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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

7 p.m. at Obama Headquarters on Market Street

Posted By on Tue, Nov 4, 2008 at 7:01 PM

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Weekly writer John Geluardi is at Obama central at 939 Market Street (one of five Obama field offices in town). He shares the following scene:

At Senator Barack Obama's San Francisco field office on Market Street, there's a whirlwind of activity. A map of the United States posted on the wall shows Sen. Obama winning in the critical battleground states of Missouri, Florida, Ohio and North Carolina. The volunteers' mood here is one of cautious jubilation. As many as 200 phone bank volunteers are feverishly making calls to get out the vote.

"Why take chances?" says site manager Jessica Williams. "It's been a long day so far but it's been a very good day."

Volunteers nibble on chips, pizza and peanut butter crackers between making calls. Stretch and strength specialist Diane Waye is moving around the phone bank tables giving volunteers neck and shoulder rubs to keep their energy flowing.

"Some people have been here since 6 a.m." she says. "These people are my personal heroes."

Update at 7:50 p.m.: With minutes before the California polls close, volunteers are still making calls to get out the vote. One woman, Abby Miller, has been at the field office since 11:30 a.m. She is unsure how many calls she has made today. Miller has had no lunch other than a few pretzels and some chips but says she wouldn't trade the experience for the world.

"There is no way I could stay home because I've been so anxious about Barack Obama's win tonight." she says. "I had to come down here and feel like I was doing something. It's been great working with the volunteers; it's been a very encouraging feeling."

Another volunteer, Gene Mabery, 62, came down here in the morning to make calls, then went home in the mid-afternoon and had to come back. "It's been very very good, it's not like work and being here has been a blessing," he said.

Update at 8 p.m.: As the clock hit 8 at Sen. Barack Obama's field center, a huge cheer rang up in the phone bank room after it was announced that Sen. Obama had taken the election. One volunteer came running from the room in tears and all she could say was "we did it!"

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Janine Kahn

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