WHITE HOUSE PRESS POOL REPORT 9 (I neglected to post earlier today)

Pool Report #9

Chicago

Oct. 25, 2012

 

 

Potus made OTR at local campaign office to visit with volunteers and make some calls. A pool report on that will be coming along shortly.

 

For those looking for more detail/color from the early voting, here goes:

 

The motorcade to the Martin Luther King Community Center passed crowds of largely African American bystanders cheering and waving. “Welcome Home, Mr. President,” said several of the handwritten signs. The center is an early vote location in the ward that covers the Kenwood neighborhood that includes the Obama home.

 

Before Potus entered the voting area, Jim Allen of theChicago Board of Elections warned your pool that it was forbidden to talk with or ask questions of any voter (there being one in particular the pool might be interested in). The voting area had a table for registration with several workers manning it, plus 11 touch-screen voting stations. Seven of the voting stations were being used by presumably typical voters casting ballots, though they seemed to be drawing out the process so as to be in place when the neighborhood’s most famous voter arrived.

 

Potus entered the voting area at 4:10 p.m. “Hello, everybody,” he called out. “This is so exciting. I get to vote early.”

 

Potus shook the hands of all the poll workers and handed forms to one of them. “I thin I’ve got paperwork I need to sign in front of you,” he told an elderly woman handling his forms. He leaned over and signed where she told him to, then whispered something to her your pool could not hear. She signed as well.

 

“This is the first time a president’s ever going to be early voting,” he said while waiting. “That’s pretty exciting.”

 

He was then sent down to another poll worker. “I go all the way down here?” he asked. “To the young lady here? She looks like she’s in charge.”

 

She asked for his driver’s license. “Oh, you’re right,” he said, reaching into his pocket. “I’ve got my driver’s license. Now ignore the fact that there’s no gray hair in that picture.”

 

She asked him a question about paperwork that your pool didn’t quite get, something about whether it was the right forms, it seems. “I assume it is,” he said. “I hope so. If not, this will be really embarrassing.”

 

While waiting, he asked if they had been getting a lot of early voters and was told they were. “It makes such a difference,” he said.

 

Then he remarked, “I’m just glad I renewed my driver’s license.”

 

He seemed to be asked about a road trip. “I couldn’t go more than 25 miles per hour,” he said.

 

The woman who took his license held it up and gave it the sort of skeptical examination a TSA officer would. Potus laughed. “Did you see that?” he said, then mimicked her looking over the license.

 

He was then brought over to one of the voting stations. It took him about three or four minutes to go through the apparently long ballot, including down-ballot races. Then a poll worker helped him through the process of finalizing the vote, which seemed involved and took a couple more minutes. During this process, the poll worker’s phone rang, much to his embarrassment. “Is that your wife?” Potus asked. No, he said, “That’s my wife,” pointing to a woman across the room. “I just wanted to make sure,” Potus said. “Always take that phone call.”

 

The other voters, no longer even pretending to work on their ballots, recorded the scene with their smart phones.

 

When he was done, Potus said, “I voted?” The poll worker said, “Yes, sir.”

 

Potus gave his testimonial to early voting, then asked if it was okay to take a picture with all the poll workers. “I don’t want to break any laws in front of this many cameramen,” he said. Allen, the local election official, said it was okay and pictures were being arranged as your pool was ushered out.

 

 

 

Peter Baker

NY Times

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