stabbed at six balky laptops.

The only thing more embarrassing than the campaign's amateurish event flow was the lack of decorum displayed by some waiting around me. While the organizers were less than organized, they didn't invent humidity; when a volunteer brings you free bottled water, don't bitch that it's lukewarm. Any enthusiasm these supporters had seemed to evaporate in seconds under the sun; I have to wonder if Romney partisans in the same position would have started chanting anti-socialist slogans, instead of swearing and whining.

I asked for a campaign representative to comment, but all were "upstairs," with no response by press time. Check my take at blogs.orlandoweekly.com to see how Michelle Obama's Tuesday talk turns out. But whether my experience is a microcosm of the national election, representative of a major urban center along the key corridor in a crucial swing state or not, anyone anticipating an easy re-election has cause for concern.