On the Ground in Ohio in the Final Days of the Presidential Campaign

In the final days of the presidential campaign, winning boils down to getting people to actually go to the polls. With the political trench warfare at its most intense in Ohio, a crucial battleground state, voters are being courted, cajoled and pestered on the airwaves, on the phone and at their doors.

I joined New York Times reporters Monica Davey and Michael Wines in Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio, on the opposite end of the state from where I grew up in a rural/rust-belt county. Here’s my video report. In a quick two days (I had to get back to my students in Chicago and couldn’t stay longer), I managed to gather enough scenes to illustrate some of the exquisite details Davey and Wines gathered in their reporting, which showed a contrast between the two campaigns.

The Obama team was built on its successful operation in 2008 and has mounds of data and a neighborhood-by-neighborhood plan that puts volunteers in front of voters door-to-door. The Romney team is less organized, less granular, but has a challenger’s edge on passion among their the volunteers.
In my brief reporting trip, I met Obama volunteers preparing to canvass neighborhoods, Tea-Party-esque phone bank callers conducting surveys designed to convince people to vote against the president, and I caught up with a 20 year-old Americorps worker named Katie Peterson who is excited to vote for President the first time in her life. “I’ve been following presidential politics since the Clinton administration,”  she told me.

In a news cycle dominated by coverage of the destruction of SuperStorm Sandy, I was surprised and pleased that the video piece led the New York Times site yesterday for an hour or so.

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