Cardboard Obama Visits Miami

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Let's be honest: the mood at the Barak Obama party early Tuesday night at the American Legion wasn't cheery. But the three dozen or so supporters were pleasant, if not understandably irked by Hillary Clinton's recent "fundraiser" in a state where, technically, the Democrats weren't supposed to campaign prior to the primary. (Check out this editorial from the Manchester, N.H. Union Leader for an interesting take on the matter).

I took a barstool next to a smiling woman named Lottie Hines. She wore a white plastic hat with an Obama bumpersticker adhered to the front. Turned out she was a tenants rights' advocate in Miami Dade County and a veteran campaigner for Bill Clinton. This time around, she said, she was squarely in Obama's camp. What that meant this primary season: 10 bumperstickers, 30 tiny round stickers and a homemade t-shirt. "If we had the information we could have put out to the public, we woulda..." she paused. "scuse me for saying this, but we woulda kicked Hillary's rump." Because the National Democratic Committee didn't allow the candidates to campaign here in Florida, supporters received none of the usual flotsam: no campaign signs, no flyers, nothing.

There was a brief flurry of applause throughout the room when Obama's vote percentage ticked to 30 percent, then again when a TV station wandered through with a camera. Ten minutes or so after Hillary Clinton was deemed the winner by CNN, Obama supporter Dave Patlak tried to put a happy spin on the results. All of Obama's votes, he said, were a result of grassroots campaigning. "I want to thank everyone in this room for your hopes and dreams," he said.

At that moment, someone placed a life-size, cardboard cut-out of Obama next to Patlak. Lottie Hines, who had been looking through her purse for her phone, looked up, startled. "I looked up and saw Obama and thought, 'When did he come in?' "

-Tamara Lush
Photo by Marco Kornfeld

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