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Today the Ohio division of Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign launched a program to mobilize rural voters by taking their passion to the barn. That’s right. "Barns for Obama" is a statewide "barn painting campaign" that, as a press announcement explains, "will be reaching out to other farmers interested in painting their barns" with Obama’s name, logo or related images.
The national campaign is promoting the effort, circulating a YouTube video of time-lapse photography capturing a Trumbull County barn’s evolution from white to O. To oversee voter outreach in rural Ohio, Obama tapped Doug O’Brien, a former official in the state’s Agriculture Dept., who says the new program is opening offices "in towns across rural Ohio—from Defiance to New Lexington to Marietta." Another staffer in the Ohio campaign, Tom Reynolds, told TWI that there is a waiting list of locals who want their barns to get the Obama treatment. The campaign dispatches volunteer painters from the International Union of Painters & Allied Trades to get the job done. Reynolds added:
We have a growing list of supporters who are interested in having their barns painted with the Obama campaign logo in rural counties across the state. Barns for Obama is one creative piece of a concerted effort to build on our growing support throughout rural areas of the state.
Across the country, of course, painters, artists and activists have been unleashing a wide range of creative content for Obama. One site, the Obama Art Report, takes visitors on a virtual gallery hop to see all the politically-inspired art. The Obama campaign consistently cites these bottom-up creations, and its Flickr account highlights creations from coast to coast. But clearly the Barn art is getting special billing. Obama has the Chelsea art gallery vote locked up, while barns take more effort, outreach — and paint.
PRODUCTION NOTES: The video, "We’re In It Together," turns the lens of time-elapsed nature photography on an idyllic white barn, showing painters’ piecemeal efforts to create a giant campaign insignia. Spare guitar strumming accompanies quotes from Obama speeches about farming, a rural agenda and "rural values." The medley provides a soothing sample of Obama’s rural riffs, and highlights creative, grass-roots support in pockets of Ohio long considered a GOP stronghold.
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