Obama's Florida campaign manager on voter caging

09/23/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

Barack Obama today began three days of intense preparation for his first debate against John McCain on Friday night.

He’s spending that prep time right here, in the Tampa bay area as part of his extensive campaign to try to win the state when Floridians go to the polls in six weeks.

Two polls released today show different results in the sunshine state: A Mason-Dixon survey released this morning shows Obama up 2 percent over McCain in Florida, 47 to 45 percent. But a Rasmussen poll has McCain up 5, 51 to 46 percent.

Tomorrow Obama will take a break from his studies and speak before thousands in Dunedin at Knology Park. Doors open at 10:30 a.m.

Obama’s campaign in Florida is being run by Steve Schale. WMNF spoke with him on Saturday night at the Hillsborough County Democrats Jefferson-Jackson dinner at the Intercontinental Hotel in Tampa.

We began our conversation with Schale by asking about the possibility of voter caging taking place on Election Day or during early voting here in Florida.

The St. Petersburg Times reported last week that registered Democrats in five Florida counties, including Hillsborough, have received direct mail from the Republican National Committee that tells voters to double check their "unconfirmed" party affiliations. But the mailing has a "Do Not Forward” instruction on the envelope, meaning they will be returned to the GOP if a recipient has had mail forwarded or has moved. Letters returned as undeliverable can be compiled into "challenge lists" of unverifiable addresses and can be used to challenge voters' eligibility during early voting or on Election Day.

Obama will be speaking in Dunedin tomorrow morning at Knology Park, with doors opening at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are not necessary, but the campaign hopes that you will RSVP at fl.barackobama.com. There will be no public parking available. For parking information go to dunedingov.com.

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